While still in Canada we visited the Vancouver Police Museum, located in the original Coroner's Court building, a terrific place. The autopsy room was still intact, complete with the tile floor for easy cleanup and two long, slanted steel tables. This is the same room where swashbuckling actor Errol Flynn had his autopsy after succumbing to a heart attack in Vancouver.
After spending two days in Vancouver we boarded a bus to Seattle because the bus seemed the best way to travel. The trip would take longer than renting a car, but was probably cheaper in the long run, and I wouldn’t get blamed for getting lost.
Rain was heavy on travel day so the bus made even more sense. We had the misfortune of sitting in front of a “loud talker.” We learned all about her mean bipolar mother and other boring details of her life. Even though she had nothing to say, she said it anyway.
In Seattle, among other points of interest, we visited the Seattle Police Museum. I have interest in police museums not only because I wore a badge for 35 years but also because the Chula Vista Police Historical Foundation is struggling to get its own police museum up and running.
Forming a museum is a daunting task. There are many preliminary requirements. The first is: money. The foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization, which means it is non-profit and any donations are tax deductible. And yes, they are accepting donations.
The second roadblock is: location. The group is still searching for a venue. They do have some space at the Otay Ranch Shopping Center, but it’s too far from the heart of downtown Chula Vista for many.
The Chula Vista group has been collecting memorabilia for a couple of years. The museum is not connected in any way to the police department or the city of Chula Vista. No municipal funds go to the museum so the watchdog activists can rest easy. If the city admin would like to donate some money, the Foundation wouldn’t turn it down.
We visited the historic Seattle Pike’s Market Place featuring meats, fish, flowers, and other assorted gifts. I left a lot of police retirement money at the market and in several of the micro-breweries. I favor the heavier, darker beers, but avoid the extra-stouts that have a hint of coffee and chocolate.
Speaking of chocolate, my wife doesn’t drink beer, but there are many candy stores that offer chocolate that is downright decadent and sinful. Lord forgive her.
The architecture and ambience of Seattle is terrific. I’m naïve and uninformed when it comes to city planning and getting things done, but if San Diego’s city leaders want to see what a city on a bay could look like, they should come to Seattle. Maybe they have, and the EPA and several other regulatory entities won’t let San Diego do what Seattle has done.
Seattle has preserved the old and added the new in a pleasing mixture. Seattle was even smart enough to get rid of Norman Stamper as their police chief. He is the former SDPD assistant chief who wrote a book, “Breaking Rank.” If the Chula Vista cops think I’m disloyal to the badge they should read his book. Don’t buy it. Borrow it.
If you know of any real estate folks who can help secure a location for the police museum, (preferably on Third Avenue) or if you know anyone who would like to donate money for the worthy museum cause you may email a member of the museum’s committee, Bryan Treul at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The mailing address is: Chula Vista Police Historical Foundation, 374 E. “H” St. Ste. A, PMB 141, Chula Vista, CA 91910.
Basinski is a retired police officer living in Chula Vista.