Well, looks like they weren’t kidding about cleaning house. The incident and the committee hearing actually occurred in July 1930, before Walter was promoted to Sergeant.
Lieut. Sucek, Ridgefield, Tried Before Police Body
Lieutenant Joseph Sucek of the Ridgefield Police Department, yesterday went on trial for a violation of department regulations. Charges were preferred against him by Supervisor of Police George F. Darrow.
Lieutenant Sucek was charged with having released a suspicious prisoner who had been apprehended by the nigh force of the borough police, without making any effort to ascertain the identity of the man.
The decision of the police commission will be announced later.
At the opening of the trial a communication to the police commission from Supervisor Darrow was read in which he charged Sucek with releasing a prisoner who gave his name as Charles Kirkland, 35, of 52 Essex avenue, Paterson.
Kirkland, a negro, was arrested early the morning of July 18 by Patrolman Arthur Kalbhenn. According to Kalbhenn his attention was attracted to the negro, who was driving a Buick car, by the fact that there were several tires loaded into the back seat of the car. As he followed the car, Kirkland, according to Kalbhenn, kept turning about to watch if he was being followed. After following the car for some time Kalbhenn ordered the driver to stop. The latter refused to do so. The police threatened to shoot, and the car came to a halt. Kalbhenn took Kirkland to police headquarters and turned him over to Patrolman August Kiel, who was an [sic] desk duty. Kiel made the entry of the arrest on the police blotter.
Shortly before 8 o’clock in the morning Kirkland asked Kiel if he might go to Paterson to get his registration and automobile license. Kiel, who was going off duty at the time, referred him to Lieutenant Sucek. Sucek, according to Darrow’s charge, released the prisoner on his own recognizance.
When Patrolman Walter W. Gallagher came on duty the next afternoon he was assigned to desk work. As he looked over the blotter he noticed the entry recording the arrest of Kirland. He inquired about it and Sucek is alleged to have replied that he released him so that he might go to Paterson for his license and registration card.
At the trial yesterday, Lieutenant Sucek told the police commissioners that it was a customary procedure in the police department to release automobile drivers arrested because they had not had their licenses or registrations.
Shown Cars and Tires
“That’s all right,” interrupted Police Commissioner Clarence Kiel, “but you don’t mean to tell me that it is customary to release a suspicious character on his own recognizance, do you?” Sucek replied that he did not know he was suspicious.
Sucek denied that he had any knowledge that the prisoner had tires in his automobile, although it was later testified that Sucek was shown the cars and the tires.
Commissioner Kiel was insistent that Sucek explain himself on the point that it was customary to release prisoners on their own recognizance. “When and how long has this been the procedure?” inquired Kiel. “During the time of Chief Bunce,” said Sucek.
Commissioner Kiel asked if it had been the procedure since the coming of Supervisor Darrow and Sucek replied that the practice was discontinued. During the testimony it was brought out that Sucek was created a lieutenant during the administration of former Chief of Police Edwin Bunce.
The trial, which was held at the borough hall, was before Police Commissioners Henry Fomon, Clarence Kiel and former Mayor Alan B. Conor. Mayor Clarence Davis sat in at the trial.
Before the commissioners terminated the trial, it was voted to send a communication to the council praising the action of Patrolman Kalbenn [sic] in apprehending Kirkland.
Yesterday, Patrolman Raymond Curry of the Paterson police department, identified the tires found in the Kirkland car as those stolen from his car July 17. Paterson police have also reported that the Buick car which Kirkland was driving was stolen from Paterson.
This article appears to be from sometime after June 2, 1931, the day the woman was reported missing. This article also appears to be from a newspaper published outside Ridgefield.
Body of Drowned Woman Found by Ridgefield Police
Officers Gallagher And Kalbhenn Find Body After Long Search
RIDGEFIELD – At 1:40 a. m. on Monday morning, William Brede and Harry Arnold, both of Jersey City, reported to Sergeant Walter Gallagher of the Ridgefield Police that while one of them was swimming in the Overpeck Creek with a woman companion, the woman had suddenly disappeared and they feared she had drowned. The men were held and Patrolman Heilmann was sent to the spot to search for the woman but returned saying that he could find no trace of her.
