4. The 1940's

The 1940's started under the leadership of Chief Norman Cook. Chief Cook was very interested in advancing professionalism in police work and took a step towards this goal by attending the F.B.I. National Academy in Washington D.C. The F.B.I. National Academy is a rigorous training school for police executives and continues to this day.

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Chief Cook was the first Ann Arbor Officer to attend the F.B.I. National Academy and received a personal invitation from J.Edgar Hoover, Director of the F.B.I. At that time the F.B.I. sent an agent from Washington, to the applicant's place of employment, to conduct a background check to see that they met academy standards.

Chief Cook attended the eleven week academy, which began in April 1940, while Sgt. Sherman Mortenson served as acting chief. Under the rules of the academy, the students were required to conduct training courses for their departments following their return home. Chief Cook was very impressed with the academy and hoped to improve criminal investigations with the knowledge he gained from it. Chief Cook stated, “A police officer should be a gentleman in every case. An officer can accomplish far more by intelligence than by the old methods, such as the third degree. Attending such a school is like trading in a 1910 automobile for a 1940 model.”

One of the biggest proponents of Chief Cook attending the academy was the Ann Arbor News. In an editorial dated March 22, 1940, the News recommended that the police commission approve the appointment of Chief Cook to the academy. The editorial stated, “Ann Arbor has a responsibility which it must not neglect. The first job of the Ann Arbor Police Department is, of course, to protect the city. But it has another obligation. Our police department should be a model which other departments try to emulate.” On March 24, 1940, Chief Cook received permission from the police commission to attend the academy.

The Policemen's Ball

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Many times in my career people have asked if we had a policemen's ball. I always wondered about the origin of the Policeman's Ball and never knew what it was until researching this book. Interestingly enough, the Ann Arbor Police Department did have a Policemen's Ball from 1927 until 1941. This was actually quite a big event with approximately 1200 people attending the ball. The balls raised money for families of Ann Arbor Police and Firemen in case of a duty death, but more importantly for pension benefits, as the city did not provide a pension to the officers. The ball was discontinued in 1941, when the city voted to provide police officers and firefighters pensions.

Usually two orchestras furnished the music for dancing. University students attended the balls and permission had to be granted by the University of Michigan's Dean of Women, for Michigan co-eds to stay out until the danced closed at 1:00 a.m. Imagine today's students needing permission to stay out past 1:00 a.m.!

Death of Sgt. Edward Iler

On February 9, 1940, Sgt. Edward Iler died after having surgery for appendicitis. His appendix had ruptured, but initially he was recovering from the surgery without any complications. Sgt. Iler's condition worsened and the doctors could not save him. At his bedside when he died was his wife, Virginia, his mother Catherine, Chief Cook, Sgt. Enkemann and Officer Miller.

Sgt. Iler was only 28 years old but was highly respected in the department. He was in charge of personnel training for the department and directed instruction for all new recruits. Sgt. Iler also received the first broadcast over the two way radio system. Chief Cook stated, “Sgt. Iler was an outstanding example of the highest type of police officer. He considered police work a profession, not just a job. He was constantly studying and striving to improve not only himself, but the entire department. Not only the department, but the community as whole has suffered a great loss in his untimely passing.” Many thought that Sgt. Iler would have one day been appointed as chief. Officer Clark Ford was promoted to Sgt. by the police commission to replace Sgt. Iler.

Sgt. Red Howard

Sgt. Marland “Red” Howard was a local institution who worked for the police department for over 40 years. Virtually every person who frequented downtown knew who Sgt. Howard was. Sgt. Howard walked the downtown beat, which he loved dearly, for nearly 30 years. He had such a love of the beat that he did not want a promotion to sergeant, for fear of being relegated to desk duty. He finally accepted a promotion after nearly 30 years and was allowed to continue walking his beat until he retired in 1947.

Sgt. Howard lived with his family at 410 W. Washington and on the day of his 25th anniversary with the department, his family staged a surprise party at his house to celebrate this occasion. Most of the department, Mayor Sadler, Sheriff Andres and many city officials came to celebrate with Red because of the love and respect they had for him.

Sgt. Howard joined the department in 1907 and served under eight city marshals and police chiefs, starting with Marshals Jack Kenny and Frank Pardom, Chief's Thomas O'Brien, Lewis Fohey, Norman Cook, Sherman Mortenson and Casper Enkemann.

