Four Suspects Nabbed by Cop

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on August 20, 2015 with No Comments

This article is from October 1931.  Newspaper unknown.

1931 10 Four Suspects Nabbed by CopFour Suspects Nabbed by Cop

One Picked As Holdup Bandit — 3 in Jail for Investigation

Nabbed as they are alleged to have been attempting to break into a Ridgefield filling station, three New York City men have been committed to jail until their police records can be investigated, and a fourth has been partially identified as a participant in a recent $30 Hackensack store holdup.

The arrest, made early Wednesday morning by Patrolman Paul, of Ridgefield, was disclosed last night when Recorder Harry F. Baker, of that borough, sentenced three of the quartet to 10 days in the Bergen County jail on charges of acting as disorderly persons.

The fourth, who identified himself as Mario Bilello, 20, of 75th street, Ozone Park, Queens, was picked out of a police lineup by a delivery boy employed by the American Stores Co.  Inasmuch as the youth was not certain of the prisoner, the clerk and an assistant will view the suspect today to effect positive identification before Bilello is charged with the robbery.

Police Records Found

The three taken to jail at Hackensack last night gave their identity as Michael Spinelli, 21, of 155 East 110th street; Joseph Guardino, 23, of 147 Elizabeth street, and Charles Bruno, 24, or 238 East 30th street, all Manhattan.

Unable to account for their presence at Quinn’s gasoline station, Broad avenue and Marion place, at 2 o’clock Wednesday morning, the four men were held overnight in Ridgefield cells.  Their photographs, fingerprints, Bertillon measurements and other identification were sent to the New York City police, where it was learned Guardino was arrested in 1928 for robbery, and Bilello was held once before that for grand larceny.

Although partially identified as having participated in the $30 Hackensack robbery October 28 last, the four men have not been definitely connected with other Bergen County holdups committed in the past four months.  None of them is believed to have participated in two recent Palisades Park and Ridgefield offenses of this sort.

———————————-

About the Criminals:

Joseph Guardino can be found on the 1920 U.S. census at age 11 living with his Italian immigrant parents, Frank and Jennie, at 143 Broome Street in Manhattan.  He appears to be an only child, but his parents are aged 60 and 46, so there may be older siblings who no longer live in the household.  In 1930, he is found with his mother, now a widow, and a brother Vincent, who is 2 years older than Joseph, and who I am fairly certain was called “Vinnie.”  One has to wonder where his brother was living during the last enumeration.  In 1940, Joseph is married to Gussie and has 4 children – 3 sons and a daughter.  Under occupation, he is listed as a “new worker,” though he is 33 years old and claims to have been living in the same house in 1935.  I was able to locate Vinnie in 1920 at 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.  Apparently, the whole family led a life of crime.

I was unable to locate any positive information on Mario Bilello, Michael Spinelli, or Charles Bruno.

 

Sgt. Gallagher Aids Catch by Clever Work

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on August 17, 2015 with No Comments

The drama continues … you can read from the beginning here and here.

1931 08 09 Sgt Gallagher Aids Catch by Clever Work p1 (fake feds)SERGEANT GALLAGHER OF RIDGEFIELD AIDS CATCH BY CLEVER WORK

Revolver Shot Halts Pair As they Attempt to Escape by Window to Roof – Ridgefield Police Lauded

Charged with impersonating Federal officers and with demanding $2,000 from Anthony Monti, manager of Blue Bird Inn, Teaneck Road and Cedar Lane, Teaneck, to halt padlock proceedings against the inn on charges of violation of the dry laws, two men late last night were being held without bail by Sheriff Harold V. Reilly, of Bergen County.

The men had in their possession credentials from Amos W. Woodcock, chief of the Federal Prohibition Bureau, which, county detectives are certain, were stolen.  The men also had other documents from the prohibition office tending to show that they were bona fide agents for the bureau.  The detectives say that these either were forged or stolen, more likely the latter.

The men were caught, according to Sheriff Reilly’s men, shortly after Monti had handed over $300 to them in an upper room in the Half Way House, on Edgewater avenue, between Ridgefield and Ridgefield Park.  The money was found on the men who attempted to escape from the hotel by way of the roof.  A shot from a revolver of one of the detectives halted them.  They offered no further resistance and were taken to the Bergen County jail at Hackensack, where they said they were Rudolph Hayes, alias Rudolph Brunt, and Robert Davis, alias Stewart J. Dunn.  The latter had identification papers from the prohibition bureau made out in his name, the detectives say.  Sheriff Reilly will make a ther [sic] investigation into the records of the two men today.  The Federal authorities have been notified, and men from the prohibition bureau are expected to be in Hackensack today to question them.

