Donation of uniform, memorabilia honors law enforcement past

February 6, 2010 7:07:00 PM

Allen Baswell - [email protected]


Family, friends and others gathered Wednesday afternoon at the lobby of the Columbus Municipal Building as Garth Palmer''s family presented Columbus Police Department Chief Joseph St. John with Palmer''s police uniform, badges and other memorabilia at a special ceremony. 


Sandra Graham, Palmer''s stepdaughter, and other family were in attendance for the unveiling. She said they have been in the family''s possession for many years. 


"When I found the uniform and things among his belongings, I decided something needed to be done with them. He died in 1996, and I thought the uniform was too nice to get rid of," she said. 


Along with the uniform, other items donated to the museum included Palmer''s badges and a framed certificate from the FBI signed by Bureau Director J. Edgar Hoover.  


"He graduated from the FBI Academy and was proud of that accomplishment," Graham said. 


Palmer was with the Columbus Police Department from 1945-66, rising up the ranks from patrolman to assistant chief. Graham said he also worked as a security guard at Columbus Air Force Base. 


"He helped to get housing for those men who came to the base. After he retired from the police force, he went to work as a chief inspector with the Public Service Department of the Mississippi Department of Transportation," Graham said. 


Chief St. John said he is proud to have Palmer''s items on display, adding another historical element to what is already in place with the war museum. 


"We need to add some history of our own to this area. Garth Palmer committed his life to law enforcement, and I am glad we can honor him and others in the future," he said. 


Travis Robertson, a CPD investigator, also presented his Army National Guard uniform to be displayed. 


"I served as a recruiter for the Guard and Reserve, which makes up the local National Guard unit, and I wanted to make sure that area of the armed forces is also represented," he said. 


Allen Baswell is a former staff reporter for The Dispatch