April 1931 – Police Efficiency from a Citizen’s Standpoint

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.


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”.

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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

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