Pop is Made Sergeant!

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


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]


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