President McKinley complimented the mayor for the fine police department during his visit, according to Burr Greenfield, Chief of Police, on March 12. After an accident on July 26 in which Harold Johnson, 8, lost both legs, the council voted to equip the police ambulance with a first-aid kit.
Ald. H.E. Congdon recommended on July 22 that the city buy an electric ambulance to eliminate the cost of horses. On December 3, a new city ambulance was placed into service at the police barn. Mention made of detective service in the annual report, along with a recommendation that an electric patrol system with boxes throughout the city be installed.
A new ambulance was purchased, and the one horse for the police department served on both the patrol wagon and the ambulance. A telephone patrol system was installed, including police telephones at Main and Burdick and the two railroad stations. The department is now in new quarters over Muffley’s store, 132-146 S. Burdick St.
On March 9, at the request of Ministerial Alliance, the City Council ordered Chief Geo Boyles to clear out all slot machines within 48 hours. Charles Grotemut was listed as detective in the Annual Report, and police commissioners reported that the department was in a demoralized state but that after Chief Boyles became the chief, it improved greatly.
Voters approved a proposal on April 4 to establish a Police and Fire Commission. Charles Grotemut and Ralph W. Chapman were listed as detectives in a roster in the Annual Report. The police department requested a team of horses for the patrol wagon and ambulance as one horse was not sufficient to pull them.
The police complained that $60 a month was not enough compensation and they circulated a petition asking for $75. The Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver was put into use.
A new department telephone system went into operation on October 26. The department went over budget ($20,000) by $1,015.68, as it was necessary to furnish new equipment for the men and put an additional man on the force.
In the early days, before 1907, a red light was placed at Main and Burdick streets to be flashed on when patrolmen were needed at headquarters. A private telephone system was later placed in operation for the patrolmen to call in from their beats. One of these telephones was located at Main and Burdick streets, another was at Pitcher and Main streets, a third was at Burdick Street and the Michigan Central Railroad, and a fourth was located at Walbridge and Ransom streets. The call boxes were known as A. B. C. and D. In 1907 this system was abolished and the Bell Telephone company installed signal phones, and several more call telephones were installed on the east side of the city.
John Pitts (KPD) was listed in the Gazette as the first to draw a city pension. A member of the police department for 25 years, he has drawn $25 a month since his retirement on June 20, 1909.
The chief requested a team of horses as the present one was old and just couldn’t pull the wagons. He also requests a pound be built for stray dogs.
A traffic officer was stationed at Main and Burdick streets. A motorcycle was added to the police department, and an “Indian” motorcycle was bought.
The commission and Chief Charles B. Allen stated that the department needed 10 more men.
Charles W. Struble took over the department. It was reported that the patrol wagon and ambulance were worn out and ancient, and that the patrol wagon had been a disgrace for some years. The Michigan Automobile Company furnished a five-passenger, 40 hp service car, fully equipped, but there was a need for a skilled driver. The first traffic cop is hired.
The department moved to a new headquarters at 122 E. Water St. on August 4. On January 24, Ora Mathews was appointed as a special police officer; she was the first woman in the state to get such a job. On March 21 the Police Gun Club was organized, with George Ralph as president, Samuel Sloan as vice president, and Sgt. Ben Taffee as secretary/treasurer.
Thirty-eight members of the police force were employed under Chief Struble, and there were 1,775 persons arrested — 1,160 for drunkenness. The third story of the police department building had not been finished, and the estimated cost of that building ($40,000) had not been exceeded. Authorities requested that the building be finished properly. Also noted was the fact that KPD patrolmen were paid less than in other cities of the state.
Due to budget constraints, the following were laid off: five patrolmen, one janitor, and one clerk. The department needed an identification division.
Police were kept busy rounding up delinquents, dealing with draft boards, and the registration of German alien enemies, as well as looking after disloyal Americans in general. Liquor violators began to hang around certain pool rooms, and some felt licenses should be revoked in those establishments.
