10. 1927 - 1931

The Police Commission submitted to the Council on May 12, 1927, a program requesting the adoption of the three-platoon system and thereby adding a third sergeant. Mayor Staebler vetoed the move after the Budget Committee of the Council had approved it and made appropriation for it in the budget for the coming fiscal year. However, the Council re-enacted and re-passed the resolution. The three-platoon system reduced the hours from ten to eight hours a day.

Nothing has been mentioned so far about the hours worked by the members of the department. Little information can be gained on this matter prior to 1900. At that time the men worked thirteen hours at night and twelve hours in the daytime with no day off during the week or the month. Vacations were earned after a patrolman had been on the force three years. About 1917 or 1918 the hours were decreased to ten a day and one day a month off. Later, two days off a month were given and about 1921, a day a week. In those days, a patrolman had one hour off for lunch and he most generally went home for that, except at night. At that time, officers patrolled the downtown business area, State Street, the North Side or Broadway Street, Packard Street at State and South University at East University. With the introduction of scout car patrol such places as State and Packard, South University and the North Side were eliminated as foot patrol areas.

The changing to the eight-hour shifts necessitated the placing of additional men. Eight men were asked for. Six were appointed to start on duty July 1, 1927 and they were William Hitchingham, Casper Michelsen, Roy Richter, Irwin Davisson, Clifford West and Clark Earl.

Other changes were also made. Sherman Mortenson was promoted to the rank of sergeant while the rank of lieutenant was abolished and the one officer in that rank reduced to a plainclothes officer. He resigned. S.V. Bartholomew was named to replace Frank Keihl. Eugene Gehringer started duty August 1, 1927 and R. S. Burman started in the latter part of September, thus bringing the personnel of the department up to the allotted twenty-nine men.

Before the three shifts were inaugurated, one sergeant remained on the night shift continuously while the other sergeant was always on the day shift. There was no changing. With the three-platoon system and another sergeant added, the men alternated and each member worked an equal amount of nights as days. A change was made the first of each month as it is today. Also, the officer’s day off is changed each month.

Clyde J. Hann [Hahn]8 replaced S.V. Bartholomew, who resigned on January 16, 1928. In May 1928 William L. Walz, a former mayor, was appointed to the Police Commission replacing George W. Kyer. Arnold Busch resigned October 1, 1928 and Harold King succeeded him on January 1, 1929. R.S. Burman left in February 1929 and Clifford Stang replaced him on March 1 [1929].

Donald S. McIntyre was appointed to the Police Commission in May 1929. Eugene Gehringer resigned April 15th and Herbert Kapp replaced him. Tim Fohey left on May 15th and was succeeded by Floyd Gerstner [Gentner]9. Clyde Hahn left in June and Eugene Gehringer returned to the department, replacing Hahn. Salaries were raised to $160.00 a month for patrolmen, effective July 1, 1929. This was and still is the highest salary ever paid to patrolmen in the city’s history.

Floyd Gentner left the force June 1, 1930, Ernest Pommerening replacing him on June 15 [1930]. Irwin Davisson resigned June 15th and Casper Enkemann replacing him on July 1, [1930]. John Osborne resigned to become the Under Sheriff under Sheriff Jacob Andres, the former patrolman and sergeant. George W. Camp replaced Osborne on January 1, 1931. Lawrence Leever was appointed to the Police Commission succeeding William Walz. Harold Gee left the service in June 1931, George Bessinger replacing him on August 3 [1931].

In this year the department fell victim to car thieves. One of the police cars was stolen from the rear of City Hall during the night and was recovered early in the morning in Detroit while being driven by two escaped convicts from the Detroit House of Corrections.