Efficiency Increase in Police – Part 1

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on April 16, 2015 with No Comments

Hang on folks, this is a long one.



Have Acquired Initiative and Learned to Accept Responsibilities

1930 12 Efficiency Increase in Ridgefield Police Cited by Supervisor p1The following report for the year 1930 has been submitted to Mayor Clarence Davis and the Ridgefield council by George F. Darow [sic], supervisor of police:

December 31, 1930

To Mayor Clarence Davis.

From Police Supervisor.

Subject: Annual Police Report.

I herewith present a report relative to the activities of the police department, Borough of Ridgefield, N. J., calendar year 1930.

When assigned to command the department, on March 19, 1930, I gave consideration to but one thing: an intent to operate the department to the best of my ability, in a manner that would merit the confidence and respect of the residents of the borough of Ridgefield, and the adoption of methods of operation that would result in increased efficiency in police service.

The department has, in the past year, acquired most of the qualities essential to success in the character of the work required of the members.  The efficiency, morale and interest of the men has increased remarkably.  “Esprit de Corps” has developed in the rank and file, with resultant unity, and team work, which has rapidly developed the service to a higher standard.  The men have acquired initiative and self reliance, and accept the responsibilities of their job, without constantly leaning upon others in authority.

The organization of the department has been reconstructed along lines of established and successful police methods and rocedure [sic].  The police commission now transacts official methods and procedure.  The police supervisor, who in turn operates through his subordinates.  Rules have been adopted forbiding [sic] any deviation from this plan by the force except with the consent and approval of the police supervisor, who must be consulted before a member of the force may confer with a member of the commission on a subject relating to the policies or administration of the department.  This eliminates any suggestion of favor or impartiality to the men.  Does away with divided authority and duplication of effort, and places responsibility directly where it belongs: with the superior officers of the department.

1930 12 Efficiency Increase in Ridgefield Police Cited by Supervisor p2The progress made in the department during the past year, may be attributed to the enthusiasm, loyalty and unselfish contribution of time and effort by the rank and file, without which the improvement so evidence, would not have been accomplished in so short a time.

Traffic Regulation (in Borough)

The vehicular and pedestrian traffic at Broad and Edgewater avenues and vicinity is, needless to say, one of the important problems confronting the department.  Every means possible to meet the situation intelligently has been adopted, one patrolman is continuously stationed at the intersection of the avenues to operate the signal lights and safeguard the movements of pedestrians.  During the train arrivals, an additional patrolman is stationed at the railroad crossing, working in conjunction with the man at Broad avenue.  As a result, but one person has been injured at this point during the year, despite the volume of traffic thereat.

The Hudson river bridge building problem, together with the tremendous excavation, and the erection of additional bridges, grade crossings, and widening of roads proposed, or now under construction, will in the near future make the handling of traffic with facility and safety, a matter of increased concern for the department the coming year.

An active police campaign against parking cars and leaving same on the streets indefinitely has almost eliminated this practice.

Cars abandoned on highways for an unusual length of time are taken to headquarters and summonses served when claimants appear for same.

With the co-operation of the county road commission, the street lines and markings are repainted at regular intervals, facilitating the movement of vehicular traffic at congested points.  Considerable traffic has been diverted from Broad avenue by the installation of arrow signs directing ferry traffic to use Shaler Boulevard.

School crossings are covered by patrolmen at all times of assembly and dismissal.

A series of lectures at the public schools to the children, on the subject of public safety, requesting co-operation with the police, and home discussion of the subject by parents, has produced beneficial results as an educational program.

Police Training

A system of training in matters essential to the duties of a policeman has been established at headquarters and has been in operation for ten months.  A pistol range was erected at 1930 12 Efficiency Increase in Ridgefield Police Cited by Supervisor p3headquarters, and all members of the department are required to attend same Friday of each week for instruction, to familiarize themselves with the operation of firearms and to develop marksmanship.  The proficiency in shooting as improved 70 per cent. since this class was established.

A class at headquarters for the study of law, criminal procedure, borough ordinances and departmental rules and regulations, is held Tuesday of each week.  This class will include physical development and military instruction.  All members of the department are required to attend these sessions each week.

Two patrolmen have completed a general course covering a period of ten weeks at the Police College, New York City police department.

