Posts Tagged With: archive




DSC07871 (Copy)Dale Toussaint, right, has re-energized the Alameda County Sheriff’s Archive. Gary Nelson stopped by and took a shot at identifying a photo Toussaint scanned into his laptop.

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Bill Selles and Dave Hoig pondered identities. Everyone who arrived knew everyone else, but some of the guys are new faces to me.

DSC07863 (Copy)In one of the display rooms is a sign left by protestors during the riots on the U. C. Berkeley Campus. Blue Meanies was a term coined by the protestors given to Alameda County Sheriff’s Riot Squad when they switched from regular uniforms and dressed in mechanics coveralls by request of the deputies. Their uniforms reeked of tear gas from one fracas to the next. Mechanics coveralls could be tossed in the washing machine after each shift.  In fact, the Sheriff’s Department didn’t have a so-called “Riot Squad”. The Civil Unrest that began in Berkeley was the first of it’s type. During worker strikes or mob situations of the 1920’s and 30’s, the deputies waded in and beat senseless anyone within reach,  and jailed anyone who fought back.  The right to civil protest was not respected. Oldtimer, George Wisner, told me the Sheriff’s Department and Oakland Police Department came down hard on union organizers and strikers. It was policy to always take the side of the company. Another requirement of those early times?  You had to be a Republican to be a cop. DSC07862 (Copy)Marc Thompson and a bunch of guys from squads one and two signed the Blue Meanie sign. He pointed to his name and I took his picture.

DSC07864 (Copy)If you recognize your name, come visit and I’ll take your picture with the now famous sign. Well, famous among the deputies, anyway. The riots were an important thing for deputies. They were never paid overtime, and wages were decided at the whim of the board of supervisors. Old Captain Creel would give you compensatory time-maybe. Many deputies worked side jobs to make ends meet. Sheriff Houchins had no choice but to go the board and ask for contingency funds to pay overtime for deputies who were on the streets for 10 to 15 hour shifts while others covered regular duties with equally long workdays. The riots brought wages up to par with the rest of society.

DSC07873 (Copy)People don’t think they can contribute anything of value to the archive. Behind Dale showing me this picture is a group looking at the Sheriff’s assignment board. We guessed it was from 1994. But the guys knew what year they were assigned certain shifts and they informed us the board was pulled off the wall in 1997. Everyone has knowledge of their time and place and can add to the history of the department in big and small ways. All are welcome on the third Thursday of the Month unless it is a holiday.

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Bill Smith.

Dale and Chris

A woman named Connie came in. I thought she might be a retired deputy.

DSC07877 (Copy)It turned out her husband was the retired Deputy. I didn’t remember either of their names but thanks to Pat Higgins, they are Richard and Connie Krimm.

DSC07870 (Copy)Ralph Streicher, one of the new volunteers, with Bud Harlen, one of the old volunteers. The place was humming. Remembrances of the past were flowing like water along with plenty of laughter. DSC07865 (Copy)And part of that hum was a busy Ralph Streicher. He kept saying, “I love this place.” He is the fastest talker I ever met. I know I’ve gotta get him to sit down for an interview some day. I’ve got three promised now. I keep telling myself life is getting easier with age and retirement.

DSC07868 (Copy)Dave Hoig. Tell your friends.

DSC07867 (Copy) Don’t wait. Get involved. Its fun to talk shop.

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Law enforcement museums and archives are scarce. There have been laws of secrecy surrounding police activities that have changed. Not what you think. Secrecy by law for inmate privacy, for instance. No pictures of inmates could be published, nor any broad information about officers who feared retaliation from former inmates was published. In fact, when Gleason was sheriff, his edict was if an officer (not during a criminal event) made the newspapers, it was a fire-able offense. Near the end of his term, Gleason relaxed that rule.

Rules about records are still in place.  They are saved for about 30 years or so and tossed. That is history tossed. When ACSAA first organized, in 1989, no police museums open to the public existed in the State of California and very few in the United States.  The only histories were in private corners of a department, or in local historical society records, all of which brings me to a major reorganization of the ACSAA. We are a non-profit, volunteer organization, but under Sheriff Greg Ahern, we are being recognized and appreciated like never  before. And, here are the new organizers.