Red Howard was a legend not only within the police department but in the city. He knew and was known by everyone downtown. Sgt. Howard was a very big man standing well over 6' and weighing nearly 300 pounds. He was extremely strong and nimble for a big man, surprising many who would try to outrun him. Officer Duane Buaer testified to Sgt. Howard's strength when he saw him handle two drunks at a University of Michigan football game. “Red took both by the neck and took them up seventy two steps. He was a powerful man,” said Bauer.

When Sgt. Howard caught mischievous youths committing petty crimes, he was more apt to make them apologize to the victim, fix what they had damaged and send the youths on their way with a warning.

Sgt. Howard retired on September 12, 1947, at the age of 69 and died a year later.

Motorcycles

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In 1940, the police commission approved the purchase of a three wheel motorcycle. This motorcycle was purchased for the issuance of parking tickets. Prior to this purchase, issuing tickets was a two officer job. The department used a motorcycle/sidecar, with one officer driving and one officer issuing the tickets. Motorcycles were a primary means of transportation for the department in the early half of the century. Researching this book I have been surprised at how much they were utilized. I believe the main reason for this was the cost of a motorcycle, compared to a vehicle. Many officers were injured riding the motorcycles however.

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Officer Ken Payne was killed in 1946 in a motorcycle crash and I found many accounts of officers injured on them. Lt. Ogilvy was injured when his motorcycle went out of control as he was riding in a Veterans Day Parade in 1948. The kick stand went down and caught on the pavement, throwing the motorcycle out of control. Luckily he was not injured severely. Officer Katopol was injured on July 5, 1949, as he rode his police motorcycle into the intersection of Detroit and Fifth. A car made a left turn in front of him and struck him, throwing him off the motorcycle, leaving him with minor injuries. These are just a few of the many motorcycle accidents involving Ann Arbor Officers.

Some motorcycle accidents were unusual, as Officer Harrison Schlupe found out in 1941. Officer Schlupe was on his motorcycle, conducting traffic control for a parade. He parked his motorcycle on Fourth Ave. and Huron, but left it running as he closed the intersection, so the parade could pass by. A fascinated citizen walked up to the parked motorcycle, revved up the engine, which vibrated it and threw it into gear. The motorcycle hurtled riderless down the street with Officer Schlupe in fast pursuit. The bike eventually flopped down and began floundering on the pavement where it was apprehended by Officer Schulpe!

Train Derailment at the Michigan Depot

On September 15, 1940, a Michigan Central train derailed in front of railroad station on Depot, now home of the Gandy Dancer restaurant. Many do not realize that railroads were the major mode of transportation during this period of time.

The train was heading into the station at 30 mph when it began ripping up track near the Broadway Bridge. The trained continued until it derailed in front of the passenger station. The train started on fire and a transient, Walter Flinn, who had jumped on the train at its origin, was killed and burned beyond recognition. Officers Rolland Wurster and Frederick Young were waiting for the arrival of the train as they were going to make a money escort with train personnel. As they were watching the train come into the station they could observe it start to rise off of the tracks and then derail. All of the officers on duty responded to the scene to assist. Eventually several thousand on-lookers made their way to the train station.

The train burned while officers assisted an injured man who was underneath the bridge, near Broadway. This man, Edward McHugh, was severely injured as his arms and legs were badly burned, as he was trapped in the debris. He had managed to free himself and told the officers he was on the tenth car in back of the engine and did not observe anything unusual.

The fire department extinguished the blaze while the officers spoke to the engineer. The engineer, C.E. Kingsley, did not observe anything which would have caused the train to derail. He stated the engine just began tipping and finally derailed. After the fire was extinguished, officers discovered the badly burned body of Flinn.

Investigators were at a loss as to what had caused the derailment until a very observant citizen, Bernall Tindall, found a flattened spike nearby and turned it over to the railroad police.

An alert railroad officer, Captain R.R.Dwyer, observed Nicholas Katopodis standing near the origin of the wreck and took down his name. Captain Dwyer did not know what had caused the train to derail, but his experience told him it might not have been an accident. He spoke with Katopodis but had no reason to hold him and he left the area. Once the captain heard the train was derailed, due to the flattened spike, he advised the city police of his contact with Katopodis.

Sgt. Gehringer made contact with Katopodis and he initially denied placing the spike on the railroad tracks. Sgt. Gehringer was suspicious of his story and continued questioning Katopodis, who eventually admitted his involvement. He told Sgt. Gehringer that he was not trying to derail the train, but thought the train would knock the spike off.

Katopodis was taken to the train derailment and showed the officers the spot he placed the spike. This was the location the officers believed the original one was and it was clear to them he was responsible for the train derailment.

