1906 Goss History of Grand Rapids

Page 945 -947

Chapter XXXIII

GRAND RAPIDS POLICE DEPARTMENT

 

The Police Department of the city was organized in 1871. Prior to that time order was maintained by regular peace officers of the law, paid by fees and aided by the general good will and moral support of the people. The first night watch of Grand Rapids was Henry Baker who was appointed in 1856 and for many years patrolled Canal and Monroe streets between Lyon and Ottawa streets. He was faithful and efficient, and no doubt, the burghers of those days felt as secure in the darkness as they now are under the watchful care of twenty-five regular policemen who patrol the city during the night watch, aided by street lights, electric towers and telephones.

The First Police

In June, 1871, a regular paid police force was organized with one chief and eight patrolmen. The chief of police was James L. Moran. The eight patrolmen were: Wm. Ormond, Jacob Hoek, Thomas McLane, Wm. O’Conner, Charles H. Saunders, Sanford Tucker, Washington L. Stinson and Wm. H. Whalen.

The police force was under the direct management of the Mayor and the Common Council until 1881 when a bill was passed by the Legislature creating for the city of Grand Rapids a Board of Police and Fire Commissioners and placing under their control the police and fire department of the city. The act was drawn and advocated by Nathaniel A. Earle, who was a well known lawyer of those days and who that year was a member of both the State Legislature and the Common Council of Grand Rapids. The act provided that the Board should be composed of five commissioners, that George G. Briggs should be commissioner for one year, Orville L. Howard for two years, Lewis H. Withey for three years, Wm. H. Powers for four years and Israel C. Smith for five years, if confirmed by the Common Council of Grand Rapids: that every year thereafter the mayor should appoint a member of the Board who should hold office for five years subject to confirmation by the Common Council: that vacancies should be filled by the Mayor’s appointment in the same manner. No commissioner can hold any other elective or political office. The Board annually elects its President from its own number and a secretary must be an elector of the city. The Board has full and complete control of the police department of the city and can appoint as many policemen as it deems necessary not exceeding three for every two thousand inhabitants, and can appoint special police in times of emergency.

When the members of the board named in the act creating it came before the Common Council for confirmation Orville L. Howard declined the office and the Mayor named in his place George W. Gay who together with the others named in the act were confirmed. The Board organized on the evening of June 7th 1881, at Police Headquarters. George G. Briggs was elected President and C.W.Calkins was elected Secretary. Mr. Calkins declined the office and Alpha Childs was elected and acted until the following August, when he resigned and Alfred A. Tracy was elected and acted as Secretary until April 27th, 1882, when he in turn resigned and Benjamin F. McReynolds was chosen and since that date has filled the office to the complete satisfaction of the Board and the public, being elected each year since without opposition and without question. The President of the Board almost without exception has been the member whose term of office soonest expired. The following list includes all members of the Board since its organization:

George G. Briggs 1881 to 1883

George W. Gay 1881 to 1883

Lewis H. Withey 1881 to 1889

Wm. H. Powers 1881 to 1890

Israel C. Smith 1881 to 1883

A.D. Rathbun 1883 to 1886

I.M. Weston 1883 to 1887

A.J. Rose 1883 to 1886

John Killean 1886 to 1888

L.E. Hawkins 1886 to 1891

I.S. Dygert 1886 to 1888

John E. More 1887 to 1892

Adolph Leitell 1888 to 1893

Frederick Loettger 1889 to 1894

Ira C. Hatch 1890 to 1894

Charles H. Bender 1891 to 1896

Lewis H. Withey 1892 to 1901

S.G. Ketcham 1893 to 1895

William Judson 1893 to 1898

Lester J. Rindge 1894 to 1899

Wm. B. Weston 1895 to 1900

Stephen A. Sears 1896 to 1901

Charles A. Hauser 1898 to 1903

William H. Boyns 1899 to 1904

Dennis L. Campau 1900 to 1902

Charles A. Phelps 1901 to 1905

Philip Corrigan 1901 to 1902

David E. Uhl 1902 to 1905

Alvah W. Brown 1902 to 1905

Willard F. Keeney appointed 1903

Sidney F. Stevens appointed 1904

Charles H. Bender appointed 1905

John S. Lawrence appointed 1905

 

 

When the department was first organized the head was called the Chief of Police, but afterwards the name changed to Superintendent of Police. The following have filled the position for the time indicated:

 

James L. Moran 1871 – 1878

Isaac Sigler 1878 – 1879

James L. Moran 1879 – 1880

Horace W. Davis part of 1881

Van Epps Young 1881 – 1882

John Perry 1882 – 1886

I. C. Smith 1886 – 1889

Wm. H. Eastman 1889 – 1893

Harvey O. Carr 1893 to present time

The rules and procedures adopted by the board of Police and Fire Commissioners at the first meeting in June, 1881, have continued with little change to the present time. The board has five committees composed of two members each upon finance, property, men and discipline, rules and regulations and house.

