What was briefly a brothel is now a celebration of law enforcement.

The International Police Museum in Dannevirke opened yesterday.

Former Hamilton Senior Sergeant Bruce Lyon and wife Maureen converted the high-profile building on Dannevirke's main street into a museum and bed-and-breakfast after Mr Lyon ended 36 years in the police with a sudden career switch.

The collection includes teddy bears, badges, a range of model police vehicles and caps from Poland, Germany, South Africa, Argentina, England and Russia.

And there are real police vehicles out the back. One of them is a 1984 Italian Municipal Police motorcycle Mr Lyon bought on auction website Trade Me. It came into New Zealand as parts.

Mr Lyon left the police in October last year after spotting the old Dannevirke Public Trust building on Trade Me. He had been looking for New Zealand accommodation for his brother John, living in the United States.

There were some benefits in taking over after investment by bordello Promiscuous Girlz, he said. The brothel closed within weeks of its opening.

"The previous occupier had to put in a bathroom for disabled people," Mr Lyon said.

That was converted into a downstairs suite. The Lyons added an upstairs kitchen.

Mr Lyon's favourite piece of memorabilia is a full New York Police Department uniform from the 1990s.

Mr Lyon said there would be a 9/11 display by September next year to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks in the United States.

He said there would also be a Rainbow Warrior display at some stage to commemorate the ship's 1985 sinking and the capture of French agents by the New Zealand police.

"You realise that no matter where in the world you are, the job is the same," he said.

Former traffic officer Kevin Mulqueen, from Hamilton, brought his Holden patrol car to the museum opening.

Wearing his old Ministry of Transport jacket, Mr Mulqueen said the museum was fabulous. It would have taken a lot of time and money to build the collection, he said.

Tararua District Mayor Maureen Reynolds, who opened the museum, said she was pleased Mr and Mrs Lyon chose to bring their collection to Dannevirke.

Story c-/ SUFF.co.nz
By GRANT MILLER - Manawatu Standard