4. 1903 - 1907

On May 18, 1903 the Council formulated an amendment to the city charter recommending the institution of a Board of Police Commissioners. In June of the same year, the amendment met defeat as several other amendments were also submitted at the same time, which the mayor did not approve.

Charles B. Masten was appointed Marshal on May 1, 1905 succeeding Kelsey. The same four policemen were retained by Mayor Francis M. Hamilton. Also on this date, the mayor requested that the force be increased by two men. His request was approved by the Council and William Walsh and William Eldert, a former patrolman, were appointed. The department now had seven members. In October 1906 Marshal Masten was seriously wounded while attempting to make an arrest on the North Side. He was shot in the abdomen with a shotgun and still carries shot in his body from the fracas. Mr. Masten is one of the few living ex-chiefs of the department and one of the four members of the department to be wounded in service by firearms.

A reward of $500.00 was offered by the Council for the apprehension and conviction of the person guilty of shooting the marshal, this offer being later withdrawn. William Eldert was appointed acting-marshal while Masten was recovering.

Also in 1906, George Isbell died and was replaced by William Clark. Prior to September of that year, the policemen received their salaries once a month. A communication by the Board of Fire Commissioners to the Council requesting semi-monthly distribution of salary checks for the firemen resulted in the same for policemen.

Theodore Apfel was appointed marshal by Mayor James C. Henderson on April 24, 1907 replacing Masten. Robert Whitney was named patrolman in place of David “Doc” Collins who had been a patrolman for sixteen years.

Mayor Henderson recommended that the department be increased by two men. The Council moved that this recommendation be granted and on May 20, 1907 and the mayor almost completely changed the personnel of the department. David Collins was reappointed to the service replacing Robert Whitney who had been named Collin’s successor a month prior. Zenus Sweet, a former marshal, replaced Harris Ball, Matthew Max replaced William Eldert, Thomas Blackburn, the only colored officer ever in the department replaced William Clark and Thomas O’Brien and George Weeks, Jr. were named new patrolmen.

The personnel of the force then consisted of nine men as follows: Marshal Theodore Apfel, Patrolmen George W. Weeks, Jr., John O’Mara, David Collins, William Walsh, Zenus Sweet, Thomas O’Brien, Matthew Max and Thomas Blackburn. Prior to his appointment to the department, Tom O’Brien had been a member of the Fire Department for about two years.

A twenty per cent increase in salary was asked for in August 1907 but was disapproved by the Council. Also in that same month, David Collins resigned and this vacancy was filled by the appointment of a sanitary officer under the Health Department.

Every marshal employed several men each month as special police for certain occasions. Some of these men were ex-patrolmen or ex-marshals while others were citizens.

In October 1907, Marlend Howard (now the patrol sergeant) made his appearance in the department as a special officer. He remained in this capacity until appointed regular patrolman in later years. These special officers were paid by the city; however, numerous appointments were made during the previous years of special officers without pay from the city to serve at such places as the Opera House, Athletic Field and the University Campus.

The Marshal’s Report listed thirty-eight arrests, all misdemeanors, for the month of November 1907.

It was in this year that the City Hall was built and offices were moved from North Fourth Avenue to the present city building. The police department occupied the front office in the basement and was the first to occupy any of the new building.

In December 1907 George W. Weeks, Jr. left the department and was not replaced. This and the aforementioned vacancy reduced the force back to seven men. The main cause for not filling these vacancies was due to the distressed financial condition of the city.