In the early history, as might be expected, there was some friction between the new Board and other executive officers of the city, but in time the lines of official duties and executive action became firmly fixed and thoroughly established. The independence of the department became so secure that for more than twenty years there has been little or no change in its methods.

Page 954

The first death in the department was that of Michael Murphy, who died February 10th, 1884. On August 22nd , 1895, George Powers, a detective from the department was shot dead in attempting to arrest some suspected train robbers on a G.R. & I.R.R. train at the Grand Trunk crossing in the city. The murderer escaped but is supposed to have been killed a few days afterwards at McBain in Missaukee County by a Deputy Sheriff of Wexford County while again resisting arrest and attempting to escape.

The department has a Relief and Benefit Association organized in 1886 for assisting disabled members. Its officers are as follows: President, Carl A. Atwood; Vice President, Nicholas J. Van Dine; Secretary, Wm. H. Steed; Treasurer, Simon F. Steckle; Trustees, Theodore A. Spannagel, Millard F. Davis, Burley Bailey, Charles R. Hunt, Wm. Tatroe.

 

Grand Rapids Policemen
From
Goss History of Grand Rapids, Michigan

Office Name Birthplace

Date

Joined

Years

Superintendent Harvey O. Carr Indiana

24-Feb

1893

11

Captain John Johnson England

1-Sep

1879

24

Lieutenant Dennis Millaley Canada

6-Mar

1884

20

First Sergeant Timothy Madigan Michigan

5-Mar

1885

19

Second Sergeant Thos. Howell Michigan

10-Sep

1885

18

Third Sergeant James Whelan Michigan

30-Oct

1891

12

Detective Cornelius Gast Holland

12-May

1872

31

Detective Wm. Youngs Midhigan

1-Feb

1895

9

Detective A.N. McDonald Canada

13-Nov

1890

13

Detective Peter Viergiver Michigan

30-Oct

1891

12

Court Officer Thos. C. Price New York

1-Feb

1883

21

Truant Officer Frank B. Fee New York

26-Feb

1885

19

Wagon Conductor John Schobey New York

16-Dec

1882

22

Wagon Conductor Geo. W. Spring Michigan

13-May

1887

16

Wagon Conductor N.J. Van Dine New York

13-Aug

1885

18

Special Officer James Mooney Ireland

19-Feb

1892

12

Special Officer Warren Sturgis Canada

6-Aug

1881

22

Turnkey Geo. W. Traxler New York

17-May

1882

20

Turnkey Patrick Doherty Ireland

26-Jul

1883

20

Patrolman Geo. H. Wells Penn

28-Sep

1887

16

Patrolman Alfred Hemstreet New York

27-Dec

1888

15

Patrolman M.H. Connor Canada

28-Jun

1890

14

Patrolman Emil Scheneman Germany

10-Oct

1890

13

Patrolman Wm. H. Steed Penn

26-Mar

1891

13

Patrolman S.F.Steckle Michigan

8-Jan

1892

12

Patrolman Wm. Tatroe Michigan

22-Apr

1892

12

Patrolman Chas. R. Hunt New York

4-Nov

1892

11

Patrolman C.A.Attwood Michigan

4-Nov

1892

11

Patrolman L.A. Smith Michigan

22-Dec

1892

11

Patrolman James Reardon Michigan

11-Dec

1892

11

Patrolman B.T. Dean New York

30-Jun

1893

11

Patrolman John J. Byrne Michigan

9-Jun

1894

10

Patrolman Geo. A. Haessig Missouri

26-Oct

1894

9

Patrolman Theo. Spannagel Ohio

26-Oct

1894

9

Patrolman Millard Davis New York

26-Oct

1894

9

Patrolman C.O. Boyd Michigan

26-Oct

1894

9

Patrolman Wm A. Brennan New York

21-Jun

1895

8

Patrolman M. Fitzpatrick Michigan

21-Jun

1895

8

