Saint Peter PD Removes Paraphernalia Exhibit

By Robert Lawson




The cops and robbers case was missing. The previous visit to the Saint Peter Police Department to view the calls for service from dispatch, I was waiting patiently in the lobby when I notied something quite unusual. 

I have been to this lobby numerous times in the past and there wsa something eye-catching and iconically menacing that was seered into isitors minds: a cop & criminal display case in the lobby. 

Within the display case, as any resident visiting could to tell you, prior to now, there was a pegboard encased in locked glass that contained an assortment of tools used in the police trade as well as the criminal. The theme was dramatic and ultimately brought violence on both sides to mind. There was an old police billy club, flashlight and handcuffs along with other memorable decor such as a brass knuckle blade, homemade chain mace flail with nails in a baseball on a stick and other assault devices. 

I asked the dispatch on duty what had happened to the display case. The police department apparently decided its time to update the public aesthetic of its law enforcement office waiting room so they removed it after all these years. 

“They decided they wanted a little bit more of a positive look and feel to the place,” she admitted. 

Ironically, I kind of miss the old treasure box, but on the other hand, it’s a very wise decision on their part. Mental health, mass shootings and the promotion of violence has been top of the discussion pile for quite some time and making an environment more cognizant to the negative aspects of violence, its portryal and its presence is probably a good thing. Taking a simple action like this goes a lot further than one might think. Think about it for a moment. It is cheap and effective. It likely required little talk about budget or personnel so politics couldn’t impede it and even if there was question from local leaders, it would likely be only supportive in nature, especially considering the state of affairs for both law enforcement (and their public image) and the public. Also, public servants can benefit from its effect. 

Police departments ought to be aware of their presence and how they are perceived by the public. When Janesville’s police department adopted a resolution to accept an armored vehicle to be used by police, many residents voiced concern over both the efficacy of such a militarized department and the image of the city itself. 

After the incident with George Floyd in Minneapolis, police departemnts across the state have been going through a number of changes in attitude and policy and some have faced economic and political consequences. 


The public is asking its leaders and officials to balance police oversight and regulation with common sense policies and procedures. They  mostly don’t want to disband or abolish police any more than they want to create storm troopers with military equipment occupying neighborhoods. 

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