One patrolman [Walter Gallagher] has completed a course covering a period of ten weeks in finger print study and photography, under the supervision of the Bureau of Criminal Identification, New York City police department.  This patrolman now qualifies as an expert, and is in charge of finger print photography and records of this department.

All members of the department have been conducted to the daily line up of criminals held at New York police headquarters, to impress upon them the seriously outlined duties of the members of a large force.  Contact of this nature serves to develop police atmosphere, with resultant thought in the minds of the men that they are engaged in an enormous task in undertaking to combat the lawless type that are arraigned at the line up each day for the commission of the most serious crimes, and tends to make for additional vigilance in the performance of their duties.

Criminal Identification

The necessary equipment for discovering finger prints and the photography of same at the scene of a crime, and the means for classifying them and subjecting them to study, has been installed at headquarters, and a photograph collection of local persons with criminal propensities and records is maintained for identification purposes.

Co-operation with Borough Departments

In addition to their other duties, the force is required to observe activities within the borough, such as building construction, excavation work, other operations requiring permits, inspect such permits, and make report thereon so that other departments may be notified if irregularities exist.

First Aid Treatment

A cabinet with all necessary equipment and instructions for rendering first aid to injured persons, is maintained at headquarters, where many persons were treated during the year for superficial injuries pending their treatment by a regular physician.

1930 12 Efficiency Increase in Ridgefield Police Cited by Supervisor p4Patrol Posts

When covering the patrol posts the force is required to keep in contact with headquarters at all times by communication with the man stationed at signal box No. 1, Broad and Edgewater avenues, who in turn receives alarms or orders from the sergeant on desk duty.  In this manner citizens’ calls receive immediate attention.  In addition to this a signal box No. 2 has been intsalled [sic] at Bergen boulevard with a green flash which indicates that headquarters is calling the patrolling officer.  It is anticipated that this system will be extended during the year 1931, so that headquarters will have several points of contact within the borough.

Welfare Work

Crime statistics of past years have indicated that most of the criminal acts were by adults.  Recent years have shown that present day criminals are recruited from the ranks of youth, who seem to have developed a total disregard for the property rights of others.  [Glad to see some things haven’t changed at all].  A crime committed in the borough of Ridgefield recently, involved three of the most serious felonies, burglary, attrocious [sic] assault, and attempted robbery.  The crime was plotted and carried out with cool precision by three youths ranging in age from 18 to 20 years.  When arrested, their cynical attitude toward the law, cool manner and utter disregard for consequences might well be compared with that of an old and hardened criminal.  Much work has been done by the members of this department in checking the movements of young persons found loitering on the streets or frequenting lonesome places at night.  When found, they are questioned, admonished and returned to their homes.  A constant surveillance is kept over this situation, with a view to safeguarding the morals of minors.

The department assisted in the distribution of foodstuffs and toys to families within the borough at Christmas time, co-operating in this work with local organizations distributing charity.

Motor Transport

The Ford motor patrol operating within the borough during the year 1930 covered 116 miles of streets each day.  Aggregating the milage [sic] of 42.309 miles in twelve months.  This service requires good equipment at all times because of the many calls answered, and the necessity for quick action.  The motor patrol in service the past year has been condemned and replaced with a new one.

The Nash car used for emergency service and patrol by superior officers has covered 7,000 miles in ten months of service.


The uniforms have been changed to meet the need for a more serviceable and practical design.  The type adopted gives more freedom of movement, more comfort, is better adapted to the needs of present day service and gives the officer a snappy appearance, than the tightly buttoned garment which slowed up his activities.


… And because I know you’re DYING to know how it ends, stay tuned for the rest of the story – it includes vicegambling, and a “shotgun squad.”


(Another) Letter of Commendation

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on April 13, 2015 with No Comments

There were other officers involved in the capture and arrest of these two criminals, and they all may have received similar letters, but this one was for Walter.


1930 10 16 - letter of commendation in arrest of Caporaso and Ziti

Police Commission
Borough of Ridgefield

Bergen County                      New Jersey


October 16, 1930

Patrolman Gallagher,
Police Department,
Borough of Ridgefield, N.J.

You are hereby commended by the Police Commission, for your activities in connection with the arrest of the following criminals in the Borough of Ridgefield on September 27, 1930.

