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March 26, 1890: Park board passes resolution creating park police

On this day in Duluth in 1890, Duluth’s Board of Park Commissions passed a resolution authorizing the appointment of park policeman. President William K. Rogers explained there was a “necessity for police supervision in the several parks and along the connecting driveway to prevent the deposit of offal and garbage and injury to trees and undergrowth.” Everyone agreed and voted for the following resolution: “Resolved: that the President of the Board is hereby authorized to request of the proper city authorities the appointment of two policemen to patrol…public grounds…to the strict enforcement of the police regulations of the City therein. Payment for services to be made by the Board.” Five days later the Duluth News Tribune reported that Joseph Plaunt and David Vaugh had been “sworn as special policeman…to do duty on the boulevard through the summer season.” The article noted that the men were already Park Board employees and would serve “without pay from the city.” Vaugh was assigned to Lincoln Park, and the Board provided him with a modest house to live in. Besides maintenance work on the Boulevard (“cleaning gutters, raking and leveling and other wise keeping it in good condition for driving”) the park police “looked out for any violation of the ordinances of the board….” There’s more to the story of Duluth’s park Police, and you can read it here.

The very first badge worn by a Duluth park policeman, issued to either Joseph Plaunt or David Waugh in 1890. (Image courtesy of Andrew Ebling)