At 8:00 a. m. Sergeant Gallagher and Patrolman Arthur Kalbhenn reported finding the body of the woman, fully clad, in the creek. They had made a long and thorough search within a wide area of the spot pointed out to them and their efforts were rewarded. The woman was about 32 years of age, had auburn hair, with brown eyes and was about 5 feet four inches tall.
Kalbhenn stood guard over the body which they had laid in a boat and Sergeant Gallagher hastened back to the department and notified the Coroner and the Prosecutor’s office. The body was then removed to Hunt’s morgue.
The two men were questioned and their statements follow:
William Brede: “At about 7:10 p. m. on Sunday evening I met Harry Arnold of Jersey City. He had been drinking and asked me to go for a ride with him. We met a girl known to us only as Carrie, at Grand street, Hoboken, and drove on toward Bergen County. Arnold and the girl said they wanted to go swimming, and we drove to the Overpeck Creek as we wanted to be in the vicinity of the 125th Street Ferry.
I sat in the car while they went swimming and waited there one half hour. I then got out to look for them but could not find them and returned to the car. A short time later, Arnold returned with a strange man and stated that while he had been diving from a springboard, the girl had disappeared and he could not find her. He was afraid she had drowned. The stranger advised us to report to the police and gave us directions to the Police Department.”
Harry Arnold made the following statement: “I met Harry Brede [sic] at about 7:00 p. m. I had been drinking all day and we went to Hoboken and met a girl we knew as Carrie. While swimming, I dove from a springboard and when I returned to where I had left the girl she was not there. I called her and looked for her and could not find her. I told a man I saw at a stand, and he told me to report to the police, which we did.”
The young woman was later identified by her husband and Carrie Eickman of Union City, who stated that she had been reported missing since June 2, 1931.
As the woman was fully dressed when found and the circumstances were so unusual, the men were held for ten days for a thorough probe of the case.
This is not the first time Sergeant Gallagher and Officer Kalbhenn have received the commendation of their superiors for their excellent police work. The search and finding of the body was due to their stubborn persistence and adds another leaf to the record of good standing of the Ridgefield police.
A.L. Diederich, Jr. provides his perspective on the efficiency of the Ridgefield Police Department following the burglary of his home in February 1931, and the department’s subsequent handling of the investigation. Mr. Diederich apparently works for the American Cyanamid Company in New York City, but lives at 1025 Linden Ave., Ridgefield, N.J.
I note that Mr. Diederich incorrectly refers to Supervisor Darrow as “Chief Darrow” throughout the letter. The Ridgefield Police Department did not have a Chief during this period of time.
April 21st, 1931.
To The Mayor
and Board of Council
Borough of Ridgefield, N. J.
It appears timely to call to the people’s attention the improvements in police efficiency which have been introduced under the able direction of Chief Darrow.
Within a relatively brief space of time, our Police Department has been transformed by a process of training, and by introduction of modern scientific methods, from what was little more than a village constabulary to an efficient, well organized force equal to that of any in the metropolitan area.
Many citizens of the Borough are not familiar with this. I, myself, until recently did not appreciate fully the competent service which our Police Department now renders to the Borough.
On February 13th, my house was ransacked by burglars. The response of the Ridgefield Police, and their subsequent excellent police work in running down the culprits, has given me occasion to observe their methods and capabilities.
I was impressed first by the intelligence and general ability of the men who worked on the robbery of my house. Their preliminary investigation of the case was methodical and thorough. Then, they followed up immediately by taking finger prints. They left no stone unturned in their efforts to apprehend the intruders.
When finally the robbers were apprehended in a neighboring borough, the fingerprints secured in my house by the Ridgefield Police were instrumental in proving the guilt of the suspects, and in eliciting from them a broad confession of a dozen or more similar robberies in Bergen County.
I was also impressed by the fact that the policemen who worked on this case wore badges indicating accomplishments in marksmanship. The course of pistol training in which all Ridgefield policemen must qualify should be an added assurance to the people. In respect to marksmanship, few if any police departments in Bergen County are so well training and so certainly “sure shots”.
