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THE POLICE DEPARTMENT.
Previous to 1856 there were no regular patrolmen or watchmen in the city. The only street lighting was by lanterns, with candles or oil lamps, in front of the hotels, and these were usually extinguished at the hour for retiring. Otherwise the darkness of nature prevailed during the night time. The initial steps toward policing the town as a protective measure were taken about that time by the principal merchants, clubbing together and hiring a night watchman at their own expense. Henry Baker was the first watchman, and performed the duty as faithfully and efficiently as one man could for several years. His beat was between Lyon and Ottawa streets, on Canal and Monroe. In those nights of darkness a keen eye and a quick ear were the valuable requisites for an efficient patrolman, and Baker's acuteness has seldom been excelled, even with the aid of gas and electric lights.
Under the revised charter of 1857, the Common Council had the power to appoint a police constable and one watchman for each ward. The police constables were endowed with similar functions to those of ordinary town constables, with certain limitations, and the watchmen also had the power to make arrests in certain cases. Comparatively few of these officers were appointed previous to 1871. In some cases watchmen were appointed upon request and at the expense of private parties in the vicinities where they were to serve. A regular organization of the police force in this city was eight patrolmen. By act of May 24, 1881 establishing the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners, the powers and duties connected with the government and discipline of the police, and also the power of appointment of men to that service, were transferred from the Common Council to the Board, and since them the full power of control and regulation of that Department has been in the hands of that Board. It is their duty to appoint on the first Monday in May of each year, by ballot or otherwise, a Chief of Police, and so many police constables and watchmen as they may deem necessary, not exceeding the number prescribed by the charter, and they may also appoint special constables at their discretion in cases of emergency or apprehended danger. Of late the title of Chief of Police has been in practice superseded by the designation Superintendent of Police. Chiefs of the Department have been:
1871-1878 James L. Moran 1879 Isaac Sigler 1880 James L. Moran 1881 Horace W. Davis 1882 Van Epps Young 1883-1886 John Perry 1887-1889 Israel C. Smith 1889 William H. Eastman
Prior to 1882, for near a dozen years, the police headquarters were at the corner of Monroe and Ionia streets; in June of that year they were removed to their present station at the corner of Lyon and Campau streets.
June 19, 1885, the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners contracted with the Police Telephone and Signal Company for twenty signal stations and the necessary apparatus to operate a central office, in two circuits, for the sum of $3,200. These were provided and put in use a few months later.
As now constituted the Police Department numbers seventy-one officers, men and employees, as follows: One superintendent, two sergeants, two detectives, two court officers, one truant officer, fifty-one patrolmen, two patrol-wagon men, three drivers, two clerks, three operators, one janitor and one matron. There are twenty-seven beats in the city, nine of which are constantly patrolled. The remaining eighteen bears are patrolled from four o'clock p.m. until four o'clock a.m. The patrolmen are divided into three squads, or watches. The day watch patrol from eight a.m. until four p.m.; the dog watch from four to eight p.m. and from four to eight a.m.; and the night watch from eight p.m. to four a.m.
In connection with the beats is the patrol box system, one of the finest features of the department. There are thirty-six of these boxes, twenty-eight of which have telephones, all connected with police headquarters. Twenty-five miles of wire are used in the system. Each patrolman reports to headquarters at each end of his beat, and the exact time is there recorded by an operator. These reports are carefully saved and bound so that in after years a person can tell, by referring to the records, where an officer was at a certain hour on a given date. In connection with the system is a two-horse wagon, with a man constantly in charge. The wagon attends all alarms from the patrol boxes and many calls by private telephone. It also attends all fires, in order to give necessary police protection.
The officers are all well-drilled in the use of revolver and club, and are required to spend a portion of their time in practice. The entire force is as well drilled as most military companies in the State. From May 1,1886, to May 1, 1887, there were 1,472 arrests made by the officers. Of the numbers, 1,393 were males and seventy were females, and only nine of the number neither read nor write.
MEMBERS OF THE POLICE FORCE.
