Friday, July 23, 2010

Lucas County Law Enforcemen Center

From the History of Lucas County 1978 book

The residents of Lucas County are privileged to have, combined under one roof, the Chariton Police Department and the Lucas County Sheriff's Department.  These two law enforcement agencies were centralized into what is now known as the Lucas County Law Enforcement Center located on Linden Avenue in Chariton, Iowa in 1973.

Formerly, the Chariton Police Department was located in an 8x8 - ft. room in the Chariton City Hall building.  There was just enough room to house the office of the Dispatcher and his radio.  Before radios came into use in the Chariton Police Department in 1966, the city police officer on duty -- yes there was usually only one officer on duty at a time -- was summoned to the City Hall by means of a red light located on the courthouse tower.  When a call was received requesting the assistance of a police officer, the Dispatcher switched on the red light on top of the courthouse and the officer who was trained to be always attentive to that light, responded by contacting the Dispatcher at City Hall.

During the service of 'Mac' McBride as Chief of the Chariton Police in the early 1940's, an automobile was purchased by the City for use by the Police Department as a patrol car.  Before that time, the officer, after seeing the red call light on top of the courthouse and after contacting the Dispatcher by telephone, would call a taxicab to take him to those places where he was needed -- that is, an accident scene, an unsettled home with arguing family members, a fire or the scene of the crime.

The Sheriff's Office, before the formation of the Law Enforcement Center, was located on the east side of the first floor of the courthouse in a room presently occupied by the County Assessor.  The Sheriff and his family formerly lived in the building, which now houses the new Law Enforcement Center.  Behind the former sheriff's residence was the County Jail and the sheriff's wife usually cooked the meals for the prisoners in the jail.  After the remodeling of the Sheriff's residence in the new Law Enforcement Center, the former county jail was overhauled and updated and now serves as the holding facility for prisoners of both the Chariton Police Department and the Lucas County Sheriff's Department.

The Sheriff is the Principal peace officer of the county,  Mainly, through the efforts of Sheriff Wayne Swanson, City Manager Bernard Aulwes, the Lucas County Board of Supervisors and the Chariton City Council, the Lucas County Law Enforcement Center became a reality.

Today the Lucas County Law Enforcement Center is a good example of two governmental agencies with a common goal working in harmony for the people of Lucas County.

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