Louis Caporaso                         Charles Ziti

These men in company with a third man burglarized a building, attached one of the inmates with a revolver and iron bar, and attempted to rob.  Their apprehension was due to the alertness of the members of the Department and reflects credit on all concerned in the capture.

By direction of the

Police Commission

Henry Formon per WD[?]


Darrow Reports on Officers Work

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on April 9, 2015 with No Comments

Either the news was really slow in Ridgefield, New Jersey, or Supervisor Darrow had an excellent PR guy.  His full report to the Police Commission ended up in the newspaper (see images at the end of this post).  During this exact period of time 85 years ago, here is what Pop and his fellow police officers were doing:

Darrow Reports On Officers Work

1930 06 - Darrow Reports on Officers WorkThe following report was submitted to the Ridgefield Council relative to a course in police training just concluded by Patrolman Walter Gallagher, Henry Lustman and Arthur Kalbhenn of the Ridgefield Police Department, at the Police College, City of New York.  Mr. Darrow, Supervisor of Police of Ridgefield, says:

“These men were entered for a three-months’ course of training under Deputy Chief Inspector John J. O’Connell, Dean of the Police College.

Patrolman Walter Gallagher was assigned to a special course in fingerprinting and photography, and now qualifies as a finger-print expert.  This course comprises training in the various means of identification of whorls, loops, patterns and other characteristics in the lines of the fingers( necessary for the identification of the person whose print is being studied, and the classification of such prints, as males, females, color and numerical values.  This involves a course of six weeks’ training, known as the primary class.  Taken with an intensive study of the 750,000 prints on file in the New York Police Department records, it has the advantage of the study of records of many years’ accumulation.

The course in photography consists of the photographing of latent prints, impressions on various surfaces, develoument [sic] and printing of films and photographs, and methods of photography necessary for the identification of the dead.  Three weeks is devoted to this work.

The course concludes with three additional weeks practical experience with the Homicide Squad.  The value of this instruction may be measured by the fact that this knowledge is given by men of long experience in solving crimes of a serious nature.  The course embraces everything of value in the identification of suspects.

1930 06 - Darrow Reports on Officers Work p2Patrolman Henry Lustman and Arthur Kalbhenn have just finished a course in general police work, as a member of a class of two hundred and fifty recruits graduated by the New York Police Department at Madison Square Garden on June 26, 1930.

This is a three-months’ course, involving instruction in the proper conduct of the police officer, his duties under the law, and his obligations to the citizen.  The necessity for discipline, courtesy to the public, dignity, and the care of his personal appearance, is impressed upon the student, with a view to having him realize that these are the essential qualifications for a successful career in the field of police work.  This course creates an atmosphere for the new police officer, which impresses upon him the fact for all time that he is adopting a serious vocation, that police work is a business in itself and that criminology is a subject requiring years of study by the policeman who expects to attain a knowledge of the method of operation and characteristics of the profesisonal [sic] criminal, necessary for the successful prosecution and conviction of the offender and the prevention and detection of crime, and he must concentrate on this subject if he is to have any measure of success.

A digest of laws, ordinances, rules and regulations, court procedure, and the conduct of the police while testifying in court cases, is part of this course.

Daily instruction in boxing, wrestling, setting up exercises, jiu jitsu and general physical culture, together with a first aid course and instruction in United States Military tactics, is given.

This course is a great value to the inexperienced policeman just entering the profession, in that it tends to make him alert mentally, sets him up physically, and gives the poise so necessary to a policeman, if he is to command the respect of the community he is to serve.

Other members of the Department will be signed to take courses at the Police College, and those who have completed the course will be used as instructors.”

1930 06 29 - Memo to police commission about officer training p1 1930 06 29 - Memo to police commission about officer training p2
These are the pages of the original memo presented to the Commission


Walter Gallagher: Fingerprint Expert

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on April 6, 2015 with No Comments

These letters were found in Pop’s police file, not in the actual scrapbooks … but they help tell his story, so I’m including them here.  The first is asking permission to send Pop to fingerprint school in New York.


1930 03 25 - letter to send Walter to NYPD fingerprint schoolMarch 25, 1930

The Hon. Grover C. Whalen,
Police Commissioner,
City of New York.


