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Photos of fallen officers displayed in remodeled Akron Police Museum

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Posted at 8:09 PM, May 10, 2022

AKRON, Ohio — A restored 1965 Harley Davidson police motorcycle is precious and personal to Jimmy Stewart. As a kid, Stewart took pride in helping his father, Officer Glenn Stewart, spruce up the bike.

"I've got elbow grease cleaning those wheels and spokes for dad," he said. "I was a dad's man, and then for my reward, he put the bike on its center stand and I got to press that electric start button."

But in 1970, the officer was killed on the job. While chasing a speeding car, another driver pulled into the path of the officer on that motorcycle.

"My dad went into work on September 5, 1970, and never came back home and I just turned 11-years-old," Jimmy Stewart said.

The motorcycle is among hundreds of police artifacts, memorabilia, and stories inside the Akron Police Museum, which department leaders admit is one of the department's best-kept secrets.

The museum has been around for about 25 years, according to Sgt. Steve Null, but has been mostly open only by appointment.

In recent months that changed when APD began stationing reserve officers at the museum from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the workweek to enable more visitors.

The museum, which is on a mezzanine level, has badges, patches, uniforms, old riot gear, and radios. There's also a plethora of pictures showing various police chiefs, crime scene vans, the Goodyear riots from the '30s and even a section dedicated to well-known gangster Pretty Boy Floyd, who had one time, was arrested in Akron.

But the most powerful display was hung just this week by Null: photographs of 28 Akron police officers who have been killed in the line of duty over a 106-year period.

Pictures include Officer Arthur Doubledee who was stabbed in 1916 and Officer Justin Winebrenner who was shot in 2014 while trying to defend customers at an Akron pub. The photo of Officer Ed Stewart is also on display. He died last year from COVID-19 complications.

"It becomes overwhelming when you think about each one of these officers showed up that day to work not realizing what was going to happen, just doing their duty and then not making it home," Null said.

There is also an interactive display with photos and details of all of the fallen officers.

"You can scroll through each officer throughout the years and see how they died," Null said.

The extra access to the museum means a lot to Jimmy Stewart especially as the country prepares to honor National Police Week— May 11-17.

"Come on down here and have a look," he said.

The Akron Police Department is holding a police memorial service on May 11 at 11 a.m. at the FOP Lodge on Ley Drive.