The identity of a former Washington Court House chief of police was recently rediscovered when New Albany man Daniel Guthrie found a police badge that had been forgotten after it was packed away decades ago.
Guthrie reached out to Washington Court House Police Lt. Russell Lowe and the two men worked together to learn more about the forgotten chief.
What they discovered is that D.L. Moore served as chief of police in Washington Court House from 1914 to 1924. They also learned that the D.L. inscribed on his badge stood for Dossy Lewis, but that he was more commonly-known as “Dude.” As he continued to dig through boxes, Guthrie also found two newspaper articles about Moore and a photograph of him with two other Washington Court House police officers. The articles revealed that Moore died in 1926 after falling off of a truck while working on a road.
Moore was great-grandfather to Guthrie’s wife, Doris Jane Moore. Interestingly, Guthrie was also a police officer. He served with the Columbus Police Department for 28 years and retired a sergeant in June of 2007.
Guthrie and Lowe both attributed their discoveries to the other. Guthrie said it was Lowe’s investigative abilities that allowed them to learn more about Moore’s life, while Lowe said he couldn’t have done it without Guthrie, saying “the kudos to the man that brought it to the surface.”
Guthrie said of the badge, “Being an in-heart police officer, when I saw this I had to return it. This belongs here, not in my garage or on my wall.” He added, “this did not belong to me. This belonged to Washington Court House. This is part of their history, this is someone of your community.”
Lowe has been working on piecing together the police department’s history “so the new guys can know where they come from, basically.”
When looking through old records, however, he discovered that several decades in the 1900s were missing, and from 1902 to 1934 there was no record of who the chief was. He’s hoping to identify the other chiefs from that time period and also to identify as many police officers from the department’s history as possible. He said he hopes to create a plaque with the names of every person who has served at the department. He asks members of the community with “any kind of information, photographs, names of officers” to contact him through the police department.
Lowe said being a police officer is “the best job in the world. It’s been the best career.” He added he wants to acknowledge and remember those who came before him by preserving the department’s history.
Guthrie said he hopes to continue to learn more about Moore’s life, saying, “We’re still gonna continue researching some things.”
One remaining question regarding the badges Guthrie found is the story of the London Mechanical Police. Moore had a badge from this department, but Lowe and Guthrie have not been able to find any records referring to it.
Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124 or @MeganNeary2