Our Western Heritage

Our Western Heritage
Front Street, Dodge City, circa 1879

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dodge City Police Docket Book Found

Hutchinson News coverage, Dodge City Police Docket Book Found

Thanks to Ford County Historical Society member, Roger Myers, seeing the photograph of the docket book on Bob "Boze" Bell's True West magazine editor's blog, I learned about it being up for auction. Roger made me aware.

I was convinced it was authentic due to Boze Bell thinking so ...Bell is an expert, as is the innocent auction house owner, Brian Lebel, an Arizona resident. They clearly thought it was real.

The photograph also matched anther docket book currently in the Dodge City Engineering offices which we, the Historical Preservation Committee of Dodge City, studied and compared to a print or the blog photograph..

After letting the auction know I wanted to know their source of the docket book, I also then contacted Terry Malone. He was the starting point of the legal process. This was before his was elected Ford county attorney -- he was City of Dodge City prosecutor at the time. After that, the Ford County Sheriff's office, and then the FBI became involved.

The importance for Dodge City and Ford County is that for the first time since the 1950s, history oriented tourists and Old West historians can see pages covering the actual work of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Ed Masterson, and all the Old West lawmen from about 1878 to 1882.

One suggestion I've made to the city manager is that CFAB funds pay for a state of the art multi-thousand dollar archive exhibit case for the docket book and let it be displayed at Boot Hill Museum. Tourism would benefit greatly. Anyone that studies the Old West would have to come and see it. But the safety and security of the police docket book would be the first issue.

The main point is that I value real history, and when I found out that someone had taken the first hand accounts of Old West Dodge City, it made me mad. It is owned by the citizens of Dodge City and Ford County. I just wanted it back. I also don't want people making easy money from artifacts that belong to the public

Thanks to all involved:

In addition to Ford County Attorney Terry Malone, Ford County Sheriff officials, including Sheriff Dean Bush, and Investigator Mike Albert, and FBI agent Robin Smith were clearly fully involved and successful. I truly appreciate all their efforts. Also to Arlyn Leaming, former Ford County Sheriff Investigations Captain, for early work on the case.

Also, due to coverage in over 68 newspapers when we first found the police docket book was up for auction -- thanks to an AP article from the Hutchinson News -- the nation has been put on notice that we will make it harder to sell artifacts that belong to Dodge City. Big thanks to Hutchnews reporter, Jon Ruhlen, for running with the information I gave him.

Also see:
Dodge City Police Docket Book Coverage

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