The Historian

2020 Spring/Summer

Table of contents

A Wagon for Phoenix

Arizona Republic

Museum Cartoonist

Charles Hodges #2044

It Happened There…

Retired Detective Arnold H. Carlson #753

A letter from the Past 

Police Leader Tests New Submachine Gun

The Arizona Republic, November 4th, 1941

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Above photo shows Phoenix Motorcycle Officer Lewis F. Stewart next to his Indian Motorcycle.
Behind him in the rear of the patrol wagon.

A Wagon for Phoenix

The Arizona Republic
July 10th, 1910

(Edited from original copy)

There is Nothing Quite so Up-To-Date as a Patrol Wagon. Who Wants the First Ride in It? Really, Phoenix is growing more Metropolitain every day. The motorcycle cop has come and now the city is to have a patrol wagon. It has been the custom in the past, when it became necessary to remove a human chuck of inebriety to the station, to hire a cab or express wagon. Until recently the hose wagon has been used at times, but on account of the danger of finding the hose wagon out when an alarm was sounded Chief Sullivan put his foot down on this practice. The annual sums paid to the hack drivers for conveying the bibulous gentlemen of the police station has been so large that the purchase of a wagon is nothing but wise economy in the opinion of the police.

The wagon has been ordered from the Collings Vehicle company. They do not have any great demands for patrol wagons so a few additions will be put on one of the sort the keep in stock. A step at the rear and something to hold to are the chief requisites. Hones, the Five Points blacksmith is doing the work. It will be a one-horse wagon and won’t be quite as elaborate as the big wagons used in Los Angeles and other cities that will carry comfortably a dozen drunkards or fifteen sober criminals. But Marshall Moore thinks it will answer the purpose very well for a number of years. One of the fire horses, who mate died a week ago, will be used on the wagon and be kept in readiness somewhere near the police station. There was some speculation at the city hall yesterday as to who will get the first ride in the brand new wagon. The consensus of opinion seemed to be that “Babe” stands the best show and the odds are all in his favor.

The motorcycle cop has not yet been seen speeding over the streets after erring motorist, but his day in coming. A speedometer has been sent for and is expected to arrive Monday. Then everything will be in readiness for the joy riders. Marshal Moore has corresponded with Chief Dishman of Los Angeles (now no longer chief, so rapidly do things move in the coast city) and learned just how the thing is worked over there. The motor cop will follow after the automobiles and watch his speedometer. When he finds the indicator creeping up to fifteen or twenty miles an hour he will shoot ahead and stop the car, take the names of the occupants and politely ask them to appear at the police station at their earliest convenience.

A letter we received from a loving child and admirer of the Phoenix Police Department ; )

Museum Cartoonist

Charles Hodges #2044

“As a Homicide detective, Charlie reconstructed homicide scenes for two prosecutors who later became Superior Court judges”























Most police officers have excellent senses of humor. That humor can be seen every day in briefing rooms and on the streets as officers talk with each other. But, there is a small group of officers who combine their senses of police humor with their ability to draw. We call those individuals cartoonists.

The Phoenix Police Museum maintains archives of officer cartoonists who have through the years shared their humor with the Department by drawing cartoons. One of those cartoonists is retired Detective Charles “Charlie” Hodges #2044. Charlie grew up in Phoenix and attended North High School. He is the son of a Phoenix Police officer, Charles Hodges (served between 1938-1964), and who retired as an assistant chief. In 1968, Charlie deployed to Vietnam as a tank commander in the U.S. Army where he was in combat. After being honorably discharged from the Army, Charlie returned to Arizona intending to be a student at NAU. He had already found a part time job and an apartment in Flagstaff, but because of a military paperwork problem he wasn’t able to get GI Bill benefits. He then found himself needing a job. In 1970 the PPD was growing and was hiring as many qualified candidates as it could. Although, at the time, being a police officer had not been a job he was interested in, Charlie applied and he was hired in January of 1971.

Throughout his 21 year career on the PPD, Charlie drew cartoons about the funny events that happened with his fellow officers and his cartoons were featured in PLEA’s Monthly Recap. But, but not all of his drawings were funny. While in the Army, Charlie’s platoon sergeant was recommend for the Medal of Honor. Charlie was asked to draw the battle scene diagrams which were needed for the award packet. While in the Army, Charlie applied for the Army’s Combat Artist program, but at the time, the Army needed tank commanders more than artists. After joining the PPD, while still a “patrolman”, Charlie gained a reputation for being able to draw excellent crime scene diagrams. Senior detectives would often ask him to draw their crime scenes. Later, when Charlie was assigned first to Night Detectives and then to Homicide, the police department sent him to the FBI Academy to learn to be a composite artist. His composite drawings, were not only used to identify crime suspects but to help identify deceased persons. The Department also sent Charlie to Facial Reconstruction School.

As a Homicide detective, Charlie reconstructed homicide scenes for two prosecutors who later became Superior Court judges. In their applications to be become judges, the prosecutors included several of Charlie’s cases. In those cases Charlie had determined, based on the evidence of the crime scene drawings, that the wrong suspects had been charged. Charlie’s well drawn diagrams assisted with averting a miscarriage of justice, which later helped the prosecutors to become judges. Charlie’s motto was “See it and illustrate it!” As a Homicide detective, Charlie continued to draw crime scene diagrams for the other detectives in the unit, but by then they had to buy him breakfast in exchange.

