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July 17, 2013

The First Police Car, 1899

Akron, Ohio claims to be the home of the country’s first police car in the form of a motorized police patrol wagon built in 1899. Designed by Frank Loomis and manufactured by Akron’s “Collins Buggy Co.” for $2,400, the vehicle was powered by two 4hp electric motors. It could go up to 18 mph on level ground and had enough power to travel about 30 miles before having to recharge. Equipped with electric lights, a bell and a stretcher, the wagon weighed around 2½ tons with a seating capacity for 12 prisoners. Its first inaugurate act was to pick up a drunken, disorderly citizen.

The term “squad car” likely came from early patrol days, when agencies used wagons to transport the whole squad. (Photo: Akron Police Department)

A year later, on August 22, 1900 during a Akron riot, the wagon was stolen and pushed into the Ohio Canal by a mob. The next day, the vehicle was pulled out, cleaned and repaired. The country’s first police car was used until 1905 when it was then sold as scrap for $25.

Akron’s first patrol car. (Photo: Akron & Summit County Blog)

(History of America’s First Motorized Patrol Vehicle, Police Magazine, May 18, 2010, via History By Zim)

1 comment:

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