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Muncie Metropolitan Police Department records

Identifier: MSS-138

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of various publications dealing with the Muncie Police Department, including a manual of rules and regulations, newspaper clippings, a 1971-1972 street guide and a guide to the Department entitled, "To Serve and To Protect."


  • 1971-1985

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Biographical Note / Historical Note / Administrative History

The Muncie Metropolitan Police Department was organized in response to passage of an Indiana state law requiring the creation of a municipal police department for cities the size of Muncie. The governor appointed a Board of Police Commissioners upon whom the responsibility lay for police recruitment.

On March 23, 1893, the Commissioners met on the second floor of the Patterson Building at the corner of Main and Walnut and formed what was to be called the Metropolitan Detective and Police Force. A.W. Chapman, president of the Board of Commissioners presided, while Dr. G. H. Searcy served as the examining physician. Marshal James Miller, a former farmer who had served as city marshal under the old system, was named chief and granted a salary of $1000 a year. The new patrolmen, all political appointees, were given $50 a month as pay and were required to furnish their own uniforms. Two twelve hour shifts were instituted and headquarters was first established in the Paterson Building. However, after two gambling houses had been raided, the police committee received notice to vacate the premises by Arthur Patterson, owner of the building. Headquarters was moved to the Streeter Building at 112 W. Washington and remained there until eventually moving into the City Hall building.

The men hired as patrolmen in 1893 were known for their strength and ability to run fast, as in the beginning, the policemen had no patrol wagons to transport prisoners and sometimes had to haul their prisoners in bodily. One old veteran recalls seeing prisoners brought in on bicycle handles and in wheelbarrows.

The police officers wore uniforms of dark blue cloth with wide pantaloons, a low-cut vest and a double-breasted Prince Albert coat. No mention is made of a gun as being part of the uniform, but there was a general distribution of a mace or nightstick, which was made of wood about eight inches long. One end was carved into a grip and the other end was loaded with lead.

Muncie's early experience with municipal police enforcement included involvement with social order crimes, usually dealing with drunkenness or prostitution. Littering was another favorite target of the police officers. The activity of the new department reflected the values of the "respectable" Muncie community, validating the theory that elite fears of an immigrant population prompted development of police departments throughout the country.


0.2 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Muncie Metropolitan Police Department records, subject files, 1886-1985

Series 2: Muncie Metropolitan Police Department records, oversize photographs, undated

Series 3: Muncie Metropolitan Police Department website archive, 2019-

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Bertie G. Turner on 1993/04/15.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

EAD finding aid created 2012/10/04 by Julie Hausknecht. EAD finding aid revised 2013/08/02 by Leslie Nellis.

Muncie Metropolitan Police Department records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA