Nevada Law Enforcement History
SHERIFF JOSEPH McCOMB - LANDER COUNTY, NEVADA
Sheriff McComb was a blacksmith by trade when elected to Sheriff of Lander County in 1890. He eventually reverend to North Dakota where he once again opened a blacksmith shop. The photos were taken in North Dakota.
The badge shown was found in a bucket filled with nails and screws in a distant relatives garage. In fact, they had no idea who it may have belonged to or how I had been discarded in the garage. Examination of the badge shows that it likely was made by Sheriff McComb himself. Only after the badge was researched by me and the identity of the man that had worn it was revealed did the previous owners realize that it had in fact belonged to a relative.
The search for who had worn this beautiful jeweler made sterling silver badge has been long and difficult. Then this photograph was discovered and it is very apparent that the man with the badge happens to be wearing a round solid centered badge, a design that is very far from customary. Further research would indicate that this photo was taken around 1880, given clouting styles. The Humboldt County Sheriff in Winnemucca, Nevada from 1880 to 1883 was W. T. Burns. And last, there happens to be a few initials scratched onto the back, one being a W and the others quite obscure.
Nye County Sheriff Thomas served his community for many years. His gravestone was featured in a sketch by western artist Joe Gish to commemorate the last issue of the Nevada Peace Officer Magazine.
Tonopah, Nevada, in Nye County, had a police department for many years. Now defunct, Tonopah is protected by the Nye County Sheriff's Office. Freck Lydon served as Tonopah Chief of Police from 1935 to 1944 and then again from 1951 to 1956.
Douglas County's community of Minden has never had an. official city police department, but town officials did at one time appoint night watchmen or patrolman to keep an eye on the town as others slept. Those officers were issued Minden Police badges for the duration of their assignments. Jery Take served in this capacity as early as 1935 while Herman Muller took the duty in 1947.
The beautiful gold badge belonged to Sheriff William D. Park. Park served as sheriff from 1922 to 1949.
It is unknown which sheriff wore the Silver engraved badge.
The last badge was presented to Mr. S.H. Bourne, a wealthy Lake Tahoe resident, as a gift from the sheriff. It brought no peace officer powers to Bourne.
Sheriff Sabbas held the office of Pershing County Sheriff from 1946 to 1955.
A few badges of the Lovelock Police Department.
The Babbit PD actually functioned as the police agency on the grounds of the Wawthorne Army Munitions Depot in Hawthorne, Nevada from 1957 to 1980.
Round Mountain is located in Nye County, Nevada. This badge was reportedly dug up at the local dump and that would be reasonable given the condition. Round Mountain is a small town, today with only 1800 residents, but was born from mining in the 1800s. The town constable was elected and often in these small towns functioned as the law enforcement officer for the community. This badge is quite old and through a process, the man that wore it would likely have been one of these:
S. G. Cooke, Constable from 1906-1908.
Joseph Alexander, Constable from 1908-1922.
Edward Welsh, Constable from 1922-1926.
B.F. Hargett, Constable from 1926-1932.
Fred Linsea, Constable from 1932 into the 1940s..
POLICING VIRGINIA CITY, NEVADA
Thomas Kelly served as Sheriff of Storey County through the years when the current courthouse and jail were built following the great fire off 1875. Kelly was then appointed United States Marshal of the District of Nevada with his home base in Virginia City. If you are familiar with current Virginia City, Kelly's Marshal's Office was located upstairs above present day Grandma's Fudge. Kelly was headed home for lunch one day and suffered a heart attach along the route to his house. Kelly died that day. He had lost his bride only months before. They had several children left behind.
The gun you see belonged to Kelly. The handcuffs, with three bracelets, belong to Storey County.
Virginia City had a police department for many years up until 1963. The photo at right shows the officers of VCPD in 1957.