South Bend Police Department History
History of the South Bend Police Department: 1831-1976
By Rev. F. Thomas Lallak
Published February 25, 1976
1831-1893: The Beginnings of the South Bend Police Department
A history of a police department must parallel that history of the city where it preserves the public order, protects property and safekeeps the good manner of the people. If it is going to be a good department, it must grow and progress as the city grows and progresses.
From a few men at the birth of our city, the police department has grown and progressed into a noteworthy department which the people of South Bend should be proud of.
The history books and record books are very sparse with regards to the police department, and so much of this history will be gleaned from clippings from The South Bend Tribune and the defunct South Bend News-Times which are on file at the St. Joseph County Public Library.
When the city of South Bend was platted by Alexis Coquillard and Col. Lathrop Taylor on Mach 28, 1831, there were about 128 people living in the area. With this many people, there was a need for a protective agency and so in that same year this agency was formed with Benjamin Potter and Thomas Skiles as the first constables, as they were known. Later, Charles Chandonia and David Custer took over these positions.
The town government faltered in those first few years and so in 1844 there was a reorganization along with the protective agency. The “Constables” became known as “Marshals” and John Hooper was appointed the first town marshal by the new town board and he was succeeded by Evan C. Johnson in a few days.
The town held its first election on March 3, 1845 and, since marshals were bona-fide town officials along with the president, trustees, etc., William Snavely was elected as marshal.
As the town grew, the need for city government increased and so in 1865 it was incorporated as the City of South Bend with a city government. The office of marshal remained with Daniel Roof as the first marshal of the municipality of South Bend. The marshal had one assistant that first year, but by 1886 the department had grown to 13 men with the office of marshal remaining an elected office until 1893. For a number of years the number of men on the department fluctuated around 10 men.
In any history there is going to be triumph and tragedy, and both must be covered. Thus tragedy struck the small department in 1886 when Officer Oscar Christensen was killed by a railroad detective on May 11, while investigating vandalism in the railroad yards. There had been reports of many hobos in the yards and it was thought one of them had something to do with the killing until a few months later when the railroad detective admitted to his mistake.
1893-1910: From a Metropolitan Police to City Police
In 1893 the Indiana General Assembly passed a statute for all cities to organize a police force to be headed by a Superintendent of Police, and thus South Bend came under the operation of the Metropolitan Law. The office of marshal was abolished and a metropolitan police force was organized. On March 25, 1893, the Board of Police Commissioners appointed City Marshal Benjamin H. Rose as the first superintendent of the police force. Even though the force was down to about 10 men, the quality was improving. Since all the police work was done on foot, the use of a horse drawn patrol wagon driven by Philip J. Rostiser was considered a big advancement. As the city grew so did the department, but little could be done by the city police in the county, thus many of the townships had their own detective agencies. One newspaper clipping showed that, even in those days, there were stolen vehicles, i.e. horse and buggies, and the German and Warren Township Detective Associations spent the better part of a day in the saddle looking for the thieves of stolen buggies and wagons.
In those days when a prisoner could not pay a fine, he had to work it off by breaking rocks into smaller stones which were used on the driveways of South Bend City Cemetery. Hobos were put to work in the cemetery because the city would not tolerate them within the city limits. Thus on January 17, 1894, the first stone was broken in the new stoneyard behind the police station.
The department continued to improve itself and to keep up with other departments. It organized a plain clothes division whose duties would be to investigate crimes already committed. Around 1895, James Cutting, along with Guy Bunker, had the longest service record of 38 years on the department. Joseph Chappell became the first plain clothes detective on the department.
The concern over the increase in crime is an age-old problem that has plagued the people of South Bend. This concern was very great in 1898 because, in a 9 day period, 14 crimes were committed. The South Bend Tribune issued this editorial:
It will prove of interest to the city police department and surely to the people who are living in a reign of terror in which the thug element stands king…This is not a record of which the South Bend Police Department protector of the life and property of the city can glance with pride not can 32,000 citizens of South Bend read it with feelings of confidence for their own safety or of their property…these are facts which citizens will ponder over deeply and at the same time they will wonder how long the thug, the tramps, the petty thieves and other criminals are to be allowed to run things….when conditions come to pass that the hard working laborer cannot go from the shop to his home with his yellow envelope on pay night without the risk of having his two weeks earnings taken from his pockets by masked men with ugly looking revolvers…with such conditions woman is not safe on the streets of South Bend after dark unless she is accompanied by an escort and possibly not then…
Over the next couple years the department grew to 26 patrolmen and two sergeants. The efficiency of the department improved with the installation of 26 public alarm boxes connected with the department along with 7 private alarms located in the various public buildings and in a few private residences. Along with the previous mentioned officers, there was also a humane officer and sanitary officer who were concerned with animals and the health of citizens. The men worked 12 hours a day and had one day off every 14 days.
In the early years of the department, the superintendent or chief issued an annual report declaring the assets of the department and the accomplishments, such as service calls, arrests, etc…, for the previous year. The following is a summary of the third annual report for the year May 1, 1899 to May 1, 1900.
The man power of the metropolitan force of 22 with stars and 20 with clubs was worth twice the value of the contents of the central station. The superintendent, Joseph Turnock, listed assets as tables, coal hods, pencils, etc. The report listed arrests as 889 in chronological order, the criminal, age, charge and disposition. It also listed ambulance calls, giving the name of the injured or dead, even how it happened and what was done after the call. The arrests were for such things as riding a bicycle without a lamp one hour after sunset.
In the year 1900 the Board of Police Commissioners was abolished and the Board of Public Safety was established with jurisdiction over the police department, which remains to this day. During 1900 the head of the department was no longer called the superintendent, but the chief of police.
