By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune
It was July 1, 1957. Dwight Eisenhower was early into his second term as president. The movie theaters were showing “Gunfight at the OK Corral” and teenagers were rocking to the song, “All Shook Up” by the hip-swinging Elvis Presley.
That day also marks the birth of California’s newest law enforcement agency: Garden Grove Police Department. With Reese Ballard as chief, the force of three sergeants and 18 patrolmen took over the duties of protecting and serving the new city – incorporated in 1956 – and established an organization that’s been on the job ever since.
To pay tribute to the men (and now women) in blue in the City of Youth and Ambition, a new police museum has been created at the Stanley Ranch Museum and Historical Village, 12174 Euclid St. (south of Chapman Avenue), operated by the Garden Grove Historical Society.
The driving force behind this new addition is Lollie Beauchamp, the widow of long-serving Sgt. Bruce Beauchamp. “Bruce asked me before he passed away if I would take all the memorabilia he had stored and donations of memorabilia of different retirees and put them on display,” she said at Thursday’s unveiling.
“I didn’t know I was going to do it here. Of course, it took a lot of money and [with donations from] the wonderful Strawberry Festival Association, we built the building. The building was here but they did it for us.”
Inside the museum – which Lollie points out, is not completed – there is a wide variety of items to view (behind protective glass, of course) including weapons, uniforms, badges, news clippings and more that help trace the growth and development of a police force that grew to a organization protecting a city that’s more than quadrupled in size since its beginning.
Visitors who want to visit the police museum can do so when tours are available at 1:30 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of the month. The tour of the museums and historical village takes from one to two hours. Suggested donations are $5 for adults and $1 for students up to 18.
For more information, call (714) 530-8871.
Categories: Garden Grove