The Miami Police Museum

The Miami Police Museum

If you find yourself in Florida on Vacation be sure to leave space in your itinerary for a visit to one of the must see places in Miami, the Miami Police Museum. A visit to this museum will be time well spent.

This museum has over 10,000 items on show relating to law enforcement in Miami and America as as whole.

Do Not Touch?

The museum is full of interesting things to see, and contains many items that have been used in some of America’s most famous and infamous crimes.

One of the most pleasing things about the museum is that you are not faced with Do Not Touch notices plastered all over the place.

Visitors are allowed and even encouraged to touch and interact with many of the museum's exhibits. We took full advantage of this particular museum policy and we went in, sat on and held just about everything that we could and we all agreed that this added much enjoyment to our visit.

If they don't want you to touch....

If they don't want you to touch something then they place it behind glass so that you can't touch them. That way you are not tempted to touch what you are not supposed to.

There are many exhibits in the museum that have been placed safely behind glass but this does not stop you from enjoying them.

It is extremely interesting to see some of the actual articles used by villains during their life of crime. It is especially interesting to see those items that use to belong to famous villains such as Bonnie and Clyde.

There are also, many items on show in the museum that detail the history and development of Law Enforcement and the Police in America and Miami. The overwhelming message you get from going around this museum is that crime does not pay except in wages that you would rather not collect.

Items safely behind glass

Police Vehicles outside in the parking lot

When we arrived at the museum we saw a variety of police vehicles parked outside the first one we saw was this old black and white classic.

I am not at all sure of the make and model of this car, but I would guess it dates back to the forties or fifties. The white walled tyres make the car look very smart and classy. Just look at the size of that siren on the roof of the car.

An Old Classic Police Car

That is me in this photograph trying to look all casual
That is me in this photograph trying to look all casual

Suicide Door

Notice how the car has a running board in front of the car doors and that the door at the back opens the opposite way to the modern back passenger doors seen in most of today’s cars. Many years ago it was not unusual to have the back passenger doors open this way. In England this type of door was given the nickname of ‘a suicide door.’

Do you recognise either of these cars?

Some of the vehicles outside have been gifted to the museum by Hollywood and are vehicles that have been featured in films with some sort of law and order theme.

It is some time since we visited the museum and so I cannot tell which films these two cars were featured in.

If you recognise either of these cars I would appreciate you letting me know what film they are from. I seem to remember that one of the cars had been used in Blade (?)

New Information on the Red Car

Thanks to Steve I now have some new information on the red car at the museumbelow is the information Steve wrote in my comments

"the red vehicle is originally from the Barry Bostwick 1982 movie MegaForce. The TAC-COM vehicle was painted red for a Virgin commercial years ago."

New Information on the two cars below

Thanks to rwelton I now have some information on the two cars below.  Here is what rwelton wrote.

“Good hub. I believe the first car was used in Blade an the second in Escape from LA with Kurt Russel...looks familiar.”

 Thank you rwelton I appreciate your help in identifying these two cars.

What film were they used in?

A little over the top?

I think that this car has been fitted out just a little over the top with its weapons, even for the States .

A few more cars at the museum

I think that the red car on the left of this photo is the one that was used in Blade
I think that the red car on the left of this photo is the one that was used in Blade
I think that this car was just an example of a typical police patrol car. I seem to be more interested in the cat that is passing by than posing for the photograph.
I think that this car was just an example of a typical police patrol car. I seem to be more interested in the cat that is passing by than posing for the photograph.

Police Motorbikes

On entering the foyer of the museum there were several large police motorbikes. They are very impressive looking machines, and much to our joy we found out that visitors to the museum are allowed to get on these machines.

Being long term fans of many an American television Cop Series we were used to seeing motorbikes like these. It was quite a thrill now to be able to get right up close to these real police bikes and not only be able to touch them but also to get on them.



They think they are starring in CHiPs

Out on Patrol?

As I took these photographs I could tell from the faraway look in their eyes that they were both off somewhere with Erik Estrada (from the TV series ChiPs) policing the highways of California.