For several weeks Sheriff Reilly has been receiving complaints that two men representing themselves as from the prohibition bureau, have been visiting innkeepers and restaurant owners in Bergen County and endeavoring to “shake them down” by threatening to padlock proceedings unless they handed up large sums.

Monti had been warned regarding the two men.  They went to the Blue Bird Inn, which recently was raided by Acting Prosecutor Hobart’s special mopper, Abraham Weinberg, now under indictment, and told Monti that he was threatened with padlocking, but that they could “fix it for $2,000,” according to the detectives.  The men produced their prohibition “credentials.”

“But,” Monti is alleged to have replied. “I can’t raise that much money. Can’t you come down a little?”

According to the story Monti is said to have told the detectives, the men finally agreed to settle for $500.

According to the information received, Monti arranged to meet the men over the money.  In the meantime, Monti telephoned to Sheriff Reilly, who immediately got in touch with Police Chief Hart of Teaneck, and Dawson of Ridgefield.  A plan was arranged.

Sergeant Walter Gallagher, of Ridgefield, did a clever piece of work in locating the room in which the alleged transaction was to take place, and in tracing them down.  As a result of his work, there was no hitch in the move to round them up.  In the police party were Detectives Henry Lustman and Patrolman Masterson of Ridgefield, and Undersheriff Ward.

1931 08 09 Sgt Gallagher Aids Catch by Clever Work p2 (fake feds)When Monti entered the room he is said to have told the men that he could not raise $500, but had succeeded in raising $300 and asked if it would be satisfactory.

The two men are alleged to have said that they were disappointed, but that if $300 was all that Monti could raise they would take that.  The money was passed over.  About the same time there was a knock at the door and a demand to open.  The two pseudo Federal officers attempted to escape by climbing out of a window and onto a roof.  The shot halted them.

It was Sergeant Gallagher, who for a week or more had been on the trail of the men, and worked to get sufficient evidence to cause their arrest.

George Armstrong, owner of the Half Way House, accompanied the two men to the inn.  Armstrong is a former dry agent.  The men were fingerprinted.  A checkup on their records was started last night by the Ridgefield copes, who were commended upon their good work.  It was Masterson who fired the shot halting the attempt to flee from the inn.

 

Fake Feds – More to the Story

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

I originally wrote about Walter’s role in this story here.  Here’s a little more on that story:

1931 08 09 Fake Federal Agents Nabbed‘Fake’ Federal Agents Nabbed in ‘Shakedown’

Sheriff Reilly’s Men Trap Pair As They Accept Money from Teaneck Inn Manager

DETECTIVE’S GUN HALTS ATTEMPT TO FLEE SCENE

Charged with impersonating Federal officers and with demanding $2,000 from Anthony Monti, manager of Blue Bird Inn, Teaneck road and Cedar lane, Teaneck, to halt padlock proceedings against the inn on charges of violation of the dry laws, two men late last night were being held without bail by Sheriff Harold V. Reilly, of Bergen County.

The men had in their possession credentials from Amos W. Woodcock, chief of the Federal Prohibition Bureau, which, county detectives are certain, were stolen.  The men also had other documents from the prohibition office tending to show that they were bona fide agents for the bureau.  The detectives say that these either were forged or stolen, more likely the latter.

The men were caught, according to Sheriff Reilly’s men, shortly after Monti had handed over $300 to them in an upper room in the Half Way House, on Edgewater avenue, between Ridgefield and Ridgefield Park.  The money was found on the men who attempted to escape from the hotel by way of the roof.  A shot from a revolver of one of the detectives halted them.  They offered no further resistance and were taken to the Bergen County jail at Hackensack, where they said they were Rudolph Hayes, alias Rudolph Brunt, and Robert Davis, alias Stewart J. Dunn.  The latter had identification papers from the prohibition bureau made out in his name, the detectives say.

Sheriff Reilly will make a further investigation into the records of the two men today.  The Federal authorities have been notified, and men from the prohibition bureau are expected to be in Hackensack today to question them.

Ends Three-Week Hunt

For several weeks Sheriff Reilly has been receiving complaints that two men representing themselves as from the prohibition bureau, have been visiting innkeepers and restaurant owners in Bergen County and endeavoring to “shake them down” by threatening padlock proceedings unless they handed up large sums.