I respectfully request that Patrolman Walter W. Gallagher, Police Dept. Ridgefield, N. J., be permitted to study your system of finger print classification and filing and photography in the New York Police Bureau,of Criminal Identification.

Ridgefield being within the Metropolitan District would profit by an expert in this line and might be of service to the New York Dept. at some time.

Respectfully submitted,



The next is approving the request:


1930 03 26 - letter accepting Walter in NYPD fingerprint schoolPOLICE DEPARTMENT
City of New York

March 26, 1930.

George F. Darrow, Esq.,
Borough of Ridgefield,
Bergen County, N. J.

Dear Sir:-

In reply to your request of the 25th inst., to have Patrolman Walter W. Gallagher of your department study our system of fingerprint classification, filing and photography, wish to advise that we are glad to be of such service to you.

If Patrolman Gallagher will call with proper credentials on Inspector Joseph Donovan, Room 218, Police Headquarters, 240 Centre Street, Manhattan, any day between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M. except Saturdays and Sundays, he will be given proper attention.  Of course, it must be understood that in taking this course, Patrolman Gallagher must comply with the rules and regulations of this department.

Yours very truly,
[John Brun] (?)
Chief Inspector.


Then contact is made with Inspector Donovan:


1930 03 28 - letter permitting Walter to attend criminal ID schoolMarch 28, 1930

Insp. Joseph Donovan,
Police Department,
New York City.

Dear Sir:-

The Chief Inspector of your Department has granted permission to the Ridgefield Department to have one of our members take the course in Criminal Identification at your school.

Ptl. Walter W. Gallagher has been designated; will you please direct him as to his duties.

Yours truly,



And finally, the memo to the Commission advising of Pop’s new role for the next three months:


1930 03 28 - memo to commission for Walter's NYPD schoolMarch 28, 1930

To Police Commissioners

From Supervisor

Subject – Criminal Identification

1 – Attached hereto is letter granting permission to a member of this Department to study criminal identification at the Detective Bureau, New York Police Department.

2 – I hereby make application for permission to assign Ptl. Walter W. Gallagher to this course for a period of ninety days.

3 – During the time of such assignment, Ptl. Gallagher to be assigned to the tour of duty at desk 5:30 P.M. to 1 A.M. continuously.

Respectfully submitted,

[Geo Darrow]


I don’t know if that meant Pop was supposed to go to fingerprint school all day, then come back and work until 1 a.m. or what … but I have a feeling he experienced some pretty long days during that three months.


Supervisor Named in Ridgefield

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on March 19, 2015 with No Comments

This article is dated March 19, 1930.  It is unknown which paper published it.  I do know that this is not the last we hear about Supervisor Darrow.


1930 03 19 - Supervisor Named in Ridgefield p1 - Darrow picSupervisor Of Police Named In Ridgefield


Retired New York Officer Engaged by Council to Head the Department




1930 03 19 - Supervisor Named in Ridgefield p1George F. Darrow, former New York police lieutenant, retired after 25 years of service, last night was appointed supervisor of police in Ridgefield at a salary of $3,000 a year, by the borough council.  Councilman Leo Kearney was the only member of the board voting against the appointment.  Darrow immediately was sworn in.

Darrow will have complete control of the police department.  Edward Bunce, who for years was chief of police of the borough, recently was dismissed from the department on charges brought by Councilman Clarence Kiley, who charged Bunce with neglect of duty and with failure to wear uniform after being warned several times to do so.

Counselor William George, of Jersey City, has been retained by former Chief Bunce to fight his dismissal on the ground that the hearing was illegal.  George has been granted a writ to show cause by the Supreme Court.


1930 03 19 - Supervisor Named in Ridgefield p2Bunce in Bad

That the present administration has been dissatisfied with the service of Bunce was evidence since last election.  It is said that a few months ago Bunce was asked to resign to escape charges but that he refused to do so.

Darrow comes to Ridgefield highly recommended by the police officials of New York.  The following letter from the New York department was read at the meeting of council last night:

“With reference to your recent inquiry, I find that George F. Darrow was retired as a lieutenant of police in this department on June 8, 1926, after having served for a period of a little over 25 years.

His record in the department, during his entire service was excellent.  He had varied experience, having performed duty as a detective, plain-clothes patrolman, clerical patrolman in one of the busiest precincts in the city, mounted traffic duty and in addition during his last two years in the department he held an executive office, being lieutenant in command of the division of transportation.  In this position he had supervision over the purchase and upkeep of police department horses, automobiles, bicycles and repair shops, etc.