After a 21 year career with the PPD, Charlie served another 17 years as investigator with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. After a 38 year career in law enforcement, Charlie looks back on his cartoons as a needed therapeutic outlet for the stress of the job, for himself and his fellow officers. Charlie sums his police cartooning with “It’s a tough job. Laughing helps you make it though.”

Historical Research

The Phoenix Police Museum can perform historical research for you on a person or topic you choose. Our researchers can comb through our historical archives and create a report for you on a specific date, a historical figure, a family member, or a specific incident or issue. Let us help you learn more about our great history.

It Happened There...

Retired Detective Arnold H. Carlson #753

In 1960, Patrolman Carlson was working 3rd shift in the neighborhood just south of downtown. Early one morning Patrolman Carlson was sitting in his patrol car on the N/W/C of Central and Mohave when a northbound car ran the red light at a high rate of speed. Patrolman Carlson was not able to read the license plate of the red light runner so he started after the car. When he was approaching Central and Yuma, a southbound car turned in front of Patrolman Carlson which caused him to take evasive action…into a fire hydrant. The car was badly wrecked but the fire hydrant was undamaged.

In the meantime, a driver for the Arizona Republic newspaper had seen what had happened and started following the red light runner. The Good Samaritan was able to get close enough to the suspect car to get the plate number. The Good Samaritan then returned to Patrolman Carlson and his wrecked car. With the information provided by the Good Samaritan, the red light violator was identified and charged. In the end, justice was served; the wrecked patrol car was repaired and was returned to a long life of service; and from time to time Patrolman Carlson enjoyed seeing the Good Samaritan in the downtown area.

Police Leader Tests New Submachine Gun

The Arizona Republic,
November 4th, 1941

Criminals Beware: Charles H. Wright, acting Phoenix Police chief and a veteran Arizona peace officer, takes up a .45 caliber submachine gun of the type ordered by the military authorities, presumable for U. S. parachute troops. While a bevy of state highway patrolmen, police and sheriff’s deputies look on. Chief Wright is given pointers by E. B. Averill, Austin, tex., district manager of Federal Laboratories, who conducted a two-hour demonstration for officers Sunday at the Papago Park rifle range. The machine gun fires 500 shots per minute, weighs 6 ½ pounds, seems little heavier than a small caliber rifle. Tear-gas shells, grenades and a billies and a parachute flare were demonstrated Sunday. A second demonstration will be held at 9 a.m. tomorrow at the range.

A Letter from the Past

Written to U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater
August 4th, 1971

Museum Updates

Congratulations to Mike Nikolin who recently retired as the Phoenix Police Museum Curator after more then two decades of service. Mike was one of the first three individuals that established a committee to start the museum. It was through his efforts that the museum is the success that it is today. We wish him the best of luck on his retirement!

We also say goodbye to Museum Aid and Board Member Jennifer Eastman who recently left after completing her term on the board of directors. Jennifer was instrumental in growing our social media and online presence as well organizing the 1st annual Cops and Cruiser car show among other things. We wish her the best in her future endeavors.

And finally, welcome to our two newest Museum aids, Joseph Robles and Joseph Heimann. Joseph Roble retired as a Detective and previously worked for the city of Phoenix at the downtown library. Joseph Heimann was previously our intern, and graduated from Grand Canyon University.

Customer Letter

Some items from our online store…

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Wall Art

Looking to add a little flare to your room or office? Look no further – this canvas print has a vivid, fade-resistant print that you’re bound to fall in love with and our selection of vintage prints will intrigue your guests.

• Fade-resistant
• 20.5 mil thick poly-cotton blend canvas
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Other Stories from Our Blog

This is where you’ll find great historical articles from our staff, guest writers and contributors detailing stories and exploits of local Phoenix history as related to the Phoenix Police Department and Phoenix area law enforcement.

A Dangerous Night in Paris Alley

A Dangerous Night in Paris Alley

by Ed Reynolds Officers Patrick E. Henry and Charles “Rocky” Rockyvich were on routine patrol March 21st, 1960, but they knew that nothing in Paris Alley is routine. Paris Alley was that small, but very dangerous area of the deuce, in downtown Phoenix. Located near...

The first Police Radio system in Arizona

The first Police Radio system in Arizona

The Phoenix Police Department communications section came into being in November 28, 1932 when our department established the first police radio system in the state of Arizona. Previously, a bright light with an attached horn had been placed on a tower on top of...

An interview with Seth Scott Allen – Badge #301

An interview with Seth Scott Allen – Badge #301

August 15, 2008                                         Conducted by Dannette Turner Seth Allen became an Officer in 1956. He was 25 years old, married, and moved to Phoenix from Thatcher, Arizona. When he joined the Phoenix Police Department he lived at 723 N 28th...


The Museum will be closed for a quarter Board Meeting on Wednesday, April 21st, 2021. Thank you for your continuing support.   

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