On October 25, 1900, tragedy struck the department again when Officer Samuel A. Cooper was shot by a local burglar by the name of Louis Jaquith whom he encountered in the 300 block of South Michigan Street. On November 2, Officer Cooper succumbed to his bullet wound, peritonitis being the cause of death.
The department officially became the South Bend Police Department instead of being known as the “metropolitan police” in 1903. Because the department and the city were growing, the chief in his annual report expressed the need for a sub-station on the outer limits of the city because over 3,000 miles were covered by the police department. The department was also improving in efficiency, as noted in the report. Besides the patrolmen and the horse drawn patrol wagon, which was used for fast and slow runs as an ambulance, there were also mounted patrol and bicycle squads. A summary of that report states:
Chief James McWeeny broke down the assignments of the 41 men on the department as: chief, 1 inspector, 5 sergeants, 1 matron, 5 detectives, 1 humane officer, 2 sanitary officers, 2 drivers, 2 wagonmen, and 21 patrolmen.
The city was divided into 14 nights posts and 6 day posts. He listed the monetary evaluation of the department equipment to be $5,424.00 and he listed the bills to be $4,357.50 and the total salaries as $35,340.16.
The police vehicles, i.e. fast and slow wagons, ambulance, made 1383 runs for total of 3,045 miles. There were about 1,748 arrests made.
In 1908, a third policeman was killed in the line of duty on February 25th while making his routine rounds. Officer Lewis Keller, while checking buildings on his beat, came upon a burglary in progress and surprised the four burglars, one of which shot him point blank near the heart.
1910-1926: Upgrading the Department
The invention of the automobile did much to improve the efficiency of police departments and South Bend was not to be left behind as the city kept up with the latest advancements in crime fighting and law enforcement.
On April 20, 1910, it was announced that the city would soon have an auto patrol for the outlying districts while the beat men would continue to patrol their regular districts, especially the downtown area, on foot and horse. The ambulance that had been used for a number of years was replaced by a motor driven vehicle.
One of the big problems facing most police departments was communication, i.e. how do you reach a patrolman with a message or assignment when he is far away from the station? When the city was small or a patrolman was downtown, it was quite easy for him to come to the station often or someone was sent from the station to find the patrolman and give him the message in a matter of minutes. As the city increased so did the problem and so a system of call boxes were installed with a red light on top of the pole which would light up when the patrolman was needed. The pull boxes also served another purpose, that of letting headquarters know that the policeman was alright, by having him pull the lever at designated times, i.e. every half-hour. When the automobile was introduced, it was able to cover more territory and so the patrolmen inside the vehicle were required to pull over every 20 minutes and pull the lever on the call box, and if they didn’t another car was sent from headquarters to investigate. Chief Guy Bunker, known as one of the strictest disciplinarians in the history of the department, was responsible for this new system.
He was also responsible for a new policy of fewer arrests, which cost the city less, with a concerted effort to correct the evils without making arrests whenever possible. Many time vagrants were given lodging at the police station for one night and at other times if a patrolman would find a needy person on his beat he would provide food, fuel, or whatever was needed and this would be charged to the city.
Because of this new policy and because the department has always been noted for its new and innovative programs, the South Bend Police Department became the first in Indiana to appoint a woman to its roster. On April 14, 1914, Mrs. Minnie Evans became the first policewoman, and after her appointment she went to Chicago for training since that department had just initiated such a program. She spent 23 years on the department and was considered an asset to the department. Her duties included such things as inspection of dance halls, parks, street cars, railroad stations, and other places where women, girls, and juveniles gathered, as well as investigation of all cases of delinquency and runaways.
Because of the valuable service rendered by Mrs. Evans, the department has felt the need for, at least, one policewoman. Mrs. Evans was succeeded by Miss Ann Hoene (Mrs. Malcom Horner) and then Miss Elnora Hartman (Mrs. John Stickley) who retired in 1960. For a period of 8 years no one was appointed until 1968 when Mrs. Carolyn Miller was appointed, and since her appointment 5 other women have been added to the department.
On May 22, 1916, tragedy struck the South Bend Police Department again with the killing of Officer Hans Brandt, a rookie policeman, who had only been on the force for one month. He, along with his veteran partner, were set upon by two drunks while they were patrolling their beat. Officer Brandt was shot and his partner, Officer Ferger was cut up, but they were able to subdue the men and hold them for arriving help. Officer Brandt died a month later.
It is also worth noting that the work of the department had increased and the use of the automobile in patrol work played a very prominent part. There were more than 1200 calls for the patrol wagon, the auxiliary unit which was almost entirely used in special work, and the ambulance used primarily for transportation of accident victims. These units covered about 7,500 miles in one year.
Since it has already been noted that South Bend had been a leader in law enforcement in the area, it would only be natural that when the idea of a city court probation officer was proposed, Judge Louis M. Hammerschmidt would appoint Larry Lane, who later became chief of police. Officer Lane was the first probation officer in northern Indiana.
The complaints about the misadministration of the department reach great proportions in 1918, with The South Bend News-Time leading the assault. It was felt by most people that the department was demoralized by the elimination of the Bertillon system, which was a system of recognizing criminals all over the nation through Bertillon measurements, photographs, and fingerprints which were part of the National Identification Bureau. Other reasons for the cry against the Carson Administration were the attempts to discredit Probation Officer Larry Lane, and the fact that the administration could do something about the crooked element in the city but chose not to do anything. It was felt that the administration and Chief Peter Kline left much to be desired. Another blemish for the department was the suspension of an officer who spoke disrespectfully of a fellow officer.
