Tim Timmons | Crawfordsville, IN

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June 13, 2021

State Police museum doggone neat

A recent column generated some good reader feedback. It was about the Ernie Pyle Museum and a number of you told me that you had also visited there and enjoyed it immensely.

If you didn't read it, the gist of the story is that each month our newsrooms do some training. It's more than just the Crawfordsville staff. It includes all of our folks who work on our other products, the Noblesville Times, the Sheridan News and the Hamilton County Sports Daily. Topics covered so far this year include the open door law and Freedom of Information Act, hospital and patient privacy laws (from the friendly folks at Franciscan Alliance), web publishing, photography and how to put the reader first in everything we do - as well as recognizing Uncle Ernie's storied place in Hoosier journalism history.

This month we met with Indiana State Police Capt. Dave Bursten to talk about the interaction between law enforcement and media. ISP Superintendent Doug Carter is a good guy who actually claims to know me - and beats me up around the golf course once in a great while - and helped clear the way for this to take place. Capt. Bursten is probably a guy you would recognize. He is often the face of the ISP in TV newscasts. And it was his idea that we meet at the Indiana State Police Museum. (It's actually called the Indiana State Police Youth Education and Historical Center - and hey, you've got to believe if it's set up for kids I'd fall in love with it!)

The facility is located on the east side of Indianapolis, just off Post Road on 21st St. There's no question it is for way more than kids. My favorite part was the exhibit on John Dillinger, including a death mask. Actually, there were several death masks of other infamous outlaws on display as well.

Visitors can find a wide assortment of guns and other weapons, multiple police vehicles, uniforms, cameras, lie-detector machines and info from the Excise Police division busting up homemade stills! There's even a two-headed patrol car! No kidding, this car has two front seats, two steering wheels, two front-end grills (and no rear-end bumper). You kind of have to see it to understand.

Donations are welcome and the tour from front to back probably wouldn't take more than an hour or two at the most. But interesting? Way beyond!

So whether it's just you or you and the grandkids, this is a trip worth making!

As for the training, Bursten gets high marks in my book. He's a straight shooter who also teaches at the Academy. His first rule he gives incoming troopers, don't ever lie to the media. He said he may not always tell us as much as we want to know, but he will never lie. That's the kind of professionalism we've grown used to in Montgomery County with CPD Chief Mike Norman and Sheriff Mark Casteel. It's good to know it goes all the way up the ladder as well.

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