Barnstable Police Badge

Accession Number



PRATT, Subgroup Coppers


William H. Pratt was a dedicated police officer who took his job very seriously. He belonged to civic groups (Kiwanis Club, Safety Campaign Committee, Free Masons) and engaged with the community in various capacities (see PRA.TX RANGER BADGE) acting as a representative of his department,. Through his involvement with the Police Relief Association* and various fundraising initiatives (see PRA.SCARPA), Pratt was always finding ways to support his force and further the cause of law enforcement.
The ICS is developing the theory that Chief Pratt was particularly progressive in his approach to administration (see also PRA.SCARPA notes) and subscribed to a creative management style. In 1932, Pratt worked with the Barnstable barracks of the MA State Police to test and install the Cape’s first radio-equipped police car. In May of 1924, Pratt initiated the “Polite Plea Plan”, a new tagging system intended to help mitigate the annual parking problems brought about by the summer tourist season. Pratt designed two parking tags--one for local residents and one for tourists. Locals would be issued tags intended to discourage using downtown parking areas as their own personal garage. The summons asked Hyannis residents to consider “the harm you are doing to your own business and that of others by parking on Main st. for an unreasonable period.” The tags issued to visitors politely requested that the tourists “Please cooperate with us so that we will not be compelled to restrict the use of our main streets.”** It is not known if Pratt’s “Polite Plea Plan” was successful in appealing to a parking person’s sense of reason.

* There is evidence that Pratt was responsible for the loss of Police Relief Association funds when two scam artists persuaded the chief to pay them for advertising in a pamphlet that was never produced. It is thought that Chief Herbert H. Lawrence of Falmouth was also taken in by the fraud.
** The full text of the visitor parking tag reads: “As a guest of the town of Barnstable we want you to realize that anything reasonable will be tolerated in the matter of parking. You are hereby warned that others who interfere with your comfort should be reported to headquarters, and we expect from you the same reciprocity in regard to the overtime use of our limited parking facilities. Please cooperate with us so that we will not be compelled to restrict the use of our main streets. This tag I your permit to enjoy our hospitality and our limited parking spaces. We have confidence in your discretion. Come again, and tell your friends to ship in Hyannis, the friendly commercial center of Cape Cod.”


Police Badge.png


“Barnstable Police Badge,” Institute for Clew Studies, accessed March 24, 2019,