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Sacramento (Calif.) Police Department records
CTY0002  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Contents
  • Related Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Center for Sacramento History
    Title: Sacramento (Calif.) Police Department records
    Creator: Sacramento (Calif.). Police Department
    Creator: Fisher, Max P.
    Identifier/Call Number: CTY0002
    Physical Description: 137 Linear feet (130 boxes + 100 artifacts)
    Date (inclusive): 1860-1993
    Abstract: The Sacramento Police Department Collection contains a wide range of material dating from 1860 to 1993, spanning most of the department's history. The majority of the collection is made up of mug books that date from 1860 to 1949 and jail registers that date from 1867 to 1973. The rest of the collection consists of other logbooks, various administrative records, and photographs. More than half of the photographs are portraits or group shots of the police force that date from the first half of the 20th century.
    Physical Location: Center for Sacramento History, 551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95811.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], CTY002, Sacramento (Calif.). Police Department, Center for Sacramento History.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    City of Sacramento, Police Department

    Biographical / Historical

    The Sacramento Police Department began in 1849 with the appointment of Marshall N.C. Cunningham and two deputies to patrol the city grid. It has since grown to include a police chief, more than 1,000 officers and other personnel, and six jurisdictions.

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged into 5 series:
    • Series 1. Mug books, 1860-1949
    • Series 2. Jail registers and other logbooks, 1867-1973
    • Series 3. Administrative material, 1919-1993
    • Series 4. Photographs, 1894-1988
    • Series 5. Artifacts, circa 1940-1995

    Scope and Contents

    The Sacramento Police Department Collection contains a wide range of material dating from 1860 to 1993, spanning most of the department's history. The majority of the collection is made up of mug books that date from 1860 to 1949 and jail registers that date from 1867 to 1973. The rest of the collection consists of other logbooks, various administrative records, and photographs. More than half of the photographs are portraits or group shots of the police force that date from the first half of the 20th century.
    Series 1. Mug books, 1860-1949. This series contains mug books created by the SPD from 1860 to 1949. The books vary in the information they contain beyond the arrestees' photographs, but common data includes names and aliases, physical descriptions, crimes committed, criminal histories, judgments, and death dates. While most of the books are arranged by arrest number and date, several books are dedicated to specific crimes, including safe-cracking, forgery, and pickpocketing, and specific categories of people, including political dissidents, union members, juvenile offenders, female offenders, and various ethnic groups. One book is simply labeled "Degenerates." There is a separate index called the City Gallery Index for most of the mug books that date from 1860 to 1921. This series also includes books of wanted bulletins from around the country that date from 1899 to 1932, plus a folder of loose wanted bulletins, and bulletins mounted on two masonite boards. There is a separate index for some of the wanted books that date from 1910 to 1922. Additionally, this series includes copies of other West Coast police departments and prisons' mug books that date from 1902 to 1934. SPD Captain Max P. Fisher, a leader in police identification techniques, was instrumental in the hand-copying of mug books from other cities and prisons in order to create a criminal card file database. Copied mug books are from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, Stockton, Long Beach, Denver, Portland, Tacoma, and Carson City, and Folsom and San Quentin state prisons. There also are indexes for some of the San Francisco, San Diego, and Oakland mug books. This series is arranged chronologically.
    Series 2. Jail registers and other logbooks, 1867-1973. This series is made up of jail registers and other logs created by the SPD. The majority of volumes consist of Sacramento city jail registers dating from 1867 to 1970 (plus the register from April to July 1973). Registers include the prisoner's name, charge, date of arrest, and bond or deposit amount, the actions taken, and the name of the arresting officer. Other volumes include records of arrest from 1956, arrest number assignment logs from 1917 to 1923, insane commitments from 1927 to 1950, evidence records from 1933 to 1962, and the desk sergeant's daily record book from 1937 to 1938. Also included is a San Francisco jail register index from 1939 to 1946, but CSH does not have the corresponding registers in its collection. This series is arranged alphabetically.
    Series 3. Administrative material, 1919-1993. This series consists of a variety of administrative records collected or created by the police department. These include material like police training manuals and handbooks; a large run of Speak Out memos, which was a program that gave police personnel the opportunity to provide ideas and feedback in order to improve communication and processes within the department; citizens committee reports on police practices; James Babcock's original artwork from 1970s Sacramento Bee police-related cartoons; 1920s city ordinance books and police department rules and regulations; American Parkway emergency access maps; department restructuring project materials; and other items. Of note in this series are records from World War II that document the SPD's impounding of "alien enemy" cameras, radios, and firearms by order of the U.S. Department of Justice at the outbreak of the war. Almost all of the impounds are from people of Japanese descent. Records include property receipt books, letters from the property owners asking for their items back at the end of the war, and correspondence between those individuals, the SPD, and the federal government. The records show that after the war it was difficult for people to recover their belongings even with a receipt because the SPD was not immediately authorized to return them and eventually turned all the property over to the federal government. The correspondence shows Sacramento Chief of Police Alex K. McAllister's frustration with the federal government's handling of the situation. This series also includes two videotapes: one showing footage of the Rooney facility groundbreaking ceremony and a police and firemen's mass, and one showing the police chief at a city council meeting on assault weapons. This series is arranged alphabetically.
    Series 4. Photographs, 1894-1988. This series is made up of a range of photographs taken of or by the SPD. The majority are portraits of police chiefs and members of the force from 1895 to 1974. There are several collages of police force portraits dating from between circa 1915 and 1924 (some of these collages have been deconstructed for preservation purposes), and a panoramic group shot from circa 1919. Also included are Baconbombers Pig Bowl team photos, a photo of the circa 1925 police baseball team, FBI National Academy class pictures from circa 1940 to 1960, and photos of police officers in action taken for marketing purposes. This series is arranged alphabetically.
    Series 5. Artifacts, ca. 1940-1995. The collection contains artifacts, which have not been formally cataloged, but have been listed in an inventory. Artifacts include around thirty-two uniform pieces, three hats, one helmet, eight badges, eleven bars and pins, four protective vests, nine batons and other weapons, a gas mask, leg irons, handcuffs, epaulets, and a fingerprint camera.

    Related Materials

    CSH also has mug and wanted books from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department (1979/080/036 and 1977/078/001-003) and an additional Folsom Prison mug book (1982/054/001).

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Sacramento (Calif.). Police Department
    Police property control -- Sacramento (Calif.) -- Registers
    Identification photographs
    Criminals
    Registers, Criminal -- Sacramento (Calif.)
    Prisoners -- Sacramento (Calif.) -- Registers
    Law enforcement
    Police -- Records and correspondence
    Police
    World War, 1939-1945--Japanese Americans