Efficiency Increase in Police – Part 1

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

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

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

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.