“I feel sure that if you appoint Lieutenant Darrow to the position mentioned, he will give entire satisfaction.”

1930 03 19 - Supervisor Named in Ridgefield p3Darrow served as patrolman at the West 22nd street station; detective at headquarters; foot patrol, East 22nd street station; detective at the West 37th, 30th and 20th street stations; mounted duty at the 152nd street station; traffic division, Tremont avenue station, and headquarters, all New York.  He also did mounted duty as a sergeant at Bronx Park station, 152nd street station traffic division and also served as lieutenant on desk duty at West 47th street, West 68th street and West 100th street stations, New York.  He was lieutenant, mounted duty, at the Central Park station, and instructor of the school of recruits, horsemanship, pistol practice and military tactics.  Darrow had charge of the lecturing at the public schools.  He served as aide to the mayor and police commissioner, and did clerical duty for the inspectors.  He retired after 25 years’ service.

Bids for stone and tarvia supplies were referred to the committee to report back at the next meeting.  Bids for stone were submitted by the Tidewater Stone Supply Company, Cliffside Trap Rock, Herbert A. Relph and Co., Belmont Gurney Co. and Ridgefield Tar Supply.  Those bidding on stone were the American Tar Products Company, Barrett Company and Lamsdell Company.

Two bids were submitted for garbage removal from Joseph Navalance and Louis Esposito, which also were held over.  It was announced that an assessment hearing on Lincoln place, between Bergen boulevard and Studio road, will be held Tuesday night, April 1.  At the same time the Ray avenue improvement will be taken up.  Council decided to meet as a committee of the whole together with the assessment commission to take action on the Oakdene avenue assessment complaints received at the last meeting, next Tuesday night at the municipal building.

What Became of the Gangsters?

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on March 16, 2015 with No Comments

I was curious about what happened to the three “thugs” in the story, so I set out to find some additional information.  I discovered that in 1930, the three of them lived within a half-mile radius of each other.  Stewart and Toohey lived on the same street only a couple of blocks apart.  Carroll lived three blocks up and in the block between Stewart and Toohey.

Michael J. Toohey:

Michael was born to parents Michael and Anna Toohey in 1902, one of many children.  He is shown on the 1910 US census with his family living on Willis Avenue in the Bronx.  His father worked as a switchman for the railroad.  In 1912, at age 44, Michael Sr. is listed as an inmate at the New York City Home for the Aged and Infirm because he was paralyzed and destitute, apparently after a stay at Bellevue Hospital.  He is still listed as a resident of the City Home in the 1915 NY state census.

In 1915, Michael Jr.’s mother Anna is found on the NY state census living at 550 133rd Street in the Bronx and working as a janitor.  Her marital status is not given.  However, by the 1920 US census she is listed as a widow living with her sons John and Raymond, still working as a janitor, but under the name Anna Moorehead.  She also has a 1-1/2 year old daughter named Catherine Moorehead.


House of Refuge, Randall’s Island, NY

This explains why Michael Jr. isn’t listed with his mother in 1920.  I found him on the 1920 US census at age 18 already in prison at the New York House of Refuge, a youth detention facility in New York City.

I next located Michael in the 1925 NY state census living at 310 135th Street in the Bronx with his wife Adel.  His occupation is listed as “brick hand,” which I guess we all know by now wasn’t the whole truth.

Michael Toohey 1925 NY census


Michael Toohey was listed with his fellow thugs in the 1930 US census as a guest of the New Jersey State Prison, a result of the 7-year sentence he received in February 1930.

Thugs in prison in 1930


At some point during the year, the three of them must have been transferred to Rahway Prison.  But Michael Toohey and John Carroll had other plans and decided to make a break for it in December 1930.


I found Michael in the 1940 US census listed as inmate #22788 at Clinton Prison in Dannemora, New York.  I guess they found him.


John Carroll:

In the 1925 NY state census, the Carroll family resides at 300 E. 134th Street in the Bronx.  Father John is a chauffeur and 18-year-old son John is a bookkeeper (I’m not sure who decided to trust this kid with their books).

