Behind The BadgeBy, Michael Sevren, Fremont County Reporter
The Lander Police Department is investigating a 100 year old mystery, no it's not another cold case or anything like that but if it is solved, the local law enforcers could learn some valuable information regarding who they are and where they have come from. Here's the Story.
When Duane Kaiser retried from the Lander police force in 2008 he picked up the hobby of treasure hunting. "The relics you find, you walk over the top of them almost everyday you never know what's in the ground," he tells me as he methodically waves his metal detector over the cold wet ground at lander city park.
He has uncovered everything from louse change to metal shell casings and even historical brass buttons. But he never figured he'd find this. "I wasn't looking for it, it found me," says the retired Lander police Sargent. A long lost police badge that belonged to unknown lander officer the only clue, the number seven in the center of the star.
"We believe that it's possibly from as early as the beginning of the police department in 1895 all the way into the 1930's," says Lander police chief Jim Carey. After finding the badge, Duane gave it to Jim and the badge is now in the care of LPD and the chief himself has been assigned the task of solving the mystery: just who was the officer behind the badge?
"This process my help us learn a lot more about our self's so we're gonna reach out to the public to see what else we can find," says Carey as he looks over copies of old town records he was given from the folks at city hall. LPD did not keep records of it's officers until the mid 1960's but with the the help of social media some possible leads have risen but so far nothing has been concrete. Carey has received messages through Facebook and email of possible names that some people believe to be the owner of the badge, but no evidence has arisen to support their claims. "It's defiantly a learning processes to where we're going to get as much information as we can," says Carey, "but we are learning new things each day."
But the answer my be in Fremont county with out the need of the bells and whistles of modern day technology. Tucked away in the corner of the local library is every issue of the Lander Evening Post dating back to early 1900's. As a small town paper they reported on everything from bank robberies to heroic animals. Surely they would have covered the local police force in detail. But with not knowing the exact year of the badge, the chance of finding one article that could solve the mystery among all the dozens of volumes presents quite the challenge. So for now, the badge is lost to the faded yellowed pages of history.
Once more information has been found, chief Carey hopes to build a memorial at the station dedicated to the history of the department. And if you think you know the story behind the badge you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org