Indiana State Police Museum
Indiana State Police Museum (image from Auto Museums)
Police cars from all eras at the museum (image from the City of Indianapolis)
Backstory and Context
About the Indiana State Police Museum
The Indiana State Police formed through the Executive Reorganization Act of 1933 under Governor Paul V. McNutt. In the previous decade, the newly-formed Indiana Motor Vehicle Police (established 1921) had operated with strictly limited authority: though they could operate across county lines, unlike local sheriffs, they only had authority over traffic violations, automobile theft, and improper registration. Increasing mobster activity during Prohibition necessitated the formation of a statewide law enforcement authority. One of the State Police's early cases was the pursuit of gangster and bank robber John Dillinger from 1933-1934, which ended with his death in Chicago at the hands of the FBI .
The Indiana State Police Museum's collection includes police cars and uniforms from 1933 to the present, as well as equipment including vintage breathalyzers, scuba gear, and smoke grenade launchers; and artifacts related to the pursuit of John Dillinger (including his death mask) and other criminals. Though the museum has artifacts and information to interest all ages, one of its functions is to educate children about the police force, and kids are offered such opportunities as talking to police officers, sitting in the driver's seat of a police car and working the sirens and lights, and receiving a free "police badge" at the end of their visit. The museum also offers a gift shop and guided tours, and hosts school field trips [1; 2].