Members of the police force, other than Superintendents, since the organization of the Board, up to 1888, with the year of appointment of each:
Ansley Daniel 1879 Bettie Charles H. 1881 Behan Dennis 1883 Bement Harley 1887 Billings Albert F. 1887 Bonnell Leslie 1881 Breese S. A. 1883 Britt William 1885 Brown George F. 1888 Brownell S. R. 1882 Bush Wm. S. 1881 Catlin F. W. 1882 Catlin Mrs. F. W. (Matron) 1885 Chaffee Charles H. 1886 Coggswell D. F. 1884 Cook L. D. 1884 Conlon John 1886 Connelly John 1883 Connolly James 1872 Connolly John 1879 Connor C. O. 1882 Cowell David 1873 Curry Alexander 1887 Cutler W. P. 1883 Davison Edward 1885 De Bruyne Marius 1881 Denison James R. 1887 Doherty Patrick 1883 Duga William 1887 Engle Thomas E. 1887 Ennis Alex 1882 Erb Oliver 1881 Fee F. B. 1883 Fisher Van E. 1886 French Elbert E. 1886 Fritz Nelson 1882 Gardner John M. 1882 Gast Cornelius 1872 Gates Charles H. 1886 Gault C. A. 1883 Gill M. P. 1883 Gould Emmett 1887 Gould Mrs. F. 1887 Gitchell Harry 1885 Graves Wm. H. 1884 Grimson Theo L. 1881 Groff Hubert 1872 Guild William 1887 Healey Bryant 1883 Hemstreet Alfred 1887 Hennessey James 1881 Hinzleman Adolph 1888 Hirnburger John 1882 Howe Cornelius 1880 Howell James 1883 Howell Thomas 1885 Hurley Wm. J. 1881 Hyland Patrick W. 1886 Jakeway Sherm'n G. 1887 Johnson Jacob C. 1885 Johnson John 1879 Johnson John B. 1880 Johnson S. A. 1885 Kearney Patrick 1880 Klyn John C. 1881 Latham Jackson E. 1887 Leatherman C. 1883 Lecompte Joseph 1881 Lucia Jefferson 1886 Lynch Michael 1887 McCarthy John F. 1887 McCarthy Thomas 1887 McCaul Frank 1885 McCulloch Sam'l 1886 McDorman Geo. W. 1885 McHugh James 1883 McKay James 1882 McLean Thomas 1871 Madden John 1882 Madden Timothy 1881 Madigan Timothy 1885 Maher Thomas 1881 Manly J. L. 1883 Millalley D. 1884 Miller George 1881 Mooney James 1885 Moran Charles L. 1885 Murphy Michael 1873 Nash Mort 1885 O'Neil Charles C. 1885 O'Neil Patrick 1881 Partington W. I. 1882 Pelton E. L. 1881 Pimpert Frederick 1885 Platte A. 1883 Post Charles 1882 Price Thomas C. 1882 Purple Thomas 1872 Quigg John 1880 Raynor Aldelbert D. 1885 Robbins Thomas 1883 Robie John F. 1882 Rowland Dwight P. 1885 Rubedew James 1883 Ryan Thomas 1883 Saunders C. H. 1871 Sauter Gotlieb 1880 Schobey John 1881 Scoby John M. 1882 Scoby H. V. 1883 Scott John 1882 Sears C. H. 1883 Seeley Charles A. 1886 Shields Patrick 1887 Slattery Thomas J. 1887 Sliter Emmery J. 1887 Smith Emmett 1886 Smith Joseph U. 1885 Smith L. O. 1883 Traxler George W. 1881 Tubbs George W. 1887 Van Dine N. J. 1887 Viergiver Daniel 1881 Wade Charles 1881 Walsh Wm. P. 1881 Ware Howard R. 1885 Warren Robert 1885 Washburn Wm. E. 1881 Webb Ralph S. 1887 Webber Fred W. 1885 Wells George 1883 Whalen Wm. 1887 Wheeler George W. 1887 Wiersma C. D. 1882 Willey E. F. 1883 Willey F. W. 1883 Williams Delano S. 1887 Worden George 1888
RELIEF AND BENEFIT ASSOCIATION.
In connection with this department, is the Grand Rapids Police Relief and Benefit Association, formed for the purpose of assisting distressed members. The officers as given by the first annual report, May 13, 1887, were: President, Patrick Doherty; Vice-President, Edward L. Pelton; Treasurer, George W. Traxler; Secretary, John B. Johnson. Board of Trustees---Maurice P. Gill, John Quigg, George H. Wells, Thomas Maher, Timothy Madigan. The society has prospered, having in 1888 fifty-nine members, and a fair amount of funds in the treasury. The present officers are: President, Patrick Doherty; Vice-President, Edward L. Pelton; Treasurer, John B. Johnson; Secretary, Wm. J. Hurley.