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Photo provided by the St. Clair Shores Historical Commission

Looking Back: St. Clair Shores Police Force

St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published October 23, 2018


ST. CLAIR SHORES — On June 1, 1926, the St. Clair Shores Village Police Force was organized. The department consisted of four men and two motorcycles; the first office was in a building at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and 11 Mile Road that housed road maintenance equipment.

Within a year, the force grew: Two more men were added and two Chevrolet cars were provided. The men and their vehicles had also been moved to the Town Hall, which was located at Harper Avenue and 11 Mile Road.

Since police cars did not have radios in the 1920s, two men would patrol the roads and one man was at the police station. Periodically, the men on patrol would stop at various locations and call in to the station for their assignments.

By 1928, the police had acquired additional cars: two Model A Fords, each capable of going at least 60 mph. The department also added a resuscitator to assist those who found themselves in distress while swimming or boating on Lake St. Clair. It was not until 1931 that the force added a vehicle that could be used as an ambulance, or as a paddy wagon, depending on need.

In 1933, when this photo was taken, the force consisted of nine men. Shown in this photo, from left, are Police Chief Harold Lanstra and officers Birdsell Walker, Jim Trombley, Harvey Champine, Harry Olsen and Hayden Turrell.

To see more historical photographs, visit the digital media archive at

— Submitted by Heidi Christein, archivist, St. Clair Shores Public Library