The citizens should also know that our “cops” take regular courses in criminal law and police work under Chief Darrow, and must pass with qualifying grades or lose their jobs. Also, they ought to know that three of the members of the force are graduates of the New York City Police Academy. And they should know that the Ridgefield Police Department has a qualified finger print expert – from whom the police of other Bergen County Boroughs are taking instruction.
All these, it must be conceded, are unusual in a town of the size of Ridgefield, and mean just this: The people of Ridgefield enjoy a high degree of security due to superior police protection. Every citizen will do well to investigate these things for himself, and learn just what has been accomplished under Chief Darrow’s direction.
In closing, I want to say that the police work of Officers Gallagher, Lustmann, and Kahlben in connection with the robbery of my house, merits the highest commendation. Mr. Gallagher’s fingerprints, as before stated, “did the trick”. In addition, on his own time, he investigated a dozen or more suspects in neighboring towns over a period of two months. Mr. Kahlben and Mr. Lustmann showed every courtesy and did their bit – indicating that the entire force is striving to give service of a high standard.
The Mayor and Board of Council are to be congratulated on having selected Chief Darrow, and for having cooperated with him in making possible his introduction of modern methods in the Police Department.
Yours very truly,
A.L. Diederich, Jr.
cc: Chief Darrow
In my last post, Walter and another patrolman had just been appointed Sergeant, despite the objections of a couple of Council members. These articles are undated, but I believe they are from April 10, 1931, like the last article. Brace yourselves: here comes the drama.
August Keil, acting sergeant, of the police department of Ridgefield, and Walter Gallagher, patrolman, were appointed sergeants at council meeting last night. Keil has been on the force six and a half years. He was awarded the Mayor’s trophy for shooting, December 15, 1930. He is the champion shot of the department. Gallagher, who has been on the force two years and three months, has been publicly commended by the Mayor three times, twice for his courgae [sic], and once for sharpshooting. He has qualified as a fingerprint expert, at the Criminal Identification Bureau, in New York.
Sergeant Appointments Of Mayor Under Attack
Kiel and Gallagher Get Positions Despite Charges of Vassily and Hildebrand that Mayor Disregards Statutes
Patrolmen August Kiel and Walter Gallagher of Ridgefield last night were elevated to the rank of sergeant over the dissenting votes of Councilmen Vassily and Charles Hildebrand.
Debate on the promotions involved an exchange between Vassily and Mayor Clarence A. Davis in which the councilman accused Mayor Davis of disregarding statutes governing police promotions.
The promotions take effect immediately, but salary increases will not begin until July 1, 1931. Kiel, who has served seven years, will be given an increase of $200 over his present salary of $2,500. Gallagher, appointed to the force in 1929, will receive a $350 raise.
In anticipation of dissent, Mayor Davis followed his reading of the resolution authorizing the promotions by defending his stand in determining the elevations by written examination drawn up by a New York police specialist.
“I entered office,” he said, “with three definite intentions: to straighten out the borough’s finances, to reduce taxes and to build up a police department in which politics should play no part.” He then read a review of the manner in which the promotions had been determined by examination, with the exception of allowing one point for each year of service.
When Vassily gained the floor he read an excerpt from New Jersey statutes governing police promotions, which he interpreted to mean that only patrolmen with three years or more of service may be elevated to the rank of sergeant and that promotions must be made solely on the basis of seniority.
Mayor Davis acknowledged the clause requiring “due regard for seniority of service” ___ comparing patrolmen’s qualifications for promotion, but declared this clause had been compiled [sic complied] with in allowing one point in the examination for each year’s service. The three-year clause, he argued, had been superseded.
Of six patrolmen who took examinations March 21, Kiel received the highest rating at 91.87 per cent. Gallagher, next in line, received an average of 87.40 per cent. The test embraced seniority and record and mental capacity.
The examinations were prepared by Captain James Skehan, New York police department. Skehan has served twenty-seven years in the department. His work has included police and detective activities, and the duties of instructor at New York Police college. He has written several books on practical police work, and has received the congressional medal [sic] in addition to numerous awards of honorable mention from his department. Captain Skehan also rated the contestants from their examination papers which did not bear the contestants’ identities.
Kiel, who is married and lives at 432 Chestnut street, was born April 20, 1892, at Wurtenberg, Germany. He was appointed to the Ridgefield police department July 23, 1924.