The Commission-manager form of government began its first year of operation, the Detective Bureau was organized, and the City Commission authorized police censorship for movies. The people voted to incorporate into the police and license code a chapter to be known as the “Moving Picture Censorship Ordinance.” The Kalamazoo Police and Firemen’s Association was organized for the purpose of encouraging and developing a higher degree of skill and efficiency.
The “Volstead Act” (prohibition) took effect, which caused a great deal of law enforcement action in the area. On February 25, new police chief Benjamin F. Taffee reported that two motorcars were in use, one an ambulance/patrol wagon and the second a high-power service car, used to carry squads on emergency drives.
The department was kept busy with traffic violations and “prohibition law.” The chief requested two plainclothesmen be added for prohibition and gambling offenses. Installation of 14 electric lighted traffic guides aided in the handling of vehicular traffic, and requests for four more were made, according to Chief Benjamin F. Taffee, who described his department as good, with fine morale.
Vehicular traffic and enforcement of traffic laws made up about 50 percent of the arrests. Sixty-nine arrests were for prohibition violations. A weekly school of instruction for patrol and traffic officers proved beneficial.
The chief requested two more motorcycles, one more automobile, and 10 men to be added to the department because patrolmen during the daytime were all tied up with traffic duty at street intersections.
A Gamewell Flashlight system was installed to call patrolmen on the beats when needed for emergencies. It was thought that the system would help make the department run with efficiency. Petitions were filed by citizens to remove Chief Taffee.
An excerpt from the Annual Report: “All of which shows that in spite of the political intrigue and strife brought about by certain disgruntled police officers, ex-police officers and politicians, who maliciously attacked the police department during the past year, still the work of the department has progressed. Several changes have been made in the personnel of the department during the past year, which has resulted in placing the disturbing element in the minority and bringing about better cooperation in the police department.” Benjamin F. Taffee, chief of police.
The police department’s appropriations for the fiscal year of 1925 was $114,981 of which $97,552 was for salaries.
A new chief, Roy Carney, was named.
There were 9,844 complaints, 1,912 arrests, 4,175 traffic violations, 88 arrests for Prohibition violations, and 885 of the total arrests were for first time drunkenness.
Conferences addressing the serious traffic conditions in the city were held and members of the citizens committee concurred on the problem. A Chrysler touring car ($2,600) was placed into service, however it was only used for fast emergency calls. A new Gamewell Calling and Bell Light system was installed to replace the old one and nine more call boxes were added, making a total of 18 boxes in the city.
The post of Police Commissioner was created by the City Commission in August and Rock Fleming was appointed to the job; Roy Carney is still police chief. Arrests for drunkenness totaled 864, with 82 charges of prohibition violations.
The Traffic Division was organized, with 18 officers. An up-to-date identification bureau was established.
Acquired two Thompson sub-machine guns and a large bore gas gun, six bullet proof vests.
For the first time in its history, the department was put through a schedule of pistol instruction and target practice.
Police completed a Jiu Jitsu course, and all officers were instructed during a two-week series of classes. In February, Officer Loyal Aldrich was cited for a medal, the American Legion Award, for solving auto theft cases. Open school was offered to the city’s policemen – officers attended on their own time. Two patrolmen were assigned the painting of streets.
Department automobiles included four Model A Fords of 1931 vintage, one Chrysler touring car and one Dodge ambulance-patrol wagon combination. No radio communication was available. A six-hour day was established for firemen and police to preserve jobs for more people, with each employee losing about $30–$32 per month. This plan also removed married women from jobs if a single woman could fill the positions. The Identification Bureau installed a police camera, and the Identification Bureau was equipped to develop and print pictures; the new camera was of the portable type.
Prohibition was repealed and a police identification system was introduced in the United States and Europe. Death masks were created to establish the identity of people found murdered.
The police department cooperated to the fullest extent with the Dept. of Justice in Washington, D.C. and the Dept. of Public Safety, East Lansing, Mich., in forwarding all arrest information and crime reports.
The police department purchased an up-to-date ambulance for conveyance of those injured in accidents and for the handling of persons by order from the Health Department. The police garage was enlarged, and a room was created for the police school and a place to hold the Children’s Safety Club. The Identification Bureau took over the registration of fire arms.
