By Tamas Mondovics

Faded photos, a badge resembling something from an old Hollywood Western, patched uniforms and old records books representing 160 years of history were all on  display during a special ceremony held at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Training Center at 1409 Falkenburg Rd. in Brandon.

The event was the first installment of the HSCO History Museum, currently consisting of two large shadow boxes filled with artifacts representing the past century-and-a-half from the 1890’s to 1965 and the present.

For the unveiling, Gee joined his staff,  including Major Clyde Eisenberg, Major Alan Hill, Lieutenant Jim Bradford as well as University of South Florida History Professor Phil Levy.

Taking charge in the ceremony, Eisenberg explained that the project began last year after Gee, a self-proclaimed amateur history buff, asked some of his staff to begin the process of creating a museum and capturing the history of the office since it was formed more than 160 years ago.

It’s noteworthy to mention that upon his request of the project, Gee did not leave his staff empty handed as he contributed dozens of artifacts he has been collecting over the years, keeping them in boxes at his home and office.

To launch the project, HCSO partnered with the University of South Florida History Department while Master Craftsmen, Friedemann Buschbeck of Temple Terrace, created the displays.

“We have been great custodians of the law, but not of our own history,” Eisenberg said. “The Sheriff wanted to make sure that our history will be captured and preserved before it disappears.”

With about 1,500 officers today, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is the one of the oldest and  largest in the country.

HCSO officials are hoping to see a fully operational, completed museum by the end of 2013, in a location near the Ybor City Sheriff’s Annex.

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