Chief Rudolph F. Wurstner

8/5/1881 - 7/12/1969

Inducted 2012


Chief Rudolph F. Wurstner in 1902 Rudolph Wurstner became a police officer in the City of Dayton. During the time he served, there was considerable growth and change in the delivery of police services across our nation. During his tenure, he led the citizens of Dayton through some challenging times including the Great Dayton Flood of 1913; World War I; Prohibition; the Gangster Era and the Great Depression. As Chief of Police (1925–1949) Chief Wurstner led the department in advancing its services by transitioning law enforcement from patrolling on foot and horseback to a motorized fleet, implementing the first two-way police radio system in our nation, creating a police ballistics lab (second in the nation) and many other innovative initiatives that provided progressive police services to Dayton’s 244,000 residents and the 40th largest city in the nation. By 1935, Chief Wurstner had become the nation’s Dean of Police Chiefs and remained the United States’ most senior metropolitan police commander for the next 14 years. During his tenure, Wurstner saw the arrest in 1933 of the infamous John Dillinger. Among his favorite pastimes was walking the beat along West Third Street around the Wright Cycle Shop. He retired on July 25, 1949 and died in 1969 at the age of 88 years old.