The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Historic sign points the way to Police Department, thanks to alert staffer

 

January 24, 2018

A REFURBISHED sign is back in service at the Sweet Home Police Department.

Visitors to Sweet Home Police Department have had no trouble finding their way, thanks to a blast from the past – the sign that used to perform the same function in City Hall.

But that hasn't always been the case.

In 2016, after the city remodeled a portion of the Police Department to move Sweet Home Municipal Court into the building, visitors faced two windows when entering through the front door. The first is Municipal Court. The second, to the right of the entrance, is police dispatch.

Some people were confused, said Police Chief Jeff Lynn.

"When court moved over, we were looking for a way to sign (the windows) so people when they walked in could see which one was the Police Department and which one was court," Lynn said.

That's where city mechanic Tim Riley came into the picture.

"Tim recognized it for what it was," Lynn said.

"There's a place over at Central that's called the Dog Pound," Riley said, referencing the old city garage and the old city dog pound located on the grounds of the Wastewater Treatment Plant off Pleasant Valley Road. The dog pound became a catchall for the city, and it still contains old items, such as wooden statues, under a leaky roof.

Riley saw the city's old "Police" sign in there, he said. The sign was rusting, and the ballasts were failing.

The sign used to indicate the entrance to the Police Department when it was located in the basement of City Hall.

"It was located right on the corner of City Hall, 12th and Kalmia," said retired Police Chief Bob Burford. "Public Works took it down when we moved into the temporary modular building after the flood of (February) 1996.

"We moved to the modular building about two or three months after the flood, as I recall. The sign was in pretty bad shape when it was taken down, and I don't think we even considered putting it on the modular."

The modular building now houses the City Council chambers.

"When I first got to Sweet Home in 1967, the library was down there," Riley said. When the library moved out to its own building in 1969, the Police Department moved into the City Hall basement.

Riley remembers seeing the sign in the dog pound when he went to work as the city mechanic in 1999. Late last year he rediscovered it.

"I took it home to fix it up and clean it up," he said.

His wife, Gina Riley, who is the Police Department's community service officer, saw it and suggested it would look great at the Police Department, which needed a sign above the police window.

Tim Riley gave a call to Shawn Anderson, owner of Shawn Anderson Auto Body, who sandblasted the old sign and gave it a "beautiful" new paint job.

"Shawn just did a fantastic job," Lynn said.

"I put in two LED bulbs, rewired it and put it in the lobby," Riley said. "People were going to the court (window) all the time. Now everybody walks in and sees a big glowing thing in the lobby."