January 10, 1921, was another fateful day when Officer Fred E. Buhland, another rookie of a month, was killed by a suspect whom he and his partner didn’t search. They were patrolling their beat when they came upon two drunks who had just shot each other. They arrested the two men and when the sergeant arrived he noticed that they had not removed the guns from the prisoners. He took the guns from them and in doing so, one of the suspects broke free and grabbed another small gun from his back pocket and shot Officer Buhland and then fled the scene. To this day the crime is unsolved and the shooter was never found.
One of the most important periods in the department was the years from 1922 to 1926 when Larry Lane was chief of police. When he became chief there was a need for new automobiles or at least the old ones needed repaired. He showed the need and stated that the city should buy a new touring car for the night sergeant, a new chassis for the dismantled Garford patrol, a special six or light six Studebaker for his use, one or more low priced automobiles for “minute” or detail service and two additional motorcycles. He also said that the patrol car, a Cadillac touring car and department motorcycles were in immediate need of repairs. From his report it should be noted that motorcycles were being used to improve the efficiency of the department and the men riding them were known as “minute-men” because they stayed at the station until sent out with messages for the patrolmen which could be relayed within a matter of minutes.
Within the first year he received authorization from the Board of Safety to establish a police school for all members of the department, which was sorely needed. The only training new officers received was on-the-job training from older officers who were their partners on the street. This school was the forerunner of the modern police academy and in this school the mayor, members of the board, and an attorney delivered lectures covering court procedures and citizens, and the captains instructed them in police duty, taking testimony, etc…
Through the efforts of Chief Lane, the South Bend Police Department became one of the finest departments in the nation as evidenced by the following quote:
South Bend is one of the best policed cities in the middle-west today. This is true for the reason that there is a higher type of man at the head of the organization than is usually true in most cities. In support of these are about 89 picked men-men who are adapted to the many lines of police endeavor, who are well paid and whose integrity, in the main is much less questionable than is commonly believed…Seldom does a major crime or an important accident take place but what there is a policeman on the scene in a very few minutes after it happens…Accidents do not take place where policemen are on duty in South Bend…It speaks well for the efficiency of the South Bend Police Department under the present administration, that there are only six unsolved major crimes which have been brought to their attention since the first of the year, while there have been hundreds which have successfully coped with and brought offenders to time for…
During his administration two-thirds of the patrolmen worked the night shift. There were 10 plainclothes detectives, 7 motorcycles, of which 4 worked days and 3 nights. The department had 4 motor-equipped vehicles and the inside personnel of 7 included the captains, desk sergeants, turnkeys, etc… The ambulance, which was in readiness at the station at all times, made more than 100 calls a week.
The perennial problem of prostitution, gambling, drugs and bootlegging were really no problem to the city when Larry Lane was chief because he wouldn’t allow them to flourish. In an article, which he wrote for The South Bend Tribune, he stated that it wouldn’t exist while he was chief and that it shouldn’t exist in any city, and if it did, it was because the executives, i.e. administration and chief, allow it. He sought to rid the city of all crime by asking citizens to help him suppress it.
The South Bend Mirror ran the following lead paragraph showing some of the plaudits heaped on the department during this period:
In 1923, the police department solved every crime of major importance, decreased theft, robbery and burglary, and diminished automobile theft materially…The traffic regulations enforced by courteous traffic officers make the streets of South Bend safe…The Police Department consists of one hundred men, including a mounted police department and a motorcycle police department…
The first mounted unit was created by Chief Lane and trained at the Calvary School at Culver Military Academy in 1924 and the horses were housed at the South Bend Fire Department’s Hose House #3, 219 North Hill Street.
On Christmas Day in 1923 misfortune again struck the department when Officer Neil McIntyre was killed in a traffic accident involving his motorcycle. On that day, Officer McIntyre and his partner Officer Herman Schricker were on the way to a burglary in progress in the River Park area when he was hit by a train at the Grand Trunk crossing at Western and Michigan Streets. He became the first officer to be killed on a motorcycle.
The next year, even though crime increased throughout the country, there was no noticeable increase in South Bend which is quite evident in the final report of the chief as he commented that over the four years that he was head of the department, the city had escaped the crime wave:
In the light of more than 20% increase in population in the city and with an increase of but 10% in the personnel of the police department the following facts show:
1st, grand larcenies have been reduced 20%
2nd, homicides have been reduced 26%
3rd, burglaries have been reduced 31%
4th, robberies have been reduced over 40%
90% of the cases have been solved by arrests and convictions…minor crimes have been decreased 25% during the past four years…There is no acute traffic problem here…the departmental rules have been rigidly enforced during this and the preceding three years.
Members of the department were given to understand that their commanding officers were with them when right and against them when wrong. The Board of Safety has consistently enforced the rules against dishonestly, intoxication and other conduct unbecoming a police officer. It was deemed necessary to discipline or dismiss 71 officers during the past four years…we take pride, therefore, in the fact that the morale of the men in our department has been kept on a high plane; that there has been very little corruption…
This report is quite a tribute to a chief who did more to upgrade the department than can be cited in this brief history.
1926-1939: Decline of the Department
In 1926 Chester Montgomery was elected South Bend’s Mayor and he appointed James Hatt as Chief of Police, whose major concern seemed to be the need for automobiles eliminating the need for mounted patrols. As the use of the automobile increased, the city appropriated $11,000 to buy 10 roadsters of which 9 would be Fords and 1 Chevrolet, making up the “Flivver Squad.” These vehicles were put into use on June 1 to compliment the 2 ambulances and 4 motorcycles that were already in use. The motorcycle men, known as “Minute Men” were equipped to provide rapid service in responding to trouble calls, still continued to be sent from headquarters. It is interesting to note that things we take for granted now were put in the specifications for the new cars:
…cars must be equipped with a starter, accelerator, speedometer, dash light, foot gong, spot light in the windshield, red cowl lights, odometer on right front wheel, two windshield wipers and the word ‘police’ and the police emblem painted in white on the body of the machines.