Patrolman Stephen Hale Michigan

21-Jun

1895

8

Patrolman Henry Slater Canada

21-Jun

1895

8

Patrolman Geo. B. Wells Michigan

25-Oct

1895

8

Patrolman John Halloran Michigan

25-Oct

1895

8

Patrolman Chas. Berry New Jersey

25-Oct

1895

8

Patrolman John Minogue Michigan

25-Oct

1895

8

Patrolman A.F. Steward Michigan

25-Oct

1895

8

Patrolman John M. Kelley Michigan

3-Jul

1896

7

Patrolman Jos. Morrissey Michigan

2-Apr

1897

7

Patrolman T. D. Blinston Michigan

2-Apr

1897

7

Patrolman John O'Leary Ohio

2-Apr

1897

7

Patrolman Frank J. Doran Michigan

24-Dec

1897

6

Patrolman John Mackie Scotland

24-Dec

1897

6

Patrolman J.J. Quick Michigan

21-Nov

1898

5

Patrolman Chas. J.B. Larson Michigan

21-Nov

1898

5

Patrolman Jesse Hammond Indiana

21-Nov

1898

5

Patrolman P.W.Porter Penn

21-Nov

1898

5

Patrolman A.J.Pohl Michigan

21-Nov

1898

5

Patrolman Burley Bailey Michigan

18-May

1901

2

Patrolman Samuel Slater Canada

27-Sep

1901

2

Patrolman Michael Lynch Ireland

27-Sep

1901

2

Patrolman Garret Doyle Michigan

27-Sep

1901

2

Patrolman John A. Sandy Michigan

27-Sep

1901

2

Patrolman Wm. J. Pretzel Germany

27-Sep

1901

2

Patrolman Louis L. Launiere Michigan

27-Sep

1901

2

Patrolman Wm F. Bauman Michigan

27-Sep

1901

2

Patrolman Paul Vanderstolp Illinois

26-Sep

1902

11

Patrolman M.M. Barker Iowa

26-Sep

1902

1

Patrolman J.F. Hilton Wisconsin

26-Sep

1902

1

Patrolman John Morrissey Michigan

17-Oct

1902

1

Patrolman Adrian DeYoung Michigan

20-Mar

1903

1

Patrolman Geo. E. Fike Michigan

20-Mar

1903

1

Patrolman Jos. Rumstrom Sweden

10-Apr

1903

1

Patrolman Geo. C. Nelson Michigan

9-Oct

1903

Patrolman Wm. M. Drew Illinois

9-Oct

1903

Patrolman Chas. Whitman Michigan

9-Oct

1903

Patrolman Benj. Havens Michigan

9-Oct

1903

Patrolman R.G. Howe Michigan

9-Oct

1903

Patrolman Adelbert Ryon Michigan

9-Oct

1903

Patrolman W.J. Lennon Michigan

9-Oct

1903

Patrolman B.J.Patterson Michigan

9-Oct

1903

Patrolman T.E.McInerney Ireland

9-Oct

1903

Patrolman J.J.Lemke Germany

9-Oct

1903

Patrolman J.Wm. Dunn Iowa

9-Oct

1903

Patrolman W.P.Leech Ireland

9-Oct

1903

Patrolman B.F.Reynolds Michigan

27-Mar

1904

Patrolman John G. Johnson Ireland

27-Mar

1904

Patrolman Cornelius Manni Michigan

29-Mar

1904

Patrolman F.D. Laraway Michigan

29-Mar

1904

Patrolman W.C. Davidson Michigan

30-Mar

1904

Patrolman Geo. H. Budde Michigan

2-Apr

1904

Patrolman Daniel Nugent Michigan

5-Sep

1885

18

Patrolman Chas. Kinska Michigan

6-Feb

1899

5

Office Clerk Fred W. Webber Michigan

14-Feb

1900

4

Office Clerk Milo G. Gilman Michigan

16-Sep

1886

18

Poundmaster Patrick Malone Michigan

26-Sep

1880

23

Driver No 1 John Conlon Canada

30-Sep

1898

5

Driver No 1 Thos. Maher Ireland

30-Sep

1898

5

Driver No.2 Stephen Bird Michigan

23-Jul

1895

8

Driver No. 2 Fred Hatch Michigan

1-Apr

1901

3

Signal Operator Roy Lawyer Michigan

27-Mar

1904

Signal Operator Ray Conlon Michigan

9-Jun

1903

Signal Operator Ernest Schill Michigan

12-Jun

1891

12

Janitor Peter Esch Michigan

1-Apr

1901

3

Asst Janitor Michael McCormick Michigan

23-Apr

1897

7

Matron Charlotte Colier England

Transcriber: Maureen Slade
Created: 29 July 2004
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/goss/police.html