Cape police history published a little late

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

As Cape Girardeau police chief in 1999, Rick Hetzel wanted to celebrate the department's 140th anniversary with a commemorative book of photographs. He just never figured the project would take over three years and not be finished until now, more than a year after he left office.

"We thought it could be done within the year," said Hetzel, who still lives in Cape Gir-ardeau.

The $10,000 project proved a comedy of errors, delayed by everything from personnel changes at the department to layout problems.

"We didn't really have anyone in the department that could do layout work," Hetzel said. "We had difficulty saving photographs to a computer disk. It was a far larger project than we anticipated."

Police ended up getting outside assistance to lay out the pages of the 94-page hardcover book published by Walsworth Publishing Co., a Marceline, Mo., firm that publishes high school yearbooks.

The department ordered 200 books, the minimum order. The books arrived Friday and are now being distributed.

No city money used

Randy Roddy, a police captain, said the project wasn't funded with city tax money. Police secured donations, a few advertisements and money from officers and those in the public who each paid $45 in advance for copies of the book.

Roddy said 112 books were sold in advance. Most of the remaining 88 will be available for purchase at the same $45 price. Copies can be purchased by calling the police department at 335-6621, extension 1759.

The book includes some old photographs, including photos of a 1913 horse-drawn ambulance and the 1949 tornado that ripped through Cape Girardeau, as well as photographs of police officers and employees in 2000.

Police acknowledge that the book already is out of date.

The book includes an introduction that was written when Hetzel was police chief. Steve Strong, who succeeded Hetzel as police chief, is listed as a captain in this book.

"It's kind of embarrassing," Strong said Tuesday of the delay in getting the book published.

The book includes a brief history of the police department, which was founded in March 1859. Previously, the city had a marshal appointed by the mayor and city council.

The marshal initially was paid 75 cents for his weekly patrol and $1 for attending city council meetings.

Hetzel said he wished the book had been published sooner, "but still it is a very good pictorial history."

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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