When the automobiles were put into use, two men were assigned to each car and the area they covered was enlarged. Since communication continued to be the pull boxes, the men were to cover their territory and still make regular pulls at one of the 54 boxes, located throughout the city, on their patrols.
It was also during this time that something new was added to the arsenal carried by each police officer…the carrying of tear gas cartridges which could be fired from the ordinary service revolver.
In 1927 the department sponsored a police field day at Playland Park, with events for citizens, i.e. pie eating contests, etc…, and events between the police and fire departments, some from different cities. It was the 1st annual field day that the newly-formed Police Band, under the direction of Assistant Chief John Kuespert, performed. The band, which played for many events, was disbanded by Chief Lenon in 1930, but was reorganized two years later by Chief Kuespert in conjunction with the fire department and Fire Chief Robert Knoblock.
If one could say that the previous four years were not too eventful, the following four years will prove to be the most interesting years because of the scandals and crises created by the Hinkle Administration.
When William R. Hinkle became Mayor in 1930 he appointed Samuel J. Lenon as the new chief of police. One of the first things Lenon thought that the department needed was a new ambulance and he also asked for an additional 20 men, but this was impossible because of the financial straits of the city.
The need for foot patrols was emphasized with the following reasoning of the chief:
Motor squad is excellent but criminals can hear them coming and thus hide.
Now compare this to the reasoning for more automobiles in 1926:
The menace of the possibility of a police patrol suddenly swooping down on a criminal while at work could be a constant threat.
To back up the need for more men, The South Bend Tribune ran some figures showing that in 1900 there were 26 men for a population of 35,900 and the strength of the department rose in 1910 and it increased up to 104 in 1922 with a population of 90,000, but in 1930, even though the city population increased to 104,000, the strength of the department decreased to 102 men.
On April 1, 1930, the headlines of The South Bend Tribune proclaimed that the department appointed Lafayette Riddle, a black man, to the force, this being the first black man since James Bowen was on the department during the Fogarty Administration. It was announced that he would be assigned to the “colored district.”
It was in November of that same year that the use of the Daily Bulletin was begun. This bulletin was read at the daily roll call, listing all the crimes committed in the city the previous day, thus making the men familiar with these crimes.
Since crime was making such a headway in the nation, i.e. the Dillinger gang, etc…, South Bend was not exempt. Add this to the pressure from the Mayor and others in the city and the fact that he was suffering from ill health, Chief Lenon saw no other way out than by committing suicide on May 4, 1930, in his home with his service revolver. During the interim, Horace Hamilton was appointed chief. Kuespert, a Westside Democrat, was appointed over the wishes of the Eastside Democrats, who wanted Michael Janley, a former sheriff, to be appointed.
Kuespert’s immediate concern was communication or rather the lack of or poor communication system. As has already been mentioned, the only way a message or call could be serviced was to send a “Minute Man” from the station to the officer on his patrol. He brought up the feasibility of a police radio with instant communication with any one or all of the crime fighting units just as other cities were using. Each car would have a radio and this would greatly improve the communications with other cities. His plan was that South Bend would be the center of a territory including Mishawaka, Elkhart, Goshen, LaPorte, and Michigan City, with a hook-up with all of these cities. This would aid all law enforcement authorities. It was proposed that each city would have 50 watt stations and South Bend would have 300 watts and thus South Bend would be able to work with the Michigan State Police post at Lansing, Michigan, thus giving the city and area better coverage.
For two years the local radio stations, WSBT & WFAM had been helping the department by broadcasting stolen car and missing person reports and had been instrumental in finding these cars and people. When there was a necessity the stations would even cut into regular broadcasts to give special information and this proved to be very advantageous. It was shown, by this example and the use of such a system in other cities that a police radio system was very necessary. It was pointed out that Ft. Wayne and Indianapolis already had such a system and in Ft. Wayne, it was a 50/50 proposition with the fire department.
Finally in January 1933, the Board of Safety gave its approval for the system, but there was one catch. The city had no money and therefore the system couldn’t be purchased at that time, in fact, they didn’t know when they could purchase it. The Associated South Bend Merchants took the project into their own hands and sponsored two dances at the Palais Royale with the proceeds of $3,400 used to purchase the system of a short wave length broadcasting unit and a number of receiving sets for the patrol cars.
The South Bend Tribune helped plug the money making events by showing the merits of such a radio system as show in the following article:
The police radio system is the answer offered by the police to the growing crime problem and the increasing menace from criminals of the desperate type such as those who recently escaped from the state prison at Michigan City. With the police radio system, headquarters will be better able to keep in touch with the police in the patrol cars and direct their activities in covering the city.
The radio system was one-way but a new two-way system was being demonstrated to the department in which it was said that the transmitter was no larger than a steamer trunk and the receiver and transmitter for the car was no bigger than a portable typewriter.
Finally on January 2, 1934, after such long wait, the new radio system went on the air with the call letters being WPGN. The city was notified by the following article in The South Bend News-Times:
The South Bend-Mishawaka short wave radio went on the air in regular service at 8:00 a.m., Tuesday inaugurating the newest and most efficient crime fighting weapon.
The South Bend cars were identified by numbers and Mishawaka by letters. Carl Shaffer, the first dispatcher, described the system prior to 1944:
Since the equipment was one-way, we repeated each message three times, to make sure the car got it. But our contact was uncertain, because of dead spots and weather conditions. We just crossed our fingers and waited. It was just like talking to yourself.