Gallagher, born in New York Feb. 26, 1902, was appointed June 10, 1929. He is married and lives at 654 Virgil avenue. He has one son in grammar school.
This article (thankfully) was preserved with the date, but not the name of the paper. Unfortunately when the article was laminated (yes, laminated), they neglected to unfold the bottom piece of the article, so that last inch or so of text is hidden. In any case, it appears Walter received a well-deserved promotion, despite Vassily’s attempts to sandbag him (see this post). Besides, what fun is a promotion without some good old-fashioned scandal? It also appears that Walter attempted to correct some math in the article, and increase his score from 87.40% to 91.12%.
RIDGEFIELD, N. J., FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 1931
Kiel and Gallagher Score Highest In Police Exams – are Made Sergeants
All Officers had Opportunity to Compete; Vassily and Hildebrand Preferring Seniority Advancement Vote “No” — Garbage Contract is Awarded
The regular meeting of the Ridgefield Mayor and Council was not without its discussions because the appointment to Sergeants for the Ridgefield Police Department was due and there was divided opinion as to the method by which these were to be made.
It has previously been agreed upon to give all the men an equal chance at a fair and open competitive examination. Several of the men preferred not to enter the contest because of personal reasons, such as ill health, inability to attend the police school, etc.
To the Council, Mayor Davis read the following statement:
“To Members of Council:
The Police Commission, having concluded that it was essential that two additional Sergeants be added to the present force, decided that an examination be held for promotion to the rank. It was the desire of the Commission to have this examination conducted along lines fair to all members of the Department, and at the same time select from the ranks those best fitted to render intelligent service at the desk, so that they might form a base for further development and enlargement of the Department, which must be anticipated for the future.
In order that the examination might be conducted in an unbiased manner, and to prevent criticism of anyone, the Police Supervisor was directed to engage the services of someone, unknown within the Borough, with experience in conducting examinations of this character.
The entire procedure was left to the discretion of the Supervisor, who enlisted the services of the examiner, and arranged the examination without further consultation with the Police Commission. The examination was held at Public School No. 2 on Saturday, March 21, 1931, from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m., there being no one present but the examiner, a monitor and the members of the Department competing.
At a meeting of the Police Commission on Monday, April 5th, the Mayor and Commissioners were introduced to the examiner who proved to be Captain James Kkehan [sic Skehan] New York Police Department, whose record in the New York Department follows:
Patrolman — Sergeant — Detective — Captain — 27 years’ service.
For 10 years examiner of all recruits entering the New York Police College during that period.
Conducted classes in the College for Traffic Regulation — Detective Bureau — Policeman and training for promotion from the various ranks.
Captain Skehan is the author of several books on “Practical Police Work,” has received awards of Honorable Mention – Commendation from the Department, and is the holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
[I was unable to confirm that he was actually awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, as he does not appear on this list of more than 3,400 recipients]
The Police Commission believe that the Department is fortunate in being able to secure the services of a man of his calibre, with wide experience in police work, to conduct the examination.
Captain Skehan produced the papers written by the members of the Department competing, and rates them as follows:
Mayor, Ridgefield, N. J.”
Following the above address, a resolution was presented by the members of the Police Commission in which they stated that Acting Sergeant August Keil and Patrolman Walter Gallagher had been the successful competitors in the examinations and recommended their elevation to the rank of Sergeantcy.
Councilman Vassily and Hildebrand voted “no” most emphatically, Vassily objecting on the ground of “Seniority,” stating that he believed the oldest man in the department should be the eligible one, also that the police law states that a man must have served as officer three years before he is made a sergeant. Mayor Davis advised him that this was not so, and reminded him that the examination was the fairest and most unbiased event ever held. He claimed that he would rather resign his office than to allow politics to enter into the doings of the Police Department.
Keil and Gallagher both signed waivers to all claims for the increase in pay until July 1st, and the recommendation of the Police Commission was accepted.