Like most bikers, the opportunity to get on a police motorbike, even if it was only a static one, was one not to be missed. You can clearly see that they both enjoyed being able to sit astride these police bikes imagining what it would be like to be out on patrol.

From the look that is on their faces it is plain to see that they were very pleased with themselves as they sat astride these large impressive machines.

Prison Cell Mock-up

If you have ever wondered what a prison cell looks like or what it would feel like to be in a cell then wonder no more because here you can find out the answer to both of these questions.

Admittedly it will not give you any idea at all how it would feel to lose your freedom or what life inside a prison is really like.

Behind Bars

A Typical Cell

However the mock up of a prison cell at the museum will give you some idea of the physical size and layout of a typical prison cell. The Cell was about 6ft x 9ft with bunk beds on the left as you look at the photographs along with a small sink and a toilet.

This small space is fitted out to house two prisoners, how much time a prisoner would spend each day in a cell this size I think would differ from prison to prison and also be affected by what level of security threat the prisoner posed.

In Britain we are use to having rooms in our homes that are much smaller than the average American home has but even by British standards a 9ft x 6ft space would be considered too small for a single bedroom.

There is no other furniture in the cell no chair or table or lamp to read by. How true this cell layout is to a normal prison cell I do not know, but I do know that I would not like to spend any time in a cell like this. The lack of privacy when using the toilet would freak me out.

The Human Cost of Policing


On the ground floor of the museum was a very powerful reminder that the policing of our cities comes at a very high price to some of the law enforcement agencies.

There is a roll of honour giving details of all the officers killed in the line of duty. Unfortunately, this roll of Honour is quite a long. Reading the names and ages, of the fallen officers and seeing some of their faces bring home the human cost of policing.

It brings you face to face with the fact that these fallen officers are not just a police statistic. Each fallen officer was a real person who had a family that loved and depended on him or her. They were much more than just a police officer they were also a part of a family in which they had many roles that they played.

Now those families were without them. Some family was missing a husband or wife, son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister, uncle or aunt. No matter what part these fallen officers played in their family they were now no longer there to play it, instead they were missing and missed.

This was the real and extremely high price that has been paid by these fallen officers and their families. This is the real cost of maintaining public safety.

Death Sentence 1881

Death Sentence 1881

There was an unusual exhibit on the wall in the museum that caught my eye. It was so unusual that I took a photograph of it  which you can see here.

It is a framed copy of the words that the Honourable Judge Roy Bean used when he passed the death sentence upon the prisoner Jose Manuel Miguel Xaviar Gonzales in the year 1881.

Judges today would not use such flowery words when passing a death sentence.


This death sentence starts out almost like poetry but then at the end of the first section the judge says these damming words 'but you won't be there'

It continues again like a piece of flowery poetry until the last line of this second section when the judge says to the prisoner “Still, you won’t be here to see.”

The third section starts like the previous two with the judge waxing poetic but this time these words “but you, you won’t be here to enjoy it” appear midway.

From this point onwards right up to the end of his sentencing the judge draws a very gruesome picture for the prisoner of exactly what lays in store for him.

The text that is in the photo 'Death Sentence 1881'

These are the words that are in the photograph above which were spoken by the Honourable Judge Roy Bean,when he passed the death sentence on Jose Manuel Miguel Xaviar Gonzales

“Jose Manuel Miguel Xaviar Gonzales, in a few short weeks, it will be spring, the snows of winter will flee away, the ice will vanish, and air will become soft and balmy. In short, Jose Manuel Miguel Xaviar Gonzales, the annual miracle of the years will awaken and come to pass, but you won’t be there.”

“The rivulet will run its soaring course to the sea, the timid desert flowers will put forth their tender shoots, the glorious valleys of this imperial domain will blossom as the rose. Still, you won’t be here to see.”