I searched for his family in the 1930 US census to see if I could identify his parents (to be sure I had the correct John Carroll, since it is a fairly common name).  I found his family listed at the address shown in the newspaper (356 E. 139th Street address in the Bronx); parents John and Mary, both born in Ireland.  His father is a car inspector for the railroad.  His brother is a chauffeur for a wholesale company, and … there is 22-year-old John listed as a clerk for a wholesale company … but he was already in prison!


John Carroll 1930 census


I find the family living at 372 E. 139th Street in the Bronx on the 1940 US census, where they apparently have lived since at least 1935.  No occupation is listed for John Sr., but son Thomas is a bus driver and sister Louise is a counter girl for a five-and-dime.

Rewind a bit … remember the prison break that Carroll and Toohey pulled off?  John Carroll was injured in a shooting in Manhattan on March 12, 1931.

I found John Carroll at Dannemora Prison in Clinton, New York in the 1940 US census too; inmate #24615.


William Stewart/Stuart:

William is the son of William H. (born in New Jersey to German parents) and Louisa Stuart (born in New York).  In the 1920 US census, the family is living at 344 135th Street in the Bronx.

catholic protectory bronx

Catholic Protectory, Bronx

I found William Stuart in the 1925 NY state census enumerated with the New York Catholic Protectory, a home for destitute children and juvenile delinquents that was in operation from 1865 until 1938.  It was located in the area now known as the Parkchester housing development in the Bronx.  I understand that the LDS church has the records from the Protectory on microfilm, but I have been unable to locate them in the FamilySearch catalog.

William’s permanent residence is listed as 306 East 136th Street, which is exactly where I found the rest of his family in the 1925 NY state census.  It appears that William Sr. is now working as a cooper and brother Gerald is a chauffeur.  It also appears that William Jr. is also listed with the family and works as a roofer helper.  I guess it is possible to be in two places at one time.

It appears that by the 1930 US census, William’s mother is a widow and is still living at 306 E. 136th Street in the Bronx with son Charles and son Emil.  Son Gerald is living next door with his own family.

Unfortunately, I think Louisa may have died before the 1940 census, as I lose track of her after 1930.  Fortunately, I believe prison may have made an impression on William Jr.  I find a William Stuart in the 1940 US census living at 496 166th Street in the Bronx with wife Dorothy and 2-year-old daughter Barbara.  The census shows that William and Dorothy were living in the Bronx in 1935, but not at the same address.  This is contradictory to what we know about his 7-year sentence handed down in 1930.  He would still be in prison in 1935.  I can’t be certain this is the same William Stuart, but I would like to think that maybe he learned his lesson and got out early on good behavior.

Clearly, none of these men were saints, but they didn’t exactly have an easy start at life either.  I’m not sure what happened to them after 1940, but let’s just hope they got out of prison and had long, fruitful lives.


Attempt To Take Gangster for “Ride” Lands Trio In Jail

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on March 12, 2015 with No Comments

And now the story comes out about why the three thugs were speeding around town.  It’s just a shame that they got Pop’s name wrong.  This story must have been published within a day or two of the others, but I don’t know which paper.

1930 02 27 Attempt to Take Gangster For Ride Lands Trio In JailAttempt To Take Gangster for “Ride” Lands Trio In Jail

Patrolman Henry Lustman, and Patrolman William [sic] Gallagher, “a rookie” cop, captured three bandits Tuesday afternoon, in a wild chase through the residential section of Ridgefield and the West Grantwood section, during which many shots were fired.  It’s said that the trio had been frustrated in an alleged attempt to take a Hoboken gangster “for a ride”.

All of the three have police records in New York.  The automobile in which they were riding was recognized as having been stolen Sunday night from 70th street and Third Avenue, New York.  The men are: John Carroll, 22, of 356 East 139th Street, convicted three times in New York, twice for robbery and once for assault and battery.

Michael Toohey, 28, of 297 East 135th street, convicted three times in New York for robbery.

William Stewart, 21, of 427 West 135th St., convicted twice in New York for theft.

