Made in Ontario: The Ontario Rotary Police Museum

The Ontario Rotary Police Museum captures the rich history of the Ontario Police Department over the past 100+ years. The Museum was established primarily as a way to teach Ontario’s youth respect for the law. The Museum exhibits highlight the unique law enforcement challenges that have shaped the department as the City has grown. An Important Part of Ontario’s History and FutureThe Ontario Rotary Police Museum allows visitors to travel back to the past and understand how law enforcement has evolved over 100+ years. The Museum offers visitors a free tour that educates them about each of the exhibits. The tour shows them the original jail cell, early lie detector equipment, dispatcher and phone panels along with old typewriters, call boxes, the first SWAT equipment and much more.Children are welcome to visit and sit on the motorcycle or even experience what it is like to be inside of a police cruiser. “Well one of the things that we do is we have children’s tours and so the children get to be introduced to law enforcement in a way that is different than what you see on television or reading newspapers,” says Albert Vande Steeg, who is a retired detective and President of the Board for the Museum. “It creates a connection with the police department that you don’t get from getting a citation, getting in a traffic accident or having a burglary in your house.”Schools, scout troops, churches and other groups can schedule free personal tours at the Museum as a learning opportunity for children. Supporting HistoryThe Museum gives visitors an opportunity to look at the dedicated men and women called to serve Ontario.An example of these dedicated officers is the President of the Board for the Museum, Albert Vande Steeg, who worked six years of patrol then went to the Detective Bureau and worked over three years in undercover narcotics.Visitors can learn about the vehicles, law enforcement techniques, crime scene investigations and weapons the police have used throughout four centuries of police work. They can get a first-hand look into the inner workings of modern-day law enforcement through interactive exhibits that feature crime scene investigations. The unique law enforcement challenges that have shaped the department as the city has grown are also highlighted in the Museum’s exhibits. The Museum also touches on the early beginnings of other departments in the County of San Bernardino.The Museum has received visits from fellow law enforcement officers from all over the world, such as Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Thailand Law Enforcement, and even Japanese Law Enforcement. The Museum relies on proceeds it receives from its annual November car show located in the parking lot of the Ontario Police Department Headquarters, as well as the memorial concert it organizes in December, which also donates proceeds to fallen officers. Donations can also be made from the public, or by purchasing shirts, challenge coins, or Albert Vande Steeg’s book, “A Black Band,” at the Museum.It is located inside of the front lobby of the Ontario Police Department Headquarters and is open to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or through a scheduled tour.  To learn more about The Ontario Rotary Police Museum, visit www.ontariopolicemuseum.orgThe Ontario Rotary Police Museum is located at 2500 S. Archibald Avenue, Ontario.

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