“From every treetop some wild wood songster will carol his matting song, butterflies will sport in the sunshine, the busy bee will hum happy as it pursues its accustomed vocation. The gentle breeze will tease the tassels of the wild grasses, and all nature, Jose Manuel Miguel Xaviar Gonzales, will be glad, but you, you won’t be here to enjoy it because I command the sheriff or some other officers of the country to lead you out to some remote spot, swing you by the neck from a knotting bough of some sturdy oak; and let you hang until you are dead.”

“And then, Jose Manuel Miguel Xaviar Gonzales, I further command that such officer or officers retire quickly from your dangling corpse, that vultures may descend from the heavens upon your filthy body until nothing shall remain, but bare, bleached bones of a cold-blooded, copper coloured, blood thirsty, throat cutting, chilli-eating, sheep- herding, murdering son of a bitch.”

United States of America Vs Gonzales (1881) United States district Court, New Mexico Territory Sessions, Taos, New Mexico.
Honourable Judge Roy Bean
United States Judge

The Means of Execution

The means of execution was the most chilling and gruesome part of the visit to the museum.

I visited the Police Museum quite a few years ago so my memory may not be 100% accurate, but I seem to recall that the means of execution in the museum were authentic not replicas.

The Electric Chair and the Gas Chamber had been retired from use. These had then been dismantled at the prison and then re-assembled in the museum.

The re-assembly of these two items had been done so true to life that the impact of these two items was very forceful.

From childhood I had been brought up on a diet of American films and TV shows. Because of this I was already familiar with the ways that prisoners are executed in America.

This however did not prepare me for actually coming face to face with a real life Electric Chair and a Gas Chamber.

The Gas Chamber

My husband went inside the Gas Chamber and sat on the chair but I could not bring myself to do that.  The Chair still had all the leather straps used to secure the prisoner.

As I took this photograph I could not help but think of all those people in the past that had sat in that chair for real and had met their deaths choking on the fumes of the poisonous gas.

The Gas Chamber

The Electric Chair

The Electric Chair was much smaller than I imagined it would be. Behind my husband’s shoulder on the right of the photograph you can see the warning sign ‘Danger High Voltage’.

The Chair still had the restraining straps and the high voltage cables. Again it was difficult not to reflect on the fact that people had really been executed in that chair.  


The Electric Chair

A Guillotine in America?

I cannot remember seeing a gallows at the museum. Surprisingly the museum did have a guillotine.

I can find no record of any executions taking place in America using a guillotine. In Utah in 1851 death by beheading was an option available. Because no prisoner opted for this method of execution the practice fell out of favour around 1888.


A Guillotine

The Tramp Chair

The museum had a contraption called ‘The Tramp Chair’ which was used to punish vagrants. It looks like a most uncomfortable contraption.

The Tramp Chair

Roll Call

A good place to end this visit to the Miami Police Museum is here in the room which reminded me of the actor Michael Conrad who played the desk sergeant Phil Esterhaus in the TV series Hill Street Blues.

Often you would see the desk sergeant Phil Esterhaus talking to the new shift during Roll Call in a room that reminded me of this one.

Roll Call

"Let's be careful out there"

There are many more interesting things to see at the Miami Police Museum than I have managed to cover in this Hub. I hope that this taster has whetted your appetite because it is a place well worth visiting. I can’t think of a better way to end this hub than by having the actor Michael Conrad who played the desk sergeant Phil Esterhaus in the TV series Hill Street Blues say those famous words.

"Let's be careful out there"

"Let's Be Careful Out There"

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Comments 36 comments

Stacie L profile image

Stacie L 6 years ago

well this was informative1 did you take all the photos?


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Stacie, yes I took all the photographs except those that I am in. I am the one with white/greyish hair.

Because usually I take all the photos it is quite unusual for me to be in any.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

Loved this. My late husband was a police detective. This is a very comprehensive Hub - Rated up!


Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

What a fantastic visit to the Miami Police Museum! We call them 'suicide doors' as well! How long ago did you make this trip? I, too, loved the photos! It's great you're allowed to sit on the motorcycles, jail cell and other exhibits - makes it that much more fun (as long as you're on the good side of the law)! Thanks Maggs!


justom profile image

justom 6 years ago from 41042

I don't think I care to visit a place dedicated to injustice. There is too much wrong with the numbers of folks incarcerated in this country and these type things are just another ploy to make us feel like cops are our friends (which they are not!)I'm sure it was fun for you but sorry I could never buy into this. Peace!! Tom


GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

GojiJuiceGoodness 6 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

Great hub! I'm a big fan of the Cops show as well! Sounds like a real interesting museum!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 6 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

Maggs,

What a thorough job of writing and information. Thanks for making my day!


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Suziecat, Thank you for the rating up I am glad that you enjoyed the Hub.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Candie, I think we visited this museum in 1994, which is quite a while ago. I was still taking photos using film back then. If I remember I had a great big bill when I got all my photos developed back in the UK Lol...

I have been in a few of your prisons (visiting) but I never got anywhere near the cells. Just going through the security was stressful enough. There are so many rules and regulations controlling what you can take in and what you can’t. It was far worse than going through airport security Lol…

As for as long as you are on the good side of the law I recommend a hub I read the other day http://hubpages.com/politics/Falsely-Accused-I-Was... it is horrifying how quickly things can change.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi justom, I agree with you a lot of injustice exists in both our countries. Unfortunately there are Police Officers in both our countries that abuse the trust and power that they have been given. When a police officer does that there is no way his behaviour can be justified and when others in power who see it happen and do nothing to rectify it they are wrong too.

The systems in place in both our countries are heavily weighted towards supporting the status quo and protecting and serving the ruling elite. You only have to look at how the prison population is made up to see that. But I do believe that there are many people who join the police force with a real desire to serve and protect the public and to right wrongs.

Thanks for taking the time to comment Tom I appreciate your input Peace maggs


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi GJG, I am glad that you enjoyed the Hub, it was an interesting museum. Thanks for your kind comment


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi lifegate, thanks for the kind comment, I hope I made it better not worse Lol… maggs


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for the extensive information, splendidly written and great pictures. It must be an interesting visit to see all this.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Hello,

We had a great time, there was so much more to see at the museum than my memory could recall the details of.

I hope the hub gave a taster of some of interesting exhibits and if anyone gets to go there they will find so much more than those I have mentioned in this hub.

I know that they have now even more things to see and do. I am glad you found it interesting. Thanks for commenting :-)


Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

If I had a penny for all the times I have heard that comment, "let's be careful out there..."

This is a great hub! So impressed by this! The tramp chair is weird. But there is so much stuff here to love, I almost got lost in this Hub Maggs! It's fantastic! Cheers!


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Cheeky Girl, Thanks for your kind comments I am so glad that you enjoyed the Hub I am sure if you ever get to the museum you would have a great time.


debbiesdailyviews profile image

debbiesdailyviews 6 years ago

I have not only bookmarked this. I have given it a vote up, and a useful

I do not have any plans personaly. However, I do know someone who is going to florida.

I know this will be of great interest.

I loved the info you posted. The photos were fantastic, you really are brilliant the way you capture the moment, and I know you have a great interest in this field.

It shows.

I loved watching Chips, and Hill st blues, so loved the info, plus photos of this.

Thank you for this most delightful Hub,

Can not wait to see what you write about next.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Debbie, your kind comments have really made my day. I am so pleased that you liked the hub and that you found it interesting.

Thanks also for the rating up and for the useful click, positive feedback like this is really encouraging.


paulgc 6 years ago

Hello maggs224, i really enjoyed your hub and i thought the old style police cars were fantastic, i want one. I really like your style of writing as it is easy to read and has a certain flow about it. Thanks for sharing and i look forward to more.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Paul, glad that you enjoyed the hub, the old police cars certainly had character back then. I have just come from your latest photo on flicker I am very impressed the effects are stunning, well done.


rwelton profile image

rwelton 6 years ago from Sacramento CA

Good hub.I believe the first car was used in Blade and the second in Escape from LA with Kurt Russel...looks familiar.

rw


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi rwelton, thank you so much for the info on the cars. I am pleased that you enjoyed the Hub and now thanks to you I can give a little extra information on the car photos.


kimberlyslyrics 5 years ago

OKAY girl

officially peed my pants and more than once-no touching - OMG WTF? Can you believe?

