Posted 8 years ago
Here's one for my fellow Milwaukeans:
By 1921 automobiles had become common place. Since most of the population still had the horse and buggy speed mind set what was perceived as reckless driving became an epidemic. The unsafe nature of automobile construction and Milwaukee’s wood block paved streets which became as slippery as Teflon when wet didn’t help the situation either. As a result the Milwaukee County Safe Drivers Club was formed in 1921. Part of the club was a Vigilance Committee which consisted of 250 club members selected by the Milwaukee Police and Sheriff’s departments. Each vigilante was issued a numbered badge and instructed on how to report any reckless or careless driving that they might witness.
Each badge is a shield shaped pin back with an antiqued silver finish, 34.2mm by 40.3mm in size and is marked “Schwaab S.S. Co. Milwaukee” on the reverse. The obverse has a cross within the circular legend “SAFE DRIVER’S CLUB MILWAUKEE COUNTY” in the center. At the bottom is the incuse badge number. At the top is the word “VIGILANTE”. A laurel wreath fills out the sides. Judging from the lack of publicity this “tattle tales on wheels” program was unpopular with the public and faded away rather quickly.