Billy Club (1956)
Officer Dick Alstad
When Officer Dick Alstad started walking the beat, alone without a portable radio, he knew he better be equipped mentally and physically to handle himself in any situation.
50th & France Avenue
Though not a particularly tough area, the 50th and France Avenue business district was found to be the target of burglars and the occasional drunk who wandered into the alleys for shelter in the middle of the night.
His grandfather had been the village cop many years before in Gilbert, Minnesota and passed along his old “billy club” to Alstad. At 28-30” Alstad knew it needed to be cut down to be easily carried, so he sawed off a chunk, added a leather strap and rounded off the fresh cut.
“That was my buddy,” Alstad recalled years later referring to his customized billy club.
Patrolling With the Billy Club
He remembers being dropped off at one corner from the squad on many occasions. As Officer Crawford drove along the front of the businesses, Alstad checked the back doors and windows – swinging the Billy Club. The shorter length allowed him to conceal it in his hand and sometimes up his uniform sleeve.
One day a drunken man, inside a local 3.2 beer joint near 49 1/2 Street took a swipe at Alstad and out came the billy club. Alstad recalled that he only needed to poke the inebriated man once in the chest, just hard enough for him to see the old billy club, and it gained instant compliance.