“Remodeling at police headquarters, in preparation for the installation of the police radio station, was begun Wednesday afternoon and will require about two weeks. Installation of the police radio will be the major improvement in the department in several years. The antennae has been installed on the roof of the building, and other equipment is here and ready for assembly as soon as the offices are completed. There will be some changes in the police offices to make room for the radio dispatching and receiving …” said an Annual Report excerpt about the 100- watt radio system.
Police motors covered 110,000 miles in a year, and there was a major revamping of the criminal records system. The Identification Bureau was enlarged, including the photographic laboratory, fingerprint files and office. Dee Williams was wounded on August 5 in a battle with a gunmen at Gibson and Portage streets. Lt. Darrell Wicke killed one of the gunman, John Wesley Johns.
Kalamazoo celebrated its status as the only city in America with a population of 50,000 or more to be debt-free, as the last remaining bonds against the municipal government were destroyed. In addition, two-way radios were installed in six vehicles.
Six 1938 Chevrolets were purchased to more safely equip the police. The police attempted to enforce a curfew, and youngsters under 16 were to be off the streets by 10 p.m. in the evening. Parents had been told that where youngsters were picked up a second time for violating the ordinance, they were subject to discipline in the detention home.
The first mounted policeman, Clarence Pierce, attired in a park ranger’s uniform rode “Nicky,” the police-trained horse purchased by the city in Chicago early in the spring, patrolled Milham Park during the spring, summer and fall season.Three traffic patrol standards were purchased by the police department for use at schools and 24 more were sought for use during the next year. The brightly colored and distinctly outlined standards served as a warning to motorists that they were approaching a school area and must slow down. Most police vehicles went to one man car assignments this year.
Carlton Jackson, patrolman, attended the FBI Academy and returned and conducted a police school at KPD. The ”Big Uncle Club” was established by KPD with the cooperation of the Optimist Club. The program was instituted to assign delinquent children to various members of the club for guidance.
Noncriminal finger printing of workers is required in war production. Fewer traffic violations occurred this calendar year due to a shortage of gasoline. A Boy Scout troop was formed by officers, and a movie was made by the traffic division regarding bicycle safety.
Kalamazoo’s first school traffic policewoman began duties. Her name was Mary Jane Conklin, age 22, at Parkwood School. Sixteen crossing guards were employed, and a third police woman.
The City Commission bought $500,000 in U.S. War Bonds.
One of the first steps taken by Chief (Ralph) Chapman after his appointment was organization of the in-training school with the department. Police schools were held annually thereafter for all members of the department. Instructions largely were given by the older ranking officers in the department, some of whom had received special training with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C., the University of Michigan, and the Michigan State Police. Traffic Safety Veteran status was awarded: “During his term as chief, Chapman has devoted much attention to traffic safety, and through his suggestion 10 years ago, the city of Kalamazoo enacted one of the first pedestrian ordinances in Michigan, an ordinance which was a major factor in bringing to Kalamazoo the statewide reputation of having the best pedestrian regulations.” The Kalamazoo Ordinances were copied by other cities.
A Sunday ban on beer and wine was adopted.
Women (two) police radio dispatchers handled over 25,000 calls. Chief Howard W. Hoyt was appointed chief of KPD.
Materials were lacking for uniform orders. Recruitment of men was difficult at this time and the department was 13–15 people short during the year. A policewoman was responsible for tracking down cases of venereal disease resulting from war time.
The department hired 12 recruits who were given eight weeks of training before assuming the responsibility of any districts. However, eight officers departed — with six going into other fields of endeavor. Taxi-cab licensing began.
A Drunk-O-Meter (the first version of Breathalyzer) was utilized. Eleven new men were selected and trained. However, at the end of the year, the department was six men under strength.
Parking meters made their first appearance on city streets. Chief Hoyt accepted a safety award in Detroit from the National Safety Council for outstanding achievement in methods of keeping accident records.
Chief Hoyt went to Germany for three months to instruct German police and university officials in American police administration, having received a formal invitation of the United States Dept. of Army.