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Gainesville police ask for memorabilia to display in new headquarters
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Anyone with items from the Gainesville Police Department’s past is asked to call Capt. Chad White at 770-531-2666.

Calling all cops: The Gainesville Police Department is looking for mementos from its past.

Whether it’s an old gun belt or uniform, firearms or photos, if a retired Gainesville officer or his surviving relatives have it, Capt. Chad White would like to see it.

White has been appointed archivist of historic items as officials prepare for the department’s move into a newer and much larger headquarters on Queen City Parkway early this fall. His mission is to put together a history of the department, with as many supporting photos and memorabilia as possible.

“Our goal is to have a lot more than what we’ve got right now,” said White, noting that the lobby of the new headquarters will have room for a large display case that dwarfs the trophy case in the current public safety building.

Right now, the department has only a dozen or so vintage photos, including two of officers killed in the line of duty many decades ago, and a circa 1942 badge of former chief of police W.D. “Bill” Bagwell that was discovered at a Flowery Branch flea market five years ago.

The oldest photo is of Bagwell’s grandfather, Chief R.T. Bagwell, taken in 1892, more than 70 years after Gainesville’s founding.

White, a genealogy buff, has a task ahead of him in tracing the history of the department. Right now, there’s not even a complete list of Gainesville’s chiefs of police.

Photographic evidence, including news clippings of anything about the department prior to 1980 would be handy, White said. But he would especially like donations of old equipment and uniforms used by Gainesville officers. He envisions a shadow box-style display in the new lobby, with plaques crediting the families of officers who made donations.

“I think it’s important for the officers of today and the officers of the future to know about the lives of police officers of the past, the equipment they used and how far we’ve come,” White said. “We would really appreciate the public’s help.”

Anyone with items from the Gainesville Police Department’s past is asked to call Capt. Chad White at 770-531-2666.

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