San Diego Sheriff’s Museum – what a gem!

IMG_2935Hunter and I had a “downtown day” and hit Old Town San Diego as well as caught a few cultural events. The best unexpected gem was the San Diego Sheriff’s Museum, which is just on the south eastern edge of Old Town.

We started by wandering around the State Historic Park and saw the first Court House and accompanying holding cell, both which were established back in 1850. We learned that Sheriff’s are elected while Police Chief’s are appointed and that back in 1850 you could only run for one term and it lasted one year. Now they are 4 year terms and there is no cap on the number of times you can be re-elected.

IMG_2958We then headed down the road to explore the Sheriff’s Museum, which covers regional law enforcement from 1850 to today. In addition to great exhibits, the museum is staffed by former Sheriff staff and they do a great job of bringing the museum to life for kids of all ages! Note: The newly elected Sheriff used to get to choose the colour of their cars – hence the “dusty rose” from the 1960’s and the green taxi car’s from the 1980’s & 90’s. All cars are now mandated to be black and white to be more easily recognizable.

First stop was the gun room (aka the historic arsenal) where we learned all about a broad variety of weapons (peaceable and otherwise) and all of their various applications.

Next we experienced life from a criminal’s perspective and had to charm our way out of prison – good thing we are cute and polite!

We learned that in San Diego County the Sheriff staff wear their bullet proof vests under their uniforms for an entire shift – that makes for one long, hot sticky day! We also got to check out their various police vehicles, from off road bikes, heavy traffic motorcycles through to their patrol cars.

IMG_2957We also got to work through a crime scene and think about clues.

IMG_2960As Hunter is currently fascinated with Law Enforcement, and the RCMP in particular, this was a great find. We learned about all of the jurisdictional nuances between municipal, highway, county, state and federal law enforcement in the USA and had fun working to compare it all to what we have in Canada.

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