Hidden Objects: Vintage Uniform

This three-quarter length coat belonged to a Lincoln Park (IL) police officer in the early 20th century. At the time, American law enforcement was swept up in a wave of professionalism and reform which included putting police officers in uniforms. Though officer uniforms are a given today, in the 19th century most American law enforcement simply wore plainclothes and a badge or other insignia. As police departments became more formal institutions and professionalized their workforce, they adopted uniforms for all their officers; strict uniform codes meant the public could easily identify an officer and signal for help.

The National Law Enforcement Museum has thousands of law enforcement artifacts in our archives; too many to display at once. We offer this regularly scheduled blog to give you a peek into our archives.