Sergeant Keil has been a member of the Department for six and one-half years. He was recently presented with a medal for marksmanship, and considered the sharpshooter of the Department … [the remainder of the article is obscured]
Presented by Councilman _____
RESOLVED that the appointment of Walter W. Gallagher as Sergeant, effective immediately, be and the same is hereby confirmed, the salary to be $2700.00 per year, payable semi-monthly, which increase takes effect on July 1, 1931, as per agreement between Walter W. Gallagher and the Police Commission. (Agreement attached hereto) [only attached to the original]
A true copy.
Borough Clerk (SEAL)
(Signed) Adele McDermott
Walter’s fingerprint training has served him well, and now he is sharing his knowledge with police departments in other Buroughs in Bergen County, New Jersey. Tenafly Borough is several boroughs north of Ridgefield, but only about 9 miles away.
March 2, 1931
Mr. George F. Darrow, Supervisor
Borough of Ridgefield, N. J.
On behalf of the members of the Police Committee of this Borough, I wish to thank you most heartily for the assistance rendered to Lieutenant Rothacker of the Tenafly Police Department in connection with the installation of the finger printing system in our Department of Public Safety.
Doubtlessly the system will be highly beneficial to the police in their efforts to prevent and curtail criminal activities.
Trusting that this department may in the near future have the opportunity to reciprocate your generosity, and requesting you to convey our thanks to Sergeant Gallagher, I am
Very truly yours,
PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE
By: Wesley B. Swan
It’s interesting that Commissioner Swan would refer to Walter as “Sergeant,” when his promotion was still more than a month away. Stay tuned!
Apparently, Mr. Vassily has nothing better to do than worry about what officer is on duty at School No. 3 in the mornings. I discovered (as you will in a later post), that Mr. Vassily is actually “Councilman” Vassily, who seems to have some sort of vendetta against Pop. (He was on the council that created the position of police supervisor, which I wrote about here.) This is a series of correspondence between Councilman Vassily, Supervisor Darrow, and the Police Commission.
February 11, 1931.
Every morning on my way to business I pass in front of School No. 3 and I have the opportunity to see who is officer on duty.
As I understand, the officer on duty in front of School No. 3 is the one who patrols the town nights and finishes his night shift in the morning by School No. 3.
For the last two months I have met almost every officer we have in our department except officer Gallagher.
This odd occurrence puzzles me and before I form an opinion and make erroneous deductions, I am anxious to find out direct from you if there is any favoritism shown to this officer without your knowledge.
Hoping you will enlighten me upon this matter.
To the:- Police Commission
Subject:- School crossing
1:- The following is a schedule of tours performed by Ptl.Walter Gallagher during the two months dating from December 15th,1930 to date.
|Dec,14th to 21st
” ” ” “
|1 A.M. to 9 A.M.
12 Mid. to 8 A.M.
|Dec.21st to 28th
” ” ” “
|12 Mid. to 8 A.M.
1 A.M. to 9 A?M. [sic]
|Dec.28th to Jan 4th
” ” ” “
|12 Mid to 8 A.M.
1 A.M. to9 A.M.
|Jan.4th to 11th
” ” ” “
|12 Mid. to 8 A.M.
1 A.M. to 9 A.M.
|Jan.11th to 18th
” ” ” “
|12 Mid. to 8 A.M.
1 A.M. to 9 A.M.
|Jan.18th to 25th
” ” ” “
|12 Mid. to 8 A.M.
1 A.M. to 9 A.M.
Ptl. sucek [sic]
|Jan 25th to Feb 1.
” ” ” “
|12 Mid. to 8 A.M.
1 A.M. to 9 A.M.
|Feb.1st to 8th
” ” ” “
|12 Mid. to 8 A.M.
1 A.M. to 9 A.M.
|Feb. 8th to 15th
” ” ” “
|1 A.M. to 9 A.M.
12 Mid. to 8 A.M.
A study of this schedule serves to prove that the officer mentioned in the communication from Mr. Vassily’ was not the recipient of any favoritism,and performed the same duties as the other men. With the exception of Ptl. Sucek,who is on probation,and no permitted to serve at the Desk,the men alternate on desk and patrol on this tour, and may change such assignment by mutual agreement,so long as all posts are covered and proper service rendered.
Mr. George Vassily
601 Bergen Boulevard
Ridgefield, New Jersey
At a meeting of the Police Commission held on February 16,1931,your letter of February 11th, was given very careful consideration.