Monti had been warned regarding the two men.  They went to the Blue Bird Inn, which recently was raided by Acting Prosecutor Hobart’s special mopper, Abram Weinberg, now under indictment, and told Monti that he was threatened with padlocking, but that they could “fix it for $2,000,” according to the detectives.  The men produced their prohibition “credentials.”

“But,” Monti is alleged to have replied.  “I can’t raise that much money. Can’t you come down a little?”

According to the story Monti is said to have told the detectives, the men finally agreed to settle for $500.

According to the information given out last night, Monti arranged to meet the men at the Half Way House and hand over the money.  In the meantime, Monti telephoned to Sheriff Reilly, who immediately got in touch with Police Chief Hart of Teaneck, and Dawson of Ridgefield.  A plan was arranged.

Sergeant Walter Gallagher, of Ridgefield, did a clever piece of work in locating the room in which the alleged transaction was to take place, and in tracing them down.  As a result of his work, there was no hitch in the move to round them up.  In the police party were Detectives Henry Lustman and Patrolman Masterson of Ridgefield, and Undersheriff Ward.

Accept $300

When Monti entered the room, he is said to have told the men that he could not raise $500, but had succeeded in raising $300, and asked if it would be satisfactory.

The men are alleged to have said that they were disappointed, but that if $300 was all that Monti could raise they would take that.  The money was passed over.  About the same time, there was a knock at the door and a demand to open.  The two pseudo Federal officers attempted to escape by climbing out of a window and onto a roof.  The shot halted them.

It was Sergeant Gallagher, who for a week or more had been on the trail of the men, and worked to get sufficient evidence to cause their arrest.

George Armstrong, owner of the Half Way House, accompanied the two men to the inn.  Armstrong is a former dry agent.  The men were fingerprinted.  A checkup on their records was started last night by the Ridgefield cops, who were commended upon their good work.  It was Masterson who fired the shot, halting the attempt to flee from the inn.

 

Walter and the Extortionists

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on August 3, 2015 with No Comments

This article is dated August 9, 1931, but as usual I have no idea what newspaper it is from; I can only assume it is the Ridgefield or Bergen County newspaper.  

1931 08 09 - Walter and the extortionistsAN ALERT POLICE OFFICER

Sergeant Walter Gallagher, of the Ridgefield police department, again exhibited this week some of the alertness which he is becoming noted for in Eastern Bergen County.  His heady work in the capture of two extortionists in Ridgefield this week merits official attention.

Detailed to trap two pseudo Prohibition agents who had demanded $500 from Anthony Monti, Blue Bird Inn manager, Gallagher took two policemen with him, filed with the county clerk the numbers of currency to be used in baiting the men, and arranged, with Monti, to indicate when the money was accepted by a tie-fingering signal.  The signal was to be delivered after Monti emerged from the restaurant where he was to meet the agents, and Gallagher, hidden in a building across the street, planned to swoop down and make the arrests.

Monti, on exiting, gave no signals.  So Gallagher, leaving one man to maintain watch, crept from his hiding place and met the inn-keeper several blocks ahead.  Monti said the men were suspicious and that they would not make themselves visible.  When they wanted a third party to accept the bribe he told them, he said, he had been unable to procure all the money.

Gallagher did not give up.  “Phone them from Teaneck and say you’ll be over with all the money,” he instructed Monti.  Monti did.  He re-entered the restaurant at 4 p. m.

This time, the tie-fingering signal was delivered.  Gallagher and his men scurried in and made the arrests.

The Ridgefield sergeant has distinguished himself at other times, capturing, with Patrolman Henry Lustman last year, a gang trio with which they engaged in gun battle.  Another time, Gallagher singlehandedly made a notable catch.

Alertness of this kind on Gallagher’s part indicates a brilliant career for him in police work.  New Jersey, and Ridgfield in particular, is fortunate to have so keen-witted an officer enforcing its laws.

 

Police Lieutenant Reduced in Rank

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on July 30, 2015 with No Comments

This is the result of the trial before the police commission, which provided the opening for Walter to become Sergeant (first written about here, here, and here).

1931 07 - Lt Sucek Reduced to Ridgefield Ranks p1Police Lieut. Sucek Found Guilty, Is Reduced in Rank

Ridgefield Commissioners Announce Penalty Taking Effect Immediately

Police Lieutenant Joseph Sucek, who was given a hearing before the police committee of Ridgefield Borough Council on charges of having released a prisoner without consulting his superiors, yesterday was reduced in rank, and at 4 p. m. became a patrolman.

Lieut. Sucek was detailed to desk duty at police headquarters.  He now will do street duty.  The complaint on which he was dismissed was the first to be made against him.

