JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Jan. 26, 2015) -- A Mission and Installation Contracting Command information technology specialist's interest in an old news story about a riot at the front gate involving Soldiers and policemen sparked interest in learning the local police department's history.Beginning with that first news story from July 1900, Steven Ramsey's countless hours researching local police history led to the creation of a 3,000-member San Antonio Police Department Historical Society."I was researching Fort Sam Houston history when I discovered a story about a riot at the infantry post gate," said Ramsey, the vice president of the society and acting historical research chairman. "At a certain point, the Soldiers and policemen assigned to the area got into a clash. At that instant, my interest changed from a casual perspective to focusing my understanding of the police department at the turn of the century."After a couple of interactions on social media with retired police officers and their families, Ramsey found himself delving deeper into his research and had become a credible source of history for the middle 1900s, and the local police department contacted him to research some of their photos."After finding the identities of some of the people in the photos, they invited me to look at a closet full of artifacts they had been holding onto for almost a century," Ramsey said. "Soon it led me to develop a network with other department history enthusiasts and create the society."Ramsey and his counterparts established a historical society to honor the duty and sacrifice of San Antonio police officers. Their purpose is to collect and preserve historical artifacts, records, stories, books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, architectural drawings and oral histories relating to law enforcement in San Antonio from the first appointed city marshal in 1847 to the present. They conduct everything from oral histories to briefing officers and citizens on the history of the department. The society has a governing board as well as artifact, research and membership departments.When researching, Ramsey said he uses several techniques to track down information for the society."I have learned a well-constructed question comes before any work can begin," Ramsey said. "Once you have the question you want to research, detective work becomes necessary, and information to answer your question can be found in the most interesting places."Ramsey makes use of online newspaper archives going back to 1847, civil service records and city council meeting minutes to conduct research.Through his research, Ramsey discovered the best sources of information are the officers who patrolled the city streets. He has spent many hours uncovering and preserving their stories from the Great Depression to as recent as the 1980s."Listening to their stories brings to life the excitement of the city during decades of turmoil and prosperity," Ramsey said. "The city's archivist office has on file subpoenas and court records dating back to 1906. Every fine for vagrancy or prohibition violation is in those archives. Observing penmanship from a 100 years ago is impressive. There were no computers and very few ways to correct mistakes; the government record had to be correct the first time. Great care was taken before communicating any statement in writing.""Mr. Ramsey has played a vital role in the development of the SAPD Historical Society," said Police Officer Misty Floyd, San Antonio Police Department Media Services public information officer. "His generosity and dedication to this project means so much to our officers and certainly has not gone unnoticed. With his help we are well on the way to honoring those officers who paved the way before us. Our dream of one day having our very own police museum to show our friends and families no longer seems out of reach. This progress would not be possible without Mr. Ramsey's passion for helping SAPD protect our department's past to ultimately serve the future."Ramsey believes capturing the events and people from the past are important in shaping the future."Understanding the past helps us understand our circumstances in the present and may give us ideas of how to improve the future," Ramsey said. "To understand our history illustrates the American people's evolving relationship to its government, the events of a growing city and personalities we can all identify with. Promoting the history of police officers in the Alamo City transforms the nameless, faceless bureaucracy of a governmental agency to one made up of its citizens and acting as representatives of its citizens in good faith."Ramsey explained his interest in history as a story of human struggle in the past and future."The events may have been from a century ago, but the motivations, emotions and reactions are the same as if they happened today," he said. "Policing involves guns, morality, danger, boredom, terror and natural disasters. What is there not to love? We have all of the elements of a 'CSI' episode, but all the characters are real, and it's easy to become addicted to see how their lives progressed."