We find that Patrolman Gallagehr [sic] has been shown no favoritism. Supervisor Darrow will be glad to show you the record in the Police Blotter of the tours of duty performed by him,during the two months mentioned in your communication. This information is available at all times to any citizen of the Borough.
Secretary to Police Commission
[so STICK IT, Mr. Vassily. Quit tryin’ to get my Pops in trouble!]
I’m not sure what newspaper this was from or when it was actually published, just that it was after October 1930. I have no idea why Pop would have saved this article, but it’s in his scrapbook, so I’m including it here. Additional information found on the individuals mentioned in this article is provided in brackets.
List of Fourteen Jersey Victims of Noble Experiment
Fourteen men have been put on the spot in the gang wars between hijackers and rum-runners in Bergen and Passaic counties. The list of the “martyrs” follows:
Jan. 22, 1927 — Marry [sic Harry] (Schwabbles) Joachim, hijacker, slain in Lincoln inn, Paterson. Michael Spinella sought as murderer. [Harry’s brother was also wounded in the attack. Spinella was the proprietor of the Lincoln Inn. This Spinella may be the future crime boss who was later deported back to Italy, but snuck back into the U.S. through Florida and continued his criminal activities. He died in 1971. You can read more about his deportation and re-entry here. He was acquitted of the Joachim murder in February 1934.]
Nov. 15, 1927 — Thomas Di Floramo, hijacker, slain in a field near Totowa section of Paterson.
April 28, 1928 — Big Frank Logioco, owner of Ye Olde Time inn, Garfield, slain in pistol battle with hijackers. [This story made news as far away as Havre, Montana and El Paso, Texas; see article below]
April 28, 1928 — Arthur (Yigi) Huff, gunman, slain in raid on Ye Olde Time inn. [Likely the “tough guy” referenced in the article below]
May 21, 1928 — Alexander (Schmutzy) Szabo, beer runner, slain by hijackers in Passaic garage. [Szabo gave a deathbed statement identifying the four “hoodlums” who attacked him as payback for stealing their ale burner. James (Cockeye) O’Leary, the only surviving assailant, would not be convicted until 1957.]
March 17, 1930 — Milton (Doll) Green, hijacker, slain in Paterson apartment by associates. [Apparent suicide determined to be murder. See article below]
April 12, 1930 — Archie Senville, hijacker, slain by beer runners and body taken to Newark. [Former pugilist (“the bearded wonder”) turned gangster gunned down while driving his car. He survived three other attempts on his life].
April 27, 1930 — Michael (Big Mike) Redding, beer runner, slain by hijackers.
May 30, 1930 — Anthony (Sparky) Wilda, hijacker, slain by beer men in Passaic. Body taken to Paramus.
May 30, 1930 — William (Wild Bill) Schlessinger, same fate as Wilda.
June 1, 1930 — Frank Lovulla, beer runner, dies of wounds inflicted by hijackers.
[Wilda and Schlessinger apparently shot Lovulla and left him for dead. Lovulla’s friends then apparently tortured and killed Wilda and Schlessinger. Lovulla was a former partner of “Big Frank” Logioco killed earlier (see above)]
Aug. 3, 1930 — Peter Curapolo, beer runner, slain in Garfield. [Gunned down on his porch in front of his wife]
Oct. 16, 1930 — Morris (Mushy) Friedman, hijacker, slain in Paterson by beer men. [John “Johnny King” Yerzy and Morris “Fat” Berliner, went to Mushy’s home and chased him for several blocks before riddling him with bullets. They justified it by claiming they had warned him to stop hijacking his beer trucks. I don’t know whether Berliner was ever captured and/or convicted.]
|Honorable Mention||Stewart Carroll )
Tookey Case )
|March 4th, 1930|
|Commendation||Caparaso Ziti )
Gambo Case )
|October 16th, 1930|
|Commendation||Alver and Williams )||April 19th, 1931|
|Excellent Police Duty||Bunt & Davis Case )||August 20th, 1931|
New York Police Academy and Bureau of Criminal Identification – 9 months
|First Aid||American National Red Cross Course by Dr. Fenton – 8 weeks.|
These won’t the be the last accolades Walter receives.