Hang on folks, this is a long one.
EFFICIENCY INCREASE IN RIDGEFIELD POLICE CITED BY SUPERVISOR
Have Acquired Initiative and Learned to Accept Responsibilities
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.
The 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.
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 headquarters, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 vice, gambling, and a “shotgun squad.”