According to the story given out by the police, the men admitted being in a saloon in Hoboken earlier in the day.  It was said that while there they discussed taking someone “for a ride.”  Their conversation, it appears was overheard, and the men knowing this, jumped into the automobile and fled, pursued by another car, which they outdistanced.  On the Boulevard they drove at a fast rate of speed, ignoring signal lights.  At Tonnele [sic] avenue and Hackensack plankroad 1 they narrowly missed running down Patrolman Herman Farcender, of the Hudson County police who had the stop signal set against them.  Farcender commandeered another car and gave chase.  He recognized the car as the one for which a description had been broadcast from New York.  The men escaped him.

Farcender, when he saw that he could not overtake the trio, telephoned the Ridgefield police to be on the lookout for them.  The men however, succeeded in eluding the Ridgefield police sent out to trap them.

Shortly after 12 o’clock noon, while Patrolman Gallagher was on duty at Edgewater avenue and Shaler boulevard, Ridgefield, directing traffic to safeguard the children, he saw the car in which were the three men approaching.  There was something about the men, Gallagher says, that excited his suspicion.  He signaled for them to stop, but instead of doing so, they stepped on the gas.  Nearby was the Ridgefield Park police car which Gallagher had used to take him to the school.  He jumped into the car and started in pursuit of the men.  Gallagher managed to ride abreast of them.  The driver of the other car attempted to ditch him at least a score of times, once forcing Gallagher to run his car upon the sidewalk.  the policeman was unable to draw his revolver, the management of the car requiring all of his attention.

While speeding up the state highway, Gallagher saw Patrolman Lustman a short distance ahead.  He signaled the latter to stop the fleeing car, but Lustman was unable to do so.  Gallagher slowed down to let Lustman in the car and then renewed the chase.  Time and again the fleeing car attempted to ditch the police.  Near Bergen boulevard, where there is a steep embankment, the bandits tried to force the police car off the road, but failed.

Both cars were being driven at breakneck speed.  Patrolman Lustman drew his revolver and opened fire on the trio.  All three crouched down on the seat, but made no tempt [sic] to return fire.  Lustman aimed at the rear wheels and succeeded in blowing a tire, bringing the car of bandits to a stop.

The men were taken to Ridgefield headquarters and after being booked on charges of driving a car without a license were taken to the Bergen County jail in Hackensack by Patrolman Gallagher.  They will be given a hearing this morning before Judge Charles J. McCarthy of the First District Criminal Court.


  1. Now the intersection of Tonnelle Ave. and the Bergen Turnpike

Officers Capture Three Bandits

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on March 9, 2015 with 2 Comments

Just when you thought it was over, the newspaper articles just keep comin’.  I don’t know which newspaper published this, but it is dated February 27, 1930.  In any case, it’s the best account of the harrowing event so far …

1930 02 27 - Officers Gallagher and Lustman Capture 3 BanditsOfficers Gallagher and Lustman Capture Three Bandits After Chase


Trio, in Stolen Car Had Evaded Police of Union City and Outwitted North Bergen Officers




Great excitement prevailed in Ridgefield on Tuesday afternoon when Officer Gallagher and Officer Lustmann [sic] of the Ridgefield Police Department succeeded in capturing three men in a stolen car who had evaded the Union City, Boulevard and North Bergen Police.

The three young thugs were arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Part 2, Common Pleas Court, at Hackensack, before Judge Frederick W. Mattocks and plead guilty.  The three were immediately sentenced to 7 years each at Trenton.  They were relieved to thus plead, for if returned to New York, two would have received life sentences under the Baume’s law.

John Carroll of 356 East 139th street, New York City, Michael Toohey of 297 East 135th Street and William Stewart of 424 East 135th Street, New York City left a Hoboken speakeasy on Tuesday afternoon in a Peerless car, License number N.Y. 3C62-95, which they had stolen from 70th street and Third avenue in New York City.  They were speeding along on the Hudson Boulevard 1 and failed to stop on signal for Officer Roarty.

He gave chase and in North Bergen, the trio almost ran down Officer Erbeck whom they forced to the sidewalk.  He, also, gave chase and Officer Luke Sarcander of the Hudson County Police went after them.  The trio speeded down Dan Kelly’s Hill 2, followed by the officers.  They speeded through Shaler Boulevard and here the officers lost trace of them.

Officer Gallagher of the Ridgefield police stationed at the school crossing on Edgewater avenue and Shaler Boulevard, started after them in the Police Ford when the men in the car refused to stop to let two children cross.