Quickly, I was so proud of myself two years ago [clearly doesn't take much] anyways, was in Niagara Falls at was museums of stars everywhere, now their do not touch signs were tint brass and black "plaques" literally behind them. Well didn't I see way too many photo op's ooooo poor clint eastwood and the queen - I'll leave it so I'm straddling a sitting tom cruise while chris snaps a shot [which apparently is also a NO/NO] [whatever!] They firmly called security to escort us out, we didn't argue, besides had a shot of dirty pictures of everyone known in Hollywood. Yep, took our film, though I made them untwine it in front of me-imagine what the Inquirer would have paid lol omg, pee

regress

focus

so on our way out the very perfect and exact replica of Pope John Paul the 2nd on a 2 foot pedestal [rolleyes]

Turned around and realized I had clearly breeched a very serious famous persons wax law by the number of staff and security smiled, apologized and turned took 3 huge leaps timing it perfectly to high five the popes waving hand and we ran so far so long not sure when they stopped breathing fire

Com'on

No Museums if you can't touch and be ridiculous

Feeling a need to learn more about police and their inner workings

LMBO

Thanks for truly an awesome hub indeed! Voted up and shared!

kimberly


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Now Kimberly I know who I want to have as a museum buddy Lol. What a load of miseries they turned out to be what do they think you are going to do with your photos?

It seems to me if you post your photos and say what a good time you had there other people want to go and enjoy it too.

If ever I get up that way just on principle I am not going in that museum, they obviously didn't know who they were messing with an the power and influence that you wield on the www :)

It sounds like you have enough for very funny hub here let me know if you write one about your museum experience :)


Probate Lawyer Miami 5 years ago

Hold on... What is the Jason mask for? (in the picture labeled: "Items safely inside glass") Cops trying to scare people to death or what? lol


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

hi Probate Lawyer, thanks for your comments Lol... I sure wouldn't like to encounter someone wearing one of these masks outside of an ice hockey game Lol...

The museum had quite a bit of film memorabilia from films that had police in the story somewhere.


Johnvegan profile image

Johnvegan 5 years ago from USA

hmmmm nice post..


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Johnvegan I am so sorry that I have taken so long to respond but I have no internet access at home at the moment and I am waiting for Telephonica to come and give me a line they say it should be no later than September. Spain and Telephonica move to the beat of a different drum :(

Glad that you liked the hub and thank you for leaving a comment.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 5 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Looks an interesting place to visit, except for the instruments of execution. Grim


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Ethel it was an interesting place to visit and like you I found the means of execution grim and very disturbing.

I found them particularly distrubing because they were not replicas but real ones that were no longer required by the penal system. When they were no longer required they were dismantled and reassembled to be exhibited here in the museum.

I found it hard to come to terms with the fact that people had actually been put to death in that Gas Chamber, and electrocuted in that chair. It was quite a long time before the momory of those things faded.


Steve S. 4 years ago

Hi All

Just to let you know that the red vehicle is originally from the Barry Bostwick 1982 movie MegaForce. The TAC-COM vehicle was painted red for a Virgin commercial years ago.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 4 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Thank you Steve for the new information I will be updating the Hub right away :)


Steve S. 4 years ago

No problem. When were those photos take by way? Apparently the museum is no longer there and was relocated to Titusville in 2003?


Steve S. 4 years ago

Sorry, one more question. Do you have any other shots of that red vehicle? Perhaps a side view. I'm trying to locate it's current whereabouts and other angles would be great.

You can reach me through http://www.megaforcehq.com

Thanks


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 4 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Steve I was surprised to see that it was 1994 when these photographs were taken it was our first trip to the states which we thought at the time was going to be out trip of a lifetime as we had saved and planned for many years for this trip.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 4 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Steve I have a couple more of this car will be in touch via your link

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