New APD building features police museum - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New APD building features police museum

August 19, 2005

Albany-- When most people think about sight-seeing, a trip to the police department isn't something that usually tops their list.

But Albany's new law enforcement center has become more than just a $14.5 million home for the police department. A new museum inside the building pays homage to the city's law enforcement history, while serving as a history lesson for visitors.

More than 110 years of Albany police history are kept behind this door, and Frances Anderson holds decades of those memories.

"The first chief of police I worked for was chief Laurie Prichett, and I worked for five police chiefs, and the last one I worked for was Chief Washington Long," she says.

The 70-year-old was hired as secretary for Chief Prichett in 1959. Amazingly, she can still fit into her uniform 45 years after she first put it on. "It feels great just like I'm supposed to be in it," Anderson says.

Anderson has become the police department's unofficial historian. In fact, she was there for many of it's firsts. "That was in November of 1964. Chief Prichett hired the first black officers for the department," she says as she points to a picture of the officers known as the "Big Six."

Some of her favorite memories, working during Albany's civil rights movement. "Back over at the old building they had an alley. They kind of brought them up in the alley and they'd get right behind my window and sing We Shall Overcome. It was just beautiful," Anderson says.

But there's more to this museum than just old photos. This mounted rabbit was key evidence in an arson and murder case. One of the detectives who cracked left it as inspiration to those that would come after him. "He left the rabbit here hoping other officers would always dig a little deeper trying to find exactly what happened,"

One of the largest artifacts is housed outside. It's a fully-restored 1967 Ford Galaxy, now a permanent part of the police department fleet. "A lot of the artifacts that you see inside the museum are on loan from many of our retirees or some of our current officers that have a family lineage to the Albany Police Department," she said.

But there is one item officers have had no luck finding. "We've got a picture of all of our chiefs dating back to 1891, but we're looking for Chief Lockett. If anybody happens to be related to him, or has a picture of him, we would deeply appreciate it," says Lt. Tracey Barnes.

Even though it may not be complete, Frances Anderson says she's proud of the department's history, and is hoping visitors will be too.

Exhibits at the Law Enforcement Museum will be rotated. Admission to the museum is included in a tour of the new law enforcement center.

For scheduling information call the Albany Police Department.

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