6. 1908-1910

Mayor Henderson reappointed Theodore Apfel as chief on May 4, 1908, John O’Mara as sergeant, retained the same patrolmen, and he named George Schanz as a new patrolman and M.J. Martin as a clerk in the office. The clerk’s salary was $40.00 a month. In November of that year William Walsh resigned and M.J. Martin was appointed to fill the vacancy while Don McIntyre was appointed as clerk in the office. Apfel was reappointed by Mayor William Walz in 1909, this being one of the few instances when a chief or marshal of the former administration was successful in gaining reappointment.

Patrolman M.J. Martin and Don McIntyre, the clerk, resigned on October 1, 1909. Ernest Bethke was appointed to Martin’s place but owing to the overdrawn condition of the police fund, the other vacancy was not filled, reducing the number of men in the department to eight. Bethke left the force in January 1910 and William J. Aprill was selected to fill the vacancy. It was during the year 1910 that the police department equipped patrolmen with electric flashlights.

Chief Apfel was again reappointed during Mayor Walz’s second term of office. In June 1910, Sergeant John O’Mara resigned after fifteen years of continuous service to the department. Prior to his joining the force in 1895, Sergeant O’Mara was a carriage painter and from all reports, a better than average carriage painter. He had a formula for mixing paint that would eliminate the necessity of giving a carriage the usual nineteen or twenty coats to obtain a smooth finish. The motor industry was in its infancy at this time and an automobile body manufacturer in Detroit heard of O’Mara’s formula.

A man from that concern was sent to Ann Arbor to contact Sergeant O’Mara. O’Mara gladly gave the agent his formula. When the official returned to Detroit and presented his acquisition, the concern, after studying the formula, promptly dispatched the official back to Ann Arbor with instructions to hire O’Mara. Sergeant O’Mara was reluctant to accept although he did consent to report for work at a stated time. On the specified day, O’Mara failed to appear at the plant. The official again returned to Ann Arbor and found O’Mara still in uniform. After some dickering, O’Mara again consented to report to the firm in Detroit, which he did in July 1910. He held a responsible position with the concern for many years.

Thomas O’Brien, who had been a patrolman for three years, was elevated to the rank of sergeant, replacing O’Mara and Gustave Meyer was named patrolman. Salaries for the patrolmen were raised at the start of the fiscal year, July 1, 1910. The sergeant’s salary was raised from $68 to $75 a month and the patrolmen from $60 to $66 a month.

The Council on July 4, 1910 received a communication from the Chief of Police “considering the advisability of procuring a motorcycle for use of police.” This was referred to the Police Committee of the Council and in August 1910 they reported as follows: “Your committee to whom motorcycle for police was referred, respectfully report that it is not deemed advisable to purchase a motorcycle but advise the purchase of auto patrol as soon as sufficient funds are available in the department.”

Up to this time, the only means of transportation owned by the department was a bicycle. This was generally an unclaimed bike and after a few repairs made on it, was used for police service. From 1871 to 1910 and later until the department purchased motor transportation, all major calls and complaints were answered by the police by renting a hack. The monthly expenditure varied from $5 to $25. The Polhemus & Walker Liveries, according to the records, furnished most of the livery service. An officer patrolling, on receiving a complaint from a citizen that required his immediate attention when the location of the complaint was at some distance, would stop a hack on the street and order the driver to go to the place desired. This practice was done frequently. One of the officers owned a horse and buggy and this was used during the daytime for calls.

There was no officer in the police station at night so when the police were needed, the telephone operator would ring a telephone located at the corner of Main and Huron Streets and by doing so, would cause a red light in the center of the street overhead to go on. If no officers were around when the light went on, any citizen nearby would start to look for the patrolmen and notify them that the light was on. The patrolman would then call the operator and get the complaint. If the nature of the complaint warranted his leaving his post, he would summon a hack and complete the call. The bicycle was parked near the light at night. The bike was not always in the best of condition and was only used for minor calls nearby.

Years later, when the telephone operator received a call for the urgent need for police during the night and the light on Main Street was not immediately responded to, she would call Prochnow’s Restaurant located on East Huron Street directly behind what is now the Ann Arbor Savings & Commercial Bank and until recently operated by Mr. Prochnow4. He would take the complaint, go out in front of the restaurant and beat a club, which he kept for this sole purpose, against an iron post at the curb. In the still of the night, this sound was audible anywhere in the business area. The patrolmen would rush to the restaurant, get the complaint from Mr. Prochnow and then call or commandeer a carriage.