It had been a number of years since tragedy hit the department, but on February 27, 1932, it hit again when Officer Lloyd Thompson was killed when he collided, on his motorcycle, with a truck while in pursuit of a speeding motorist. Officer Thompson did not know that the motorist was rushing his son to the hospital when he observed the speeding automobile and started in pursuit. While in pursuit a truck pulled out in his path and he was unable to avoid the crash and died early the next morning in the hospital from a skull fracture.
The next year tragedy hit twice on the same day when Officers Delbert Thompson and Charles Farkas were killed and Daniel Martin was wounded by a gunman on May 27, 1933. Patrolman Thompson came upon a stolen auto and, having stopped it, went to search it when one of the occupants, Donald Murdock, alias Donald McGlon, Jimmy Downs, who was wanted in connection with bank robberies in Cincinnati, Ohio; Syracuse, Indiana; Hicksville, Ohio and two in South Bend, shot and killed him. Having escaped he was seen a little while later by Officers Martin and Farkas, who stopped their car and as they got out to investigate, were gunned down. Even though Officer Martin was wounded, he was able to get his shotgun and kill Murdock.
This tragedy opened the door for a big battle between the mayor and the chief of police. The chief had allegedly called the mayor and his advisor, Frank J. Murray, and threatened their lives if they ever came into the police station. This threat stems from the fact that the mayor had proposed to reduce the salaries of the policemen and firemen to $82.00 a month, in an effort to balance the city’s budget. The chief was suspended by the mayor, and Assistant Chief Horace Hamilton was appointed acting chief on May 28, 1933, who in turn conducted the investigation of the events of that evening. Finally on July 10, 1933, Chief Kuespert was reinstated by the Board of Safety over the wishes of the mayor. Dr. B.J. Bolka, the county coroner and personal physician of the chief, announced that Kuespert had suffered a nervous breakdown, having lost his mental balance, for a few moments because of the great shock of the two officers being killed. Even though there had been no formal charges against the chief, the suspension was without pay. The mayor did all in his power to have him removed from office, even after he had been reinstated, insisting that the reinstatement was against his wishes and demanding the case be reopened. He even refused to accept a letter of apology and explanation from the chief.
On November 27, the department underwent a complete revamping with the 100 men on the force divided into three 8 hour shifts with each shift independent of the other two, even to the extent of having its own relief men. The motorcycle squad of 11 men was reduced to 6 (even though these 11 officers had covered about 150,000 miles the previous year), who were assigned to special duties each day. The day shift, which worked from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., had 7 patrolmen assigned to traffic duty in the downtown area, 4 were assigned to beat patrol duty and radio cars which cruised the city. There was one desk officer; and one cruiser car, which was without radio, was used by the detectives in the downtown areas. The afternoon shift which worked from 4 p.m. to midnight included 5 foot-patrolmen, 7 radio cars and 2 detectives who cruised the city, and one desk officer. The morning shift, which worked from midnight to 8 a.m. had 7 foot-patrolmen and 6 radio cars and one desk officer.
There was a total of 17 radio sets for South Bend and Mishawaka had 5. It is interesting to note that the patrol, ambulance and riot car covered more than 10,000 miles the previous year operating from the station. The four patrol squads averaged over 65 miles each night.
Chief Kuespert bypassed the mayor on January 31, 1934, by requesting and receiving permission from the Board of Safety to take a leave of absence to run for sheriff. By making this move he prevented the mayor from appointing a new chief. The decision was in the hands of the board and they named Assistant Chief Hamilton acting chief again.
The mayor did go over the heads of the Board of Safety and appointed Michael Hanley as the new chief, thus giving the city two police chiefs and causing a new controversy which ended in a legal battle because the controller refused to pay the police for the last half of May. Both the chief and the mayor submitted separate payrolls and it took Circuit Judge Chapman in Plymouth to settle the dispute and name Hamilton as the rightful chief. The mayor wasn’t satisfied and on his authority Hamilton and his assistant, Leo Berner, were not paid, but later on this was settled.
On June 30, 1934, Officer Howard Wagner, who was doing traffic duty in the downtown area in front of the Merchants National Bank, noticed a group of people in front of the bank and went over to investigate just as members of the famed Dillinger Gang walked out, just having robbed the bank. The members of the gang shot Officer Wagner and killed him before he knew what happened. So, another officer was killed in the line of duty, adding another chapter to the tragedies of the department.
The problems of the mayor did not stop with the chief, as he was also having problems with the Board of Safety. He tried to replace the president of the board, Clarence A. Budd, because he didn’t agree with him, but the court ruled that the mayor had no right to do this. Later on, Budd did resign and he was replaced by Walter J. McSorley, who was on the side of the mayor, thus giving him a vote, since the other two members, Valentine J. Gadacz and William H. Trost, Jr., were on the other side.
The condition of the department was very deplorable at this time and much criticism was leveled at South Bend’s mayor, especially after the killing of Officer Wagner. The board put the blame on the mayor because of his “so-called economy measures,” i.e., the closure of the police school of instruction because of the lack of funds, no new appointments to the department, the lack of funds to establish a radio system, and many other complaints.
Even though there was considerable criticism, the following article in The South Bend Tribune noted one improvement:
The South Bend Police Department is looked upon by outside authorities as being one of the best equipped police departments any city of equal size in Indiana and the middle-west. The advent of the police radio station, WPGN, the first of this year necessitated a complete revision of the department, especially as to hours.
The radio station consists of a 100-watt transmitter with three receivers in operation in the police station in the city hall and 17 receivers mounted in police automobiles. The transmitter is situated in the police and fire alarm station, 212 E. Wayne Street. Much of the patrol work is done by automobiles and motorcycles. Seven motorcycles are in the equipment but only three are being used at present. Six Studebaker closed cars, 4 Rockne closed cars, 4 Ford closed cars, one patrol wagon and one ambulance, all equipped with radios are in service. A radio receiver is mounted in the car of the fire chief.
