Appointment of Chief Casper Enkemann

On November 14, 1946, the police commission appointed acting Chief Enkemann to permanent chief. He was hired by the department in 1930, promoted to sergeant in 1939, lieutenant in 1941 and acting chief on June 11, 1946.

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Chief Enkemann had many needs to fill at the department. The building itself was old and there was little money to do any repairs. The chief went to the police commission to ask for more room for the expanded juvenile unit and its newly hired policewoman, Jewel Reynolds. Officer Reynolds had no office space to interview juveniles or their parents.

Officers were very frustrated with the conditions of the police department and their cramped spaces in the basement of city hall. In many cases the officers did not wait for a maintenance person to do the repairs they felt were necessary, but simply did the job themselves. Officers painted walls, tore up linoleum and the chief himself painted his office. I cannot picture the same being done today.

The cities pension plan was approved by the voters on November 5, 1946, which enabled the city to be somewhat competitive in attracting employees. The city continued to lose a large number of police officers during this era, due to low wages. An officer's top pay was $2868 a year, low for the times. The economy was quite strong coming off the war years, so it was very hard for the city to compete.

As previously stated, great importance was placed on firearms skills and even the women members of the department were expected to excel at shooting. Ms. Ann Tapp was in charge of the departments license bureau and was a sworn officer. She had never fired a gun before being hired by the police department but took great pride in her shooting skills. Officer Tapp could often outshoot her male counterparts and in 1947 was second only to Chief Enkemann. During her career she won expert honors four times and was the department's top marksman once.

Christmas in 1946 was an ordinary one for the police department. While discouraged in recent years, citizens and businesses gave a large number of gifts to the department, which were divided among the officers. Most did this because of their admiration for the officers, but many felt they were underpaid.

Listed are some of the items donated to the police department during the Christmas season of 1946: over 1000 cigars, 75 cartons of cigarettes, 40 bow ties, 42 fruit cakes, 9 boxes of candy, $205, 36 boxes of Hershey Bars, 4 boxes of cologne, 1 portable Minerva Tropic Master Radio and 3 boxes of bubble gum.

Traffic problems were also a major concern in the 1940's, so much so that the department had a “traffic cruiser” to discourage violators. This vehicle was rigged with a public address system to enable officers to give “loud embarrassing reprimands to erring motorists.” The vehicle was manned with a police officer and a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. It was presented to the police department by the Jacee's in 1947.

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In May of 1947, the department issued a plea for the return of one of their quietest, but most important officers. This was a life sized metal sentinel that was placed in the street to guard school children that were crossing. Someone had stolen this sign from its post on Packard St.

This metal sign was of an officer holding up a “SLOW SCHOOL ZONE” sign. Captain Gainsley stated he wanted the sign returned to active duty because of the great influence it had in cutting down accidents near the school. This sign was distributed by Coca-Cola and one like it in good condition today is worth over $1000.

Maybe you have seen a sign like this and don't even realize it. On the corner of Beakes and Fourth Ave. sits this very sign. It has been painted green but this paint has faded over the years and you can see the original paint. The owner of this particular sign was employed by the school system in the 1950's and was given it as it was not being used and was found in a storage room. He stated he has had many people try to buy it over the years but has refused their offers. His sign was also stolen once and found on Miller near Seventh St.

Death of Officer James West

On June 17, 1947, the department lost Officer James West to a motorbike accident. Officer West was off duty on a motorbike when he crashed into the side of a car at the intersection of Fifth and Ann. He was thrown forward against the car door and suffered a skull fracture. The driver of the vehicle, Charles Staebler was eastbound on Ann, when he drove into the intersection striking Officer West. Ann Street should have had a stop sign, but the officers investigating the accident found it missing and believed that it was stolen, probably by teenagers.