‘Flashback’: History of how sports have played important role in Seattle Police Department

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SEATTLE METROPOLITAN POLICE MUSEUM — What’s a recreational outlet for you at your job?

For many businesses it’s sports and for Seattle police and many law enforcement agencies it’s been the same — but not always.

Officer Jim Ritter with the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum has more in ‘Flashback.’

“In the early days, Seattle police officers worked 18 hour shifts with no days off. It was a thankless job that caused low morale, fatigue and depression because the cops had no outlet to relax.”

“That all changed in the early 1920`s when the Seattle Police Athletic Association was formed giving police officers an off-duty outlet to compete in sporting events such as track and field, pistol marksmanship, baseball and other events where they would compete with agencies from around the region.”

“The Marksman team would use standard revolvers and whoever won would be awarded really great medals.”

“Track and field was also very popular and one of the most popular events was the Tug-o-War team where the winning team would not only have bragging rights for the next year but would be awarded a beautiful gold-plated baton.”

“The Seattle Police Athletic Association was highly popular and one of the first formed in the United States. By 1980 the Seattle and Tacoma police department`s football teams could be seen battling it out in the Kingdome, cheered on by thousands of enthusiastic supporters.”

“The athletic association still exists today with a variety of events that keeps many Seattle police officers and their civilian supporters motivated by the same team spirit that we had over 90 years ago.”

“That`s the way it was. I`m Officer Jim Ritter and this is `Flashback.’”

If you have questions about law enforcement history, email Ofc. Ritter at smpmuseum@aol.com

To find out more about the museum, go to seametropolicemuseum.org