6. The 1960's
The 1960's were very turbulent times in most university towns and Ann Arbor was no exception. The Vietnam War brought out the worst, or best in people, depending on your perspective. Ann Arbor produced a number of famous activists and groups; some of the more famous activists were John Sinclair, Tom Hayden and Pum Plumonden. The Students for a Democratic Society and the White Panthers were founded in Ann Arbor.
These groups, activists and students were a source of great concern for the leaders of Ann Arbor and the police department. Most people who held a position of power in the community grew up during the depression and many of the men had served in the Armed Forces during World War Two and the Korean War. To say that there was a mistrust between the two groups would be a slight understatement.
During World War Two men flocked to sign up to fight for their country. Seeing men of the 1960's and 70's protesting against the Vietnam War, their country and fighting the draft was unconscionable to most of the men of the Ann Arbor Police Department.
These two very different groups obviously did not mix very well during this time of upheaval. Free love and experimental drugs were attitudes and problems never encountered before on such a large scale. Throw in the Civil Rights movements and you can see what a volatile situation it was during the latter part of the 1960's. Luckily, the police department was led by two very able police chiefs during this time. I believe the city was lucky to have Chiefs Barney Gainsley and Walter Krasny heading the department during these turbulent times. These two men were not prone to over or under reaction and the city benefited from their leadership.
The 1960's began under the leadership of Chief Enkemann. On May 12, 1960, Chief Enkemann announced his retirement to a surprised command staff, which ended 30 years of service with the Ann Arbor Police Department. In his resignation letter he stated, “I feel the time has come to step aside and let someone else assume the responsibility of chief. I have enjoyed every minute of my 30 years with the department. I have tried to build an organization of which the people of Ann Arbor could be proud. This, the people will have to judge.”
He retired on July 1, 1960, after 16 years as chief and 30 years with the department. Chief Enkemann was a very popular, able chief and in my opinion, was one of the best the department produced.
When Chief Enkemann joined the department the starting salary was $1800 a year. The department consisted of 28 officers and when he retired the sworn strength was 97. Some of the chief's major accomplishments were the establishment of the Youth and Traffic Bureau and a criminal record system. He emphasized ongoing training for the officers in an effort to bring professionalism to the department.
Without question, his proudest accomplishment was the establishment of the police department's outdoor shooting range on Huron River Drive. While this occurred before he was chief, it was his efforts that led to the creation of it.
Mayor Cecil Creal suggested to city council that Chief Enkemann be allowed to keep his two departmentally issued service revolvers, after his retirement. This was approved by city council and the chief retained the weapons that he had carried for so many years. His son, Jack, still has these weapons.
In one of his last official acts as Chief of Police, he wrote a memo to the employees of the department which stated, “I want to express my deep appreciation for the help which you have given me during my term of office as Chief of Police. Without your help I would have been a complete failure and it's difficult to say good-bye to such a grand group of employees. May I wish you all the best of everything.”
Appointment of Chief “Barney” Gainsley
On May 31, 1960, City Administrator Guy Larcom, announced the appointment of Deputy Chief Barney Gainsley to chief of police. The appointment was quickly approved by city council.
Chief Gainsley was hired by the department on April 5, 1935. As he worked his way through the department he became known as a crack investigator, assigned the department's toughest cases. Due to his hard work he was promoted to sergeant in July of 1941, Lieutenant in 1944, Captain in 1946 and Deputy Chief in 1959. He retired from the department in 1966, after 31 years of service. In his new position of police chief, he received a salary of $8,627 a year.
Chief Gainsley began his first day of work as chief on July 1, 1960. He reported to work at 12:30 a.m., to begin his work day with a meeting with his midnight command staff.
This had spoiled the plans of his family however, who had planned to surprise him with a new watch at the beginning of his work day. They did not think he would be so eager to start his first day as chief, just after midnight.
Shortly after his appointment there were several promotions within the department. A “disturbed citizen”, (believed to be an officer passed over for promotion or a family member) wrote to the Ann Arbor News to complain about the promotional process. This “disturbed citizen” wrote that the results of the process were “rigged, prejudiced, political, religious or the result of bad administration.”
The writer believed that the citizens of Ann Arbor should demand answers as to how the recent appointments for the new command officers were made.
The Ann Arbor News printed an editorial that supported the police department's promotional process, which were based on oral interviews, evaluations and written tests.
They stated, “Whenever there is competition for promotion, there's certain to be disappointment among those who lose out. Sometimes this disappointment turns into bitterness. It appears something of this sort lies behind the charges made in the letter from “Disturbed Citizen.”
I have found many instances of officers, officers' family members or unidentified persons writing to the Ann Arbor News about complaints within the police department. Morale has always seemed to be an issue, as an officer's wife wrote in a letter to the editor in April of 1961.
In her letter she complains of the low wages that officers made and the fact that any officer who “butters up” command does not need to be a good officer. She also writes how men are “encouraged to gossip, as there can be no unity among the men if there is discourse among them.” She went on to say that the department “pays no attention to the suggestions, desires or complaints of the men. If the officers take their complaints to the public, they risk losing their jobs.”