This castle-like stone building in the center of Belle Isle State Park seems like an ordinary building. Thousands of visitors pass by it, but I wonder how many realize how much it affected society. This was the first police radio dispatch station in the United States. In 1928 the Detroit Police broadcasted from this building on their own frequency to patrol cars around the city. They chose Belle Isle to avoid interference with other radio stations.
Before the station was constructed the department did not have a dedicated frequency band to broadcast on. In 1921 the station experimented with broadcasting to officers between songs on station KOP. Between songs, they would read a list of stolen cars or alert them to missing children.
A modern patrol car today is filled with electronics and the officer is surrounded by a computer, radar guns, and communication equipment. It’s hard to imagine a day when the police did not have a basic radio in their car.
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