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Donation revives memories of former police captain

Melissa Travi, Ottawa Police Department's records clerk, hangs a new shadowbox up at the station that features the service revolver of a deceased city police captain. The .38 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun belonged to Charles Montgomery, who died in 1919. The gun was donated to the agency as a historical artifact by his family.
Melissa Travi, Ottawa Police Department's records clerk, hangs a new shadowbox up at the station that features the service revolver of a deceased city police captain. The .38 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun belonged to Charles Montgomery, who died in 1919. The gun was donated to the agency as a historical artifact by his family.

A recent donation of a deceased Ottawa police officer's service weapon has been framed and is now on display at the city's police station, 301 W. Lafayette St.

The .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver worn on duty by the late Capt. Charles Montgomery was given to the Ottawa agency by his granddaughter, Margaret Baitto, of Ottawa.

Montgomery died at the age of 44 when he was found asphyxiated from a faulty water heater at the Ottawa Moose Hall in 1919.

Baitto, 85, explained her family has held the gun since her grandfather's unfortunate death.

"It has been in the family for decades," Baitto said. "I remember stories about my grandfather who walked a beat here in the city when they still had officers on foot patrol. I do not have or want a (legal) permit, so I thought it was best to give it over to the local police."

Ottawa Police Chief Brent Roalson said he appreciated the weapon donation from the Baitto family.

"The gun has historical importance to our department and we have had the weapon framed with information on Capt. Montgomery in a nice shadowbox," Roalson said. "It is up in our hallway where it will stay."

At the time of his death, Montgomery was described in a newspaper article as one of the most respected officers on the Ottawa police force.

An article about his untimely death said: "While in the prime of his life, with a future fraught with possibilities for success, he (Montgomery) was looked upon as a dauntless and fearless officer. He was a good citizen, a good husband and father and a loyal servant. In his death, the city suffered a great loss."

Baitto said, "I was happy to see how excited the police department was when I handed over the gun. They were very kind, excited and grateful. I am glad I gave it to them."

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