The men zigzagged in and out of the Morsemere streets, several times forcing Gallagher to the sidewalk in his car.  At the intersection of Maple avenue and the State Highway, Officer Gallagher stopped a second to pick up Officer Lustmann [sic] who was doing duty there.  They chased the runaways up the state highway and when nearing Fort Lee, Officer Lustmann [sic] opened fire twice damaging their rear tires before they were brought to a halt.  The three surrendered then and were taken to the Ridgefield Police Department where the police officers from the other towns had already been inquiring after the speeding car.

The men and the stolen car were turned over to Detective Dawson of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office.

When the three were arraigned, it was found that this was Carroll’s fourth offense, as he had been previously tried three times, once for stealing an automobile, once for assault and once for petty larceny.

It was Toohey’s third conviction and the second for Stewart who had previously been arrested for petty larceny.

The chase and capture thoroughly aroused the town and Officers Gallagher and Lustmann [sic] received the congratulations of many citizens for their display of courage.


All told, the entire chase probably took a little over 20 minutes, and Walter and Lustman’s part of it was probably only about 8 minutes.  This is what I was able to map out to determine where this chase occurred.  All the locations are approximations (that zig-zagging part through Morsemere is definitely an approximation):

Map of chase


  1. Per Wikipedia, now named John F. Kennedy Boulevard, commonly referred to as Boulevard East – the road that overlooks the Hudson River and the skyline of Manhattan
  2. Dan Kelly’s hill is an approximately 1-mile stretch of road that was named for an Irish teamster in the early 1900s.  Dan Kelly had the only team of draft horses large enough to pull heavy wagons to the top.  He charged fees that would be considered price gouging today

Walter’s Letter of Commendation

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on March 5, 2015 with No Comments

In the wake of his heroic adventures, Walter received a letter of commendation from the Police Commission.

1930 02 27 - Letter of commendation from police commissionFebruary 27, 1930.

Mr. Walter Gallagher,
Police Department,
Borough of Ridgefield.

Dear Officer Gallagher:-

The Police Commission take this opportunity to commend you for the very efficient and courageous manner in which you handled a difficult situation on Feb., 25th, 1930.

It is fearless work of this character that the citizens of our Borough appreciate.

With our heartiest congratulations, we are,


Ridgefield Police Commission

Clarence A. Davis Pres.
Alan B. Conor
Clarence Kile
Henry Formon, Secty.

At the next Commission meeting, this Resolution was made:

1930 03 04 - Resolution of commendation for Gallagher and LustmannMeeting March 4, 1930


Presented by Councilman Brown


that the Mayor and Council express their commendation and appreciation of the capable and courageous action of Officers Walter W. Gallagher and Henry J. Lustmann in which they handled the hazardous situation that occurred on Feb. 25th, 1930, and that the Clerk be and hereby is instructed to send a copy of this resolution to each of the officers.

I hereby certify that the above is a true copy of resolution passed and approved by the Mayor and Council at a regular meeting held on March 4, 1930.

Adele McDermott
Borough Clerk


(Signed) C. A. Davis

(Signed) Adele McDermott
Borough Clerk


Jersey Justice Redeems Reputation

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on March 2, 2015 with No Comments

This article, presumably from February 27, 1930 (paper unknown), is another in the long string of public accolades surrounding the heroic feats of my great grandfather, Walter Gallagher.

1930 02 27 - Jersey Justice Redeems Reputation

Jersey Justice Redeems Reputation

“Jersey Justice,” which in former years meant swift and exact justice to criminals, came back into its own yesterday when three gangsters from New York City were started for state prison to serve maximum terms of seven years, 24 hours after they had been arrested.

This exemplification of old-time “Jersey Justice” is a flash-back into the past that should continue as a paragon for all law-enforcement authorities throughout the state.

It was Bergen County that yesterday brought back this all but forgotten kind of justice.

Three gangsters were overhauled after a running chase from Hudson County in Ridgefield.  The Ridgefield police got the credit for the capture and obtaining confessions of enough crimes to send them to prison.  Then Prosecutor West stepped into the picture and with the aid of Common Pleas Judge Mattock swift justice was meted out.  The gangsters did not want to be taken back to New York City lest they be sent to prison for life as fourth offenders under the Baumes laws.  They were so anxious to escape trial in New York that they readily pleaded guilty to four charges.