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.
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.
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.
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.