It was understood last night that with the demotion of Sucek, the office of police lieutenant in Hidgfield [sic] would be abandoned for the time being, and that, instead, three men from the ranks would be appointed to be sergeants.  Before such appointments are made, a competitive exam will be held.

The complete report of the police committee and its finding is as follows:

1931 07 - Lt Sucek Reduced to Ridgefield Ranks p2The Charges

“In the matter of charges against Lieut. Joseph Sucek, which were brought before the police commission of the borough of Ridgefield, at a meeting held July 21, in the borough clerk’s office, the said police commission find Lieut. Joseph Sucek guilty of the charges preferred by Police Supervisor George F. Darrow.  They being as follows:

“The said Lieut. Joseph Sucek, having been assigned to desk duty, tour 8 a. m. to 4 p. m., July 18, 1930, failed to properly detain in custody one Charles Kirkland, arrested by Patrolman Arthur Kalbhonn [sic], Shield No. 3, charged with being a suspicious person and operating an automobile without an owner’s or driver’s license.  And failed and neglected to have said prisoner arraigned before the recorder at the earliest possible moment, as required by the rules and regulations under Part 5, paragraph 15, general rules.

“The said Lieut. Joseph Sucek having in his custody one Charles Kirkland, apprehended for a criminal offense, failed and neglected to properly safeguard said prisoner and released him from custody in violation of rules and regulations, part 5, paragraph 42.  Complainant,
“GEORGE F. DARROW, supervisor.

“Witnesses Patrolman Arthur Kalbhenn, Patrolman August Keil.

“The evidence and testimony proved that Lieut. Sucek neglected his duty and violated the rules, in connection with the release of the prisoner, Charles Kirkland, held on a charge of being a suspicious person and operating an automobile without an operator’s or owner’s license on July 18, at Broad and Edgewater avenues, Ridgefield.

Realize Danger

“In considering the evidence in this case the police commission realize the serious consequences which may result from having this dangerous criminal at large.  Kirkland at the time of arrest had a stolen car in his possession.  He also had four stolen tires and rims, had burglarized three garages to accomplish the theft of the tires and rims, and was sought by the Paterson police for many burglaries committed in that city.

“Lieut. Sucek, before releasing the prisoner, made no attempt to ascertain these facts, nor did he consult with his superior officer on the subject.  These facts indicate that the inefficiency of his administration of police business, as a police lieutenant, is detrimental to the welfare of the borough of Ridgefield, and to the discipline of the police force.

“Lieut. Sucek is hereby reduced in rank from lieutenant to patrolman, to take effect immediately.  He is placed on probation with the police supervisor as patrolman for a period of six months from date.  At the expiration of this probationary period the police commission will call on the police supervisor for a report as to whether or not he believes that, by proper application to duty, Joseph Sucek is qualified to be a superior officer in the department, or shall remain a patrolman.

 

Charge Officer Freed Prisoner

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on July 27, 2015 with No Comments

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.

1931 07 - Charge Officer Freed Prisoner p1Charge Officer Freed Prisoner

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.

Prisoner Released

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.

1931 07 - Charge Officer Freed Prisoner p2

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.

 

Body of Drowned Woman Found by Ridgefield Police

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on July 23, 2015 with No Comments

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.

1931 06 - Body of Drowned Woman Found - no date (aft Jun 1931)

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.

 

April 1931 – Police Efficiency from a Citizen’s Standpoint

Posted by Jenny Lanctot on July 20, 2015 with No Comments

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.

1931 04 21 - letter to Mayor re police efficiencies p1

April 21st, 1931.

To The Mayor
and Board of Council
Borough of Ridgefield, N. J.

Gentlemen:

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”.

1931 04 21 - letter to Mayor re police efficiencies p2

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.

ALD:b

cc:  Chief Darrow

Sergeant Appointment Scandal

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

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.

1931 04 10 - Gallagher named SergeantAugust 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.

1931 04 12 - Sgt appointment scandal

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.

 

 

 

Pop is Made Sergeant!

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

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%.

1931 04 10 - Gallagher and Kiel make Sergeant

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:

 

Patrolman Seniority
& Record
Mental Full rating
1-August Kiel 48-25 43-52 91.87%
2-W. Gallagher 47-87 43-25 87.40%
3-Hen’y Lustman 47-37 39-25 86.62%
4-Art-r Kalbhenn 44.25 37-00 81.25%
5-William Vohl 47-62 33-38 81.00%
6-John Paul 45.00 27-17

Clarence Davis,
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]