IMG_2730 (Copy)Dale Toussaint, on the left with Pat Adams. Dale was the guy who took over. He joined the National Organization of Archivists and is learning how to handle archival written material, artifacts and how to assession material professionally. On Wednesday, he held the first recruitment/organizational meeting.

IMG_2728 (Copy)Mike Rores and Frank Buschhueter

IMG_2737 (Copy)Tim Ostlund, Frank Silva and Patty Stinson. Patty Stinson is unique because she is the oldest women to pass the Academy as a deputy,  plus she is an artist and produced three giant murals for the Office of Emergency Services at the Santa Rita Base, which I will blog later.

IMG_2731 (Copy)Chris Ostlund and Ralph Striker.IMG_2733 (Copy)Patty with Dwane Montes.

IMG_2738 (Copy)Bill Gordillo with Mike Rores.

IMG_2748 (Copy)Jesus Ureste.

IMG_2736 (Copy)Bud Harlan with Dwane Montes. Bud is the only volunteer from the old days when I ran the archive.  He has been a great contributor and a steady presence at the archive. For myself, I feel my greatest contribution has been the interviews I’ve done recording experiences in the department as it changed over the generations. During the seven plus years I’ve been on the road with Jim, I still managed an interview or two a year. I hope to continue that practice. In fact I was given the names of Jim Wilson, 84 years, and Bud Garrigan as two must interviews. On my own personal list I have Bud Harlan, and one of the original volunteers, Jim Rasche.

As I get to know people, I hope to continue interviews when I can. More on my two-day trek to the Bay Area tomorrow.  (I hope I got everyone’s name right. If not, please correct me.)




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From everything I read, networking with friends and family is healthy. Meet my high-school friend, Faye Gebo. If I’m lucky, I get to see her about once a year or every other year. I spent Wednesday night with she and her partner, Dave Goodwin.

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Her only child, Celeste is like one of those miracle babies, it almost didn’t happen. I haven’t seen Celeste in about 6 or 7 years. She loves the para-normal, high adventure, nature, and her fur children.

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This is only part of the family.

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Through Faye’s living room window, we watched a parade of jack rabbits, cotton tails, ground squirrels and ducks. They see deer, and infrequent foxes and coyotes, too.

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Somehow, I just never tire of watching wildlife of any type.

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Dave is an avid golfer, three times a week, at least. We went to his favorite Mexican Restaurant for dinner. Afterward we played a silly game, called “What’s Your’s Like?” Dave commented, “It brings up topics for conversation,” and it did.

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On Thursday morning, I made my way to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Archive and Museum. Bud Harlan, former deputy sheriff and avid volunteer was discussing the old Harlan Family House with two visiting archivists from Dublin. The house is from Contra Costa County and is on the National Register of Historical Places.  Bud has family records going back to the 1800’s from the Livermore Valley.

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A third archivist, lost his hearing in an accident, from a blow to the head. Totally deaf, he prefers to use a microphone to talk to people. I’ve never seen an apparatus quite like his, but it was very comfortable talking to him this way.

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The Association President, Bill Rhodes is very good about finding better ways to display our collections. His strength is in the museum end of things. The uniforms, and regalia of all types are here. And, the sign, Fick The Pugs has an interesting story. It is a replica of a butcher paper sign as wide as a building from the 1960’s protests in Berkeley. The protestors at that time were much too polite to reverse the P and the F. Now the F word is so common, it amazes me to this day.

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During that riot, the deputies were given birdshot and told to reload their rifles and replace the buckshot. But, someone failed to do that, or didn’t unload enough of the buckshot and a another protestor sign went up over a building with holes in the windows proving that was the case. The sign, partially hidden reads:  Birdshot?? Bulls_it! Buckshot.

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Every time I go, there is something new, or newly placed. The group has made good use of the old, and now rebuilt, guard tower to display items. They electrified the guard tower and will have an old siren and a search light operable for demonstrations when visitors come. The original building did not have electricity. It was electrified later and the light and siren added. The original tower had a sign on the door reading:  “Aim the B.A.R. (Browning Automatic Rifle) away from the Highway when firing at inmates.”  That sign was actually original from Camp Shoemaker days. The Sheriff got the property from the Federal Government. There are many stories in this building, some funny, others desperate and still others heroic.  If you know a story about this place, contact me and I’ll record it for the archive.

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