In addition to the radio system, the Gamewell system of police telegraph communication from patrol boxes is still in service as a secondary means of keeping in contact with the field force. Finger print equipment add to the service efficiency.
One of the blackest days in the Hinkle Administration and in the history of the department was November 14, 1934, when the “City Hall Slot Machine Scandal” hit the police department. On that day, Chief Hamilton was demoted by the Board of Safety and replaced by Charles Bailey, the superintendent of streets, who six hours later resigned. It was during this six hour period that Bailey offered Valentine Gadacz $500.00 to resign from the Board of Safety and at the same time scores of slot machines were delivered to ‘resorts’ throughout the city with the word put out by “someone” that slot machines were now legal. When Hamilton was reinstated six hours later many arrests took place as he continued to enforce the gambling laws. It was learned that Golden Mann, a poolroom operator, had put up the money and it was also rumored that Mayor Hinkle had something to do with the incidents of that day, but this was never proven. Mann, McSorley, and Bailey were indicted by the Grand Jury on charges of bribery, but that was about as far as it went, as charges were dropped later when the Hinkle Administration went out of power at the end of the following month.
The new administration took over on January 1, 1935, and Laurence Lane was again appointed chief of police with the almost impossible job of trying to bring the department up to the standard that he had left it in 1926. He named Horace Hamilton as his assistant chief, but in November Hamilton was demoted to Captain because of his disagreement with the Chief Lane over procedures.
The efficiency of the radio system was increase in June 1935, when the Indiana State Police transmitter in Culver, Indiana, started to monitor the South Bend Police radio station, thus making it possible to be in contact with Culver and other stations that the Indiana State Police were able to contact. Culver had a 1,000 watt transmitter which enabled them to be in contact with their own transmitter located at the fairgrounds in Indianapolis, which also had contact with other state police posts. The Culver radio also had contact with the Michigan State Police at East Lansing, Michigan, and the Ohio State Patrol network at Findlay, Ohio.
About 10 months later, a better system was unveiled which employed the International Morse Code instead of voice over the radio telephone. This type of communication is better able to be understood at greater distances, thus making communication between cities better.
It was in 1935 that Chief Lane gave his approval to form a Police Pistol Team which gave the men an incentive to become proficient with their firearms. Through this addition to the department many of the men took more interest in their guns, many took better care of them, and the new officers and those who were not proficient with them, were given instruction. It was felt that a couple of the tragedies met by South Bend police officers could have been eliminated if the men had had better instruction on the care and the use of their firearms. One of the officers killed never removed his gun from its holster and another one would not have been able to, because the gun and holster were in bad condition from being out in all types of inclement weather.
Even after the new administration took over, the Hinkle Administration still made headlines. On July 10, 1936, the final chapter was written when Judge J. Elmer Peak granted $62,338.38 in back pay to the police, fire, and electrical (signal) departments, with a base pay of $150.00 a month. The background to this decision was the fact that a blanket salary increase that had been voted on three years before, by the Board of Safety, was not honored by Mayor Hinkle. The mayor felt that they had no right to grant this increase without his approval and so, after many months of battle, the city was ordered to repay it in two equal payments on June 1 and December 1. It is interesting to note that the attorney for the winners was Paul M. Butler, who later would become Democratic National Chairman.
As more people used automobiles, it was decided that the department should have a special unit that would be dedicated to automobile accidents and traffic safety. On November 9, 1937, a white car trimmed in red, equipped with a loud speaker, police radio, first-aid kit, and camera, and known as the “Police Accident Car,” was put into operation. The duty of the officer assigned to this car was to cruise the business district trying to eliminate jay-walkers, double parking and also to respond to accident calls in all parts of the city.
Once again, under Chief Lane, the city established the best crime record in the entire nation for 2nd class cities-cities with a population over 25,000. In 1937, the department consisted of 1 chief, 1 assistant chief, 4 captains, 8 sergeants, 1 policewoman, 1 matron, and 86 patrolmen.
Chief Lane continued to try to upgrade the department in all fields by sending Sergeant Harold Whitmer to the F.B.I. National Academy for advanced training. The F.B.I. Academy is considered one of the best schools in the nation for advanced law enforcement training and only a few officers from police departments in the nation ever have an opportunity to attend. Harold Whitmer, the first to attend from South Bend, began a four-week course of instruction for 15 officers upon his return from the academy.
Because of heavy and continued criticism of the efficiency of the department, the International Association of Chiefs of Police were invited to do a survey of the department and make recommendations. The following is a summary of that report.
There are 99 men and 6 women on the department, Chief, assistant chief, three patrol captains, detective captain, traffic sergeant, detective sergeant, 3 desk sergeants, 7 wagon men, 5 motorcycle riders, aid to the chief, traffic engineer, health officer, 1 policewoman, 1 matron & 4 clerks.
There is no one person in charge of the patrol division, since it is divided among 3 captains…the traffic bureau is actually only one officer…the motorcycle men are accident investigators…foot traffic patrolmen come under the command of the patrol captains…the assistant chief is head of the detective division with a captain in charge of identification, some records, and police training…there is no centralized record system…the police radio dispatchers are assigned to the electrical department.
1939-1952: Improvement of the Department
When Jesse I. Pavey was campaigning for the office of mayor, he promised to reorganize the police department which he did by hiring a man from outside the department. He contacted Orlando Wilson, chief of Wichita, Kansas, who was noted for the type of men he produced and who would later become famous for reorganizing the Chicago Police Department. Wilson recommended Lt. William K. Ingram, a member of his department and Dean of the Police Science Course taught at the University of Wichita, who was the department range officer, instructor, lecturer and who was also working on his Bachelor of Arts degree. He was known as the “college boy cop” and his appointment was to reduce the department’s waste considerably, substitute typewriters for pencil stubs, make the measure of literacy respectable, in fact even required, and shot the department to the top of the lists for cities the size of South Bend. His reorganization was to cause numerous overage retirements, breakup of “play houses’ and caused bitterness among some of those who survived the restructuring.
