Captain David L. Martin had been collecting and displaying Police memorabilia for years. He set up a display that included Richmond’s old uniforms, patches and badges each year for the Richmond Retired Police Officers Association. During these annual retiree re-unions, discussions led to the idea of establishing a Richmond Police Museum. With the pending move to the new police headquarters on Grace Street an area was identified, but was not available after the move.
The idea of a museum was presented to former Police Chief Rodney Monroe and he approved the idea if space could be located within the current police facilities. A search was started but space was very limited and the process slowed, but the project was not forgotten.
In the fall of 2010, former Richmond Police Officer and retired ATF Agent Jim Crotty contacted David Martin and retired Captain David Haywood about going to the former Police Training Academy which had been located in the basement of the Mosque (Landmark/Altria Theater) to recover police memorabilia before it was totally lost to the tools of remodeling. The trio was pleasantly surprised at the old treasures they were able to recover. The black board from the main class room, the work out type equipment from the fitness room and numerous items were recovered from the firing range. The large check off mirror which stood outside of the classroom was recovered, refinished by Jim and donated to the FOP John Marshall Lodge. Jim made a second trip to the old academy where he recovered tiles from the old swimming pool. In addition to being the leader in recovering some very valuable historic Richmond Police items, Jim has placed on loan to the Museum numerous items from his personal collection.
In the fall of 2011 a room and space inside the Nancy White Thomas Library at the Police Training Academy was identified by Captain Gary Ladin. The use of this space was approved by Chief Bryan Norwood and numerous items were placed there secured in display cases.
During 2012 we set up a few display cases but with the daily use of the Library for meetings and limited time to work in the area, establishing the museum moved very slow It was also determined that the area as setup was too small for any additional display cases.
In January 2013 we were able to utilize the assistance of several police recruits and moved the library shelves so to divide the room which isolated the Museum area allowing more daily time to work in the dedicated museum space. We had a great response from other officers and their families wanting to place historical police items on loan to the museum for display. We moved additional cases into the area and started creating displays with items in my collection and the numerous items on loan to the museum.
In 2013 Ray Tarasovic was appointed Chief of Police and visited the museum. He was very supportive and soon after the Grand opening of the Museum on May 15, 2013, Chief Tarasovic authorized the expansion of the Museum by utilizing the entire room. With the re grand opening on May 15, 2014 the Museum almost doubled the floor space and added numerous additional displays.
The expansion allowed room for new displays including three mannequins wear different blue Richmond Police uniforms in the styles worn from the 1800’s until 1947. These were donated by Rick Iacopinelli, the son of Richmond Police Sergeant Victor C. Iacopinelli.
Chief Ray J. Tarasovic left the Richmond Police Department and Chief Alfred Durham became Chief of the Richmond Police Department in 2015 and he is also very supportive of the Museum.
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