Kevin Miller is looking to recognize the legacy of fellow law enforcement officers who’ve sought to protect and serve on the Olympic Peninsula for more than 100 years.
“My thing is the legacy within our department,” the Port Angeles Police Department sergeant said recently. “We’ve been here since 1915. I want to put things in perspective on how many people have served.”
Thanks to a partnership with a Sequim business owner, Miller is doing just that. He and Damon Stamoolis of Clear Image Custom Framing and Prints in Sequim are working together to resurrect fifteen images of Port Angeles police staff, taken by various photographers between the 1920s and the 1970s.
Miller was given a box full of prints and slides more than five years ago, by his predecessor in the department, who saved them when they were on the way to the landfill after a purge in the records department. Three boxes were not saved.
The images are of the department and its environs as well as the people who served there and their families. In the old days, Miller explained, people got dressed up for the photos.
“Back then everybody would get decked out to come in for a picture,” he said. “They’d be polished up. We couldn’t do that today.”
Miller sought to spruce up the Port Angeles office.
“We didn’t have much on the walls. I wanted to pick some out and do something special with them,” he said. “Damon (Stamoolis) was interested in seeing these old pictures and was willing to help us out.”
The two men share an interest in old images and were able to work together to narrow down the many prints in the box to the 15 for displaying on a long wall at the station.
“It’s been a fun project,” said Stamoolis, who estimated that Clear Image donated about $5,000 worth of goods and services in assisting Sergeant Miller in “refreshing the police station.”
Stamoolis scanned the 2-inch-by-3-inch images, cleaned them digitally, reproduced them as 16-inch-by-20-inch prints and then matted and framed them to 20-inch-by-24-inch sizes
“Damon gave us a tremendous deal,” said Miller, “We basically paid for the materials and he donated everything else. He donated a lot of money, work, and many hours of effort. We really appreciate it.”
Miller hung the last two on a long wall in the station at the end of August. He explained that the department is so busy he has been able to hang about one a week.
On the opposite wall he placed framed pictures of the six K-9 police dogs who have worked at the station, three of whom he worked with.
“Some of those dogs put in quite a few years,” said Miller. “My first dog worked 11 or 12 years.”
Miller said that he is planning to put plates on each of the framed images that will identify the year they were taken and who is in them.
He is still working on identifying the people in the images, with the help of some older Port Angeles residents. He described a ripple effect that is occurring as he shares the images.
“A woman came into the station — her father had passed away — and one of the pictures was of her dad standing by a police car,” Miller recalled. The woman was delighted and she brought in more images to share.
He said he is also seeking to put together a display of modern images of current and recent police officers.
“I’ve worked here for 32 years. I’m passionate about what we’re doing. I’m trying to build a sense of service and history. This isn’t a job, it’s a service,” Miller said.
Stamoolis re-opened Clear Image, formerly owned by Daniel and Christi Jolly, in March of 2020 and said that business has been good despite a challenging start due to COVID-19.
“We’ve had to be nimble,” he said.
Stamoolis said that he is looking for a larger place for the business so that he can “expand operations”.
He is hoping that in the future he can offer more to the local community: classes, a darkroom, maybe small film showings.
He said he’d like to offer a combination of “custom framing and an arts and technology hub for Sequim.”
For more about Clear Image, visit goclearimage.com or call 360-681-7622.
For more about the Port Angeles Police Department, see wa-portangeles.civic plus.com/288/Police- Department.