Chief Lane remained in charge of the department until the middle of January 1939 when Chief Ingram arrived. From then on, things started to happen as many changes took place. The Board of Safety abolished the position of assistant chief and appointed three captains to be in command of the three divisions, i.e. patrol, detective, and traffic. The new chief established new divisions of vice, public relations, and records, which was separated from the detective division of which it had been a part of. He also revamped the detective division by changing the hours of the shifts and assigning certain men to certain types of cases.
He then introduced a new reporting procedure by which all complaints or requests for service, were made either in person or by telephone to the desk sergeant, who was also responsible for maintaining a continuous summary bulleting of every activity. Each activity was given a serial number which corresponded to the case card with the same number, which was then kept in the record division. Every patrolman who investigated a complaint on his beat was to make a report and this would be followed up by a detective who specialized in this type of case. Also, anyone who had contact with the case, would make additions to the original case.
Because of his rigid law enforcement and discipline in the department, there was considerable unrest among the police force, especially the disgruntled men who now had to do more work than they thought necessary. Some of these men started vicious rumors in an attempt to have the new chief removed. When Chief Ingram proposed to move the police radio from the alarm station to the police station, the criticism started to get louder with citizens joining in, saying they were living in South Bend, not Wichita, Kansas, and they didn’t want to follow Wichita procedures. The criticism reached such proportions that an attorney was hired to attack Chief Ingram’s appointment on the grounds that, according to a 1905 act of the state legislature, a non-resident, which he had been, must have five signatures for his appointment, which they claimed he didn’t have.
It was the belief of the Civic Planning Association, Inc. that the program to eliminate Chief Ingram was:
…being pushed by a few members of both political party machines, who desire to dominate the police department for their own selfish interests; by a few indifferent, lazy or incompetent policemen who do not want to perform their duties of a high-type policeman, and by individuals interested in crime, gambling, vice resorts, slot machines and similar activities.
When the citizens finally were able to digest the breadth of complaints and found that the mayor and Civic Planning Association were backing the chief, they decided that he should be given a chance to prove himself and they ceased asking for his removal.
Adding to the ever increasing problems for the chief was the fact that he was interested in introducing new and younger men on the department who had a high school education or its equivalent. Since the quota set by the board was filled, openings would have to be made, and he accomplished this by ordering 10 men, who had at least 22 years of service to take physicals to determine if they were fit to continue. The men fought this order, but finally had to submit to the physical and 8 of them were forced to retire. At a later date, two others, not of the original 10, also retired, thus making 10 openings.
At this same time, the final effort to have Chief Ingram removed came from the local CIO leaders, who contended that he was a strike-breaker, evidenced by the members of the department at the Sanders Lumber Company and Oliver Farm Equipment Company strikes. The CIO said that the chief did not know the social mind and attitude of the people of South Bend because he was an outsider and thus should be removed from his position. After much debate, the final debate taking place over the radio, the mayor and president of the Board of Safety, George N. Beamer, gave the chief their official backing and stated that he was doing his duty and carrying out their orders.
It was the contention of the CIO that 95% of the people of South Bend favored the removal of Chief Ingram even though their organization only represented 66,000 persons, which is far less than 95%. With the following statement of the mayor, this issue was officially closed, even though there were grumblings, silently, among some.
We (mayor and the board) represent 104,000 people of South Bend. We represent the rights of all these people. There is nothing in our minds to do harm to anyone or to interfere with the rights of any of them. Let there be dispute about that.
After the controversies subsided, 168 men applied for the 10 openings on the department. All of the applicants to IQ exams and went through the whole new procedure of being fingerprinted, photographed, further examined, interviewed by the mayor and Board of Safety, examined by the police physician and then the pension physician, and were cross-checked sometimes 4 times before the field was narrowed down to the final 10. The South Bend Tribune ran the following article on November 24, 1939:
Ten young men, having hurdled obstacles never before encountered by candidates for the South Bend Police Department, were sworn in this morning by Mayor Jesse I. Pavey, in the presence of the Board of Safety and Police Chief W.K. Ingram.
After the swearing in, the new officers were assigned to street duty for a 9 month probation period, during which time they were expected to receive instruction several times a week, on their own time, before they became full patrolmen.
It was Chief Ingram’s idea to upgrade the education of all members of the department, regardless of their years of service or rank. Everyone was required to attend a special refresher course lasting two weeks. The course, taught by specialists from the F.B.I., under the supervision of Chief Ingram and Lt. Harold Whitmer, covered such subjects as interviews, public relations, fingerprints, collection, preservation, and identification of evidence, courtroom demeanor, report writing, criminal law, techniques and mechanics of arrest, firearms demonstrations and instruction, and finally traffic problems on a daily basis for two hours. This was the beginning of the modern police academy.
The chief was also instrumental in improving the communications system through the acquisition of two-way radios, making it one of the finest systems in the nation. As first, 15 cars were equipped with the new system enabling the dispatcher to have instant communication with the men in the patrol cars and vice-versa. When the system was converted over, only the patrol cars were equipped with the new radios, not the sergeants, captain or detectives, but later on the whole department was included through the efforts of Chief Radio Operator Francis J. Bock and Patrolman Larue H. Wert, who did all the new installations, saving the city a great expense. When the system went into operation, all officers had to take Federal Communication Commission exams in order to be able to transmit from the cars, just as the dispatcher always had to. Even though the radio system was in use, the Gamewell System Control Board, which handled police telegraph from the alarm boxes throughout the city, remained in effect enabling the foot patrolmen to report periodically to the desk sergeant for instructions and emergencies.
