Historic photos show police life in Sonoma County

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A lot has changed for Sonoma County law enforcement officials since the early 1900s.

In the 1920s, Santa Rosa police officers patrolled the streets by bicycle. They called a cab to drop off suspected burglars and grabbed a wheelbarrow to deliver those who drank too much to jail. Before radios or patrol cars, they used a pay phone to call for backup.

In the 1950s, police officers and reporters had a reciprocal relationship. Journalists were allowed to walk around crime scenes, and when officers needed photographs, they called The Press Democrat for the shot.

Burglaries and bar fights were the common crimes in those early years.

When marijuana started to appear in the 1960s, the police chief had a local florist plant a few seeds to help officers identify a plant they had never seen before.

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