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    The Sirens of Wayland

    Local Historians: Alex Rubin and Adam Kaufman

         Wayland in the 1950s was unlike today's Wayland in that it was a smaller, more rural town. The police force in the 1950s consisted of one man named Ernest H. Damon who worked out of his own home and used his own car to patrol the area. Residents of Wayland called the Natick Police when they needed assistance. However, Wayland did have an Auxiliary Police force, which consisted of local men (who likely had some form of training) that would assist the police in times of emergency. In Ernest Damon's 1954 police report, he praises the Auxiliary Police for their assistance during two hurricanes that year. The Auxiliary Police also had their own van for transporting supplies and suspects.

         A few years into the 1950s, to improve the general safety, the town requested that more officers be added to the department. Consequently, more officers were gradually added through the years, totaling eleven officers and one chief by 1960. In addition, more patrol cars were added and a new fire/police building was constructed in 1954. After the hiring of more officers, the combined number of arrests in 1956 and 1957 was 498 as opposed to 275 arrests made from 1954-1955. Wayland was a religious community, and the 1950s police logs showed arrests for offenses committed on 'The Lords Day'.

         From 1952-1959, four murders were committed in Wayland, a high number considering the population of 8,000. Oddly, the murders did not seem to have been reported in the local newspaper (Wayland/Weston Town Crier). Perhaps this demonstrates the idealistic values of the nation at the time as controversial issues such as murder were not publicized in small towns. Of course, when a 21st century murder is committed, it becomes front page news and there's no masking of the ugliness in the papers.

         During the 1950s, the police logs show many arrests for speeding. Similar to today, the people used their cars to get them places as fast as possible. This shows their general behavior in trying to advance America at a rapid pace. From year to year, there was a very constant number of arrests made for speeding.

         In conclusion, the police logs of Wayland in the 1950s reveal the general attitudes of Americans represented in a small rural town. Even though Wayland had a relatively small force, people in Wayland were still caught trying to escape the law.

    Quotes by Chief Ernest H. Damon (Town Reports)

         "With great anticipation I watched the construction of the Towns first police station. As the building is progressings is the Town not only in population but in its forward thinking ideas. It is sincerely hoped that upon completion of the station the total number of permanent police officers will change from one to three." (1952)

         A review of existing Town records indicated that perhaps for the first time a murder was committed in our normally peaceful habitat. (1955)

         "Effective 1 January 1958 I am happy to announce that finally the Department has its own two-way radio system manned by four dispatchers two permanent policemen and two permanent firemen and appointed by the Board of Selectmen." (1957)

         "The Police Department consists of 11 full time men and a Chief. Four of these men are assigned to communications and the other seven officers perform patrol duty. The Chief is responsible for the overall efficiency and operation of the various facets of the Department." (1960)

    Police Logs/Town Reports
    Total Arrests: 143
    Drunkenness Arrests: 25
    Speeding Arrests: 35
    Manslaughter: 0
    Assault and Battery: 7
    Working on Lords Day: 5

    Total Arrests: 115
    Drunk: 26
    Speeding: 16
    Manslaughter: 0
    Assault and Battery: 3
    Opening Fire Hydrant Arrests: 4

    Total Arrests: 95
    Drunk: 20
    Speeding: 7
    Manslaughter: 1
    Assault and Battery: 3
    Passing a School Bus: 1

    Total Arrests: 180
    Drunk: 25
    Speeding: 39
    Manslaughter: 1
    Assault and Battery: 2
    Noisy Muffler: 1

    Total Arrests: 267
    Drunk: 22
    Speeding: 50
    Manslaughter: 1
    Assault and Battery: 8
    Road Racing: 1

    Total Arrests: 231
    Drunk: 23
    Speeding: 57
    Murder: 0
    Assault and Battery: 7
    Giving a false name to an officer: 1

    Total Arrests: 155
    Drunk: 16
    Speeding: 29
    Murder: 1
    Assault and Battery: 9
    Stubborn Child: 1

    Total Arrests: 118
    Drunk: 13
    Motor Vehicle Laws Violated: 40
    Murder: 0
    Assault: 7
    Obscene Literature in Possession: 4