At the end of 1939 three-wheel motorcycles were purchased, equipped with radios, eliminating the two-wheel motorcycles with sidecars, freeing up one officer for other assignments. Since the old system required two men, the new system was an efficiency measure, with one man handling parking and other traffic problems. Since another traffic problem, intoxicated drivers began to plague the city, the department purchased the newest device for determining whether a person, under the influence of alcohol, should be cited for a traffic offense, known as the Hargar Drunkometer.
In 1941, the manpower of the department reached 102 and because of the war, the chief formed a special squad, known as the Subversive Squad, to check on factory workers. By 1942, 16 more men were added enabling the chief to reorganize the traffic division to include an accident investigator, two special investigators, an analyst and statistician, traffic education officers, and officers for parking violations.
Since the pay received by South Bend police officers was not comparable to men working in the factories and certainly not enough to support a family, the Board of Safety ruled that the men could work second jobs provided they received approval from the board.
Since World War II was dissipating the manpower in all fields, the police department was not excluded; in fact, on March 26, 1943, Chief Ingram resigned from the department to become a Lieutenant J.G. in the Navy reserve. Harry T. Everett, who was attending the F.B.I. Academy, was appointed the new chief with Capt. William Hudak named acting chief, until Everett’s return from the academy.
Upon his return, Chief Everett set up a Crime Laboratory, which included a photographic darkroom and camera equipment, 35mm identification camera which was capable of taking 350 pictures, an additional camera to examine evidence, known as micra photography. He also purchased a microscope, ultra-violet lights, an iodine fumer, black light, chemical procedures, equipment to test bullets, which were kept in a special library which could be referred to at a later date with reference to new crimes.
He was also responsible for establishing a library with about 100 books covering all phases of law enforcement, which all members were urged to read and keep themselves educated.
Chief Everett was also responsible for establishing the modern police recruit academy in 1944 which all recruits, and some from other communities in the area, were required to attend for a 10 week period, instead of the original 2 weeks, before beginning their street duty. The subjects taught in the new academy covered approximately 69 different topics on all fields of law enforcement.
Because of the war and the loss of about 25 men, with the possibility of more leaving, the chief appealed for veterans to join the department, and authorized the use of part-time volunteers, known as “Auxiliary Police.” All days off were canceled and the 8 hour shifts changed to 9.5 hours. With the end of the war in 1946, the department went back to normal hours and when the department reached capacity, a new policy of a day off every sixth day replaced the old system of a day off every eighth day. This new policy began on December 1, 1947, and the policemen earned about 6.5 days of vacation annually.
It was also in 1947 that the radio system was improved considerably by being changed over from the 30 megacycles on the AM band to a block in the 152-160 megacycles on the FM band. The new system was necessitated because of the impossibility of obtaining parts for the old system and it eliminated static and more powerful stations drowning the old South Bend system out.
By the end of 1947, the department had reached an all-time high of 129 and had added a police auxiliary, following the Pittsburgh plan, to guard children at school crossings. This new addition to the department added to the efficiency of the department by freeing men and squad cars from school traffic patrol for other assignments.
When George A. Schock became mayor in 1948, Chief Everett remained as chief and the department underwent the first major shift since 1939 when Mayor Jesse Pavey revised the personnel and molded the department into one which drew acclaim from experts in many parts of the country. Chief Everett stated:
These changes are in line with my announced policy of stepping up younger men as soon as they are trained and qualified for great responsibilities. It is our aim to step up the police service along the line.
With this announcement he ended much speculation and political jockeying, which also ended the worst weekend of jitters in the department since that fearful afternoon in 1934 during the Hinkle Administration when 5 different men were named chief and then discarded. Chief Everett announced that Lt. James K. Trevey would be promoted to the rank of captain and would be assistant chief and head of the detective bureau. He also announced the transfer of the laboratory, including the polygraph, from the records division to the detective bureau.
It was also announced that same year, that 12 men had been appointed to the department and that a new policy was being followed that required all applicants to be interviewed by the Board of Safety after they had passed the rigid physical examination.
In 1949, C.B.S. Radio network stations carried a weekly program honoring different American policemen for valor, for meritorious and outstanding police work. On June 16, the city of South Bend was honored when Patrolman Irvin C. Hampton received the award for his capture of two men who were wanted for armed robbery.
In February 1949, Chief Everett retired and James K. Trevey, who was 33 years old, was appointed chief of police, becoming the youngest police chief in the history of the department. His assistant chief, Richard J. Gillen, was only 36, and when questioned about the youthfulness of the top two in command, Mayor Schock stated:
Police work is a young man’s game. It requires the utmost in training, alertness and willingness to work hard. I have every confidence that the splendid progress already accomplished by the department will go forward satisfactorily with these two young men in command.
Because of a new Federal Communication Commission regulation, the radio call signal for the South Bend Police Department was changed from WPGN to KSA-866 in 1950. It was also during this year that the recruits received free uniforms for the first time. Up to 1950, recruits were required to buy their first uniform from their own money.
Since speeding had become a problem on the city streets, the department purchased special timing devices, which were special hoses that were laid across the street at certain distances from each other. These determined how fast a car was traveling between them. In 1951, a more sophisticated device, which was an electronic clocking device, was purchased. This new system was mobile and able to be mounted in a squad car, eliminating the hoses and at the same time was more accurate.
When the administration reached the end of its term in 1951, the department manpower had reached 155, which was still short of the 185 that had been recommended by the National Safety Council.
This is all we have of this document. We hope to add more later.