Tucked inside the Public Safety Building in Springfield is a growing collection of law enforcement history.
The items are located in the Gregory Raynor Training Room, just inside the main entrance, with the Clark County
Sheriff’s Office on one side and the Springfield Police Division on the other.
Over the years, I have been in that room many times, usually for news conferences. And I have seen the collection of various memorabilia and equipment that has grown over time.
After the Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony in May, I talked with Carl Loney, whom I have been privileged to know for quite a few years. He showed me the badge collection he started building with the pursuit of his father’s Springfield Police badge and it “snowballed from there.” Close to 60 badges are now on display from his collection, dating from the 1800s to the present, representing every law enforcement agency in Clark County plus badges from beyond the local borders.
Loney started with the sheriff’s office in June 1972. He’s now Wittenberg University’s police chief, and continues to be a commissioned member of the sheriff’s office.
He says “the badge serves as a shield, a symbol of authority and the most honorable thing a law enforcement
(officer) can wear.”
Several other men have also been instrumental in putting together the various items located around the room. Among them, Sgt. Jim Ullom, who retired after 27 years with the Springfield Police Division and was nice enough to give me a tour, along with current Capt. Mike Varner. Ullom says John Loney, who is retired from the sheriff’s office, retired police Sgt. Mike Haytas and current police Detective Dan Dewine have also been involved.
There are plaques that honor local officers killed in the line of duty, including the uniform and some of the equipment used by Springfield Officer Charles B. Collis, who was fatally shot March 7, 1904.
One of Ullom’s proudest acquisitions is a police call box. He told me he’d been looking for one for years, and bought the one on display at a flea market and had it refurbished. Ullom pointed out officers walking the beat used those boxes to stay in communication with headquarters in the days before two-way radios.
Other items on display include various pictures of police officers, deputies and recruit classes through the years, an “Alcometer” (a precursor to the modern-day devices used to measure blood alcohol content), radio equipment and light bars from cruisers, and an odd looking contraption used to measure vehicle speed.
Ullom is also enthusiastic about showing off the nearly 400 uniform patches in a case in the main hallway of the building. Inside are patches from departments from around Ohio that he and Haytas have collected. One of them, Ullom related, came from a German police officer who cut it off the uniform he was wearing.
Ullom says the items on display “give officers a sense of history.”
The room is open to the public on special occasions and by appointment. It is certainly an educational and interesting experience to see the items contained there. The community owes a debt of gratitude to all those who have made the room what it is today.