The detectives also found that Katopodis had recently been released from a mental institution. He was formally charged with the derailment of a train, which carried a life sentence. Chief Cook said the youth would probably be committed to a state mental institution, due to the youth's “mental backwardness.” On October 31, 1940, Katopodis was committed to a state mental hospital for life and was pronounced insane by the court.

Boy Scouts Assist Police Department

Police manpower was always a source of concern when a major incident occurred and the department often had to look to the public for assistance. On many occasions the boy scouts were called in to assist at these scenes.

An example of this occurred on June 24, 1940, when the scouts were called in to assist in the search of a missing person. Over 35 boy scouts searched for this missing person, who had been reported missing by his family. Officers could not locate the man and called in the boy scouts to expand the search area. When the scouts arrived they began searching through a section of woods on the city's southwest side. The scouts discovered the body of the missing man, hanging from a tree. Investigation found that he had been despondent over ill health.

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Construction of the Ann Arbor Police Pistol Range

Officers of the 1940's placed great importance on pistol marksmanship and wanted a pistol range of their own where they could practice and host pistol shooting tournaments. Since the city had little money to assist in this venture, the officers themselves undertook the task.

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With donated land, the department constructed its own police shooting range on Huron River Drive, near Bird Road. The range was started with a $602.38 appropriation from the city council. The cost estimated to build the range was low, as officers themselves constructed the range while off duty, with some assistance from prisoners of the county Jail. Sgt. Enkemann was in charge of the construction of the range and he was the driving force behind it. He took tremendous pride in the construction and completion of the range and was very sad to see the demise of it in the 1970's.

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The range was completed in 1941 and was one of the finest in the state. Officers had tremendous pride in the range upon its completion. While the appropriation was small, the officers were able to build two small brick buildings, one for the controls of the range and the other for storage.

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The range had 25 mechanical targets at which the officers shot their pistols, Thompson sub-machine guns and sawed off shotguns. For years, while a command officer and later chief, Casper Enkemann was usually the top shot in the department.

The top shot received gifts that local stores donated for the department's awards banquet, which was held at the end of the year. Prior to the completion of the range, and then afterwards, the officer with the best shooting score was also awarded the Clifford Stang Memorial Trophy. The winner's name was engraved on the back of the trophy.

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The award honored Officer Clifford Stang, who is the only Ann Arbor Police Officer ever murdered in the line of duty. The award was donated to the department by Prosecutor Albert Rapp, Justices Harry Reading and Jay Payne.

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In 1940, Officer Richter won the Stang trophy and Officer John Wagner was presented with a pen and pencil set from Mayer-Schairer, for being the most improved shot. Officers were forced to take this training very seriously. In 1941, an officer was fired for missing two departmental shoots in a row!

I was very interested in locating the Clifford Stang Memorial Trophy and searched for it for two years. I tried to find the last known winner of the award and contacted their family to see if they knew where the trophy was. Lt. Jim Tieman told me that a number of years before I started this book, many of the department's trophies were simply thrown away, due to lack of space. I hoped that the Stang Trophy was not one of these and searched the department for it, with no luck.

I also made contact with the family of Officer Robby Robinson, who was with the department during the 1940's and 1950's. Officer Robinson was known as one of the department's best shots and I thought that it was possible that he was the last holder of the trophy. Officer Robinson had passed away but his grandson, Jeff, hired by the department in 1999, was asked to bring in his grandfather's shooting trophies, to see if he had the Stang Trophy.

When Jeff brought in two boxes filled with trophies, I thought for sure I would find the Stang Trophy. Looking through the boxes, there were many wonderful Ann Arbor Police Department Trophies from the 40's, 50's and 60's, but no Clifford Stang Memorial Trophy.

Unexpectedly, during November of 1999, Sgt. David Strauss came into my office holding the Clifford Stang Memorial Trophy. Sgt. Strauss had found the trophy in a little used storage room in city hall. My hope is to one day display the trophy, a photo of Officer Stang and a synopsis of his murder, in a prominent place in the police department.

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The pistol range was not only a way to improve their skills, but the officers used it as an excuse to socialize. When the range was constructed it was on the outskirts of the city but the growth of Ann Arbor eventually forced the closure of it in the early 1970's. The site is now a city park.

I have visited the site of the range and one of the buildings still remains. On this building you can still see the words “Try Squeezing”, which was an instruction for the officers to practice good trigger control. The rest of the range area is overgrown, although there are still some old gun stands near the building.

If you notice on the flagpole in the opening ceremony of the range, there is a small plaque on the flagpole. I was working at my desk on December 16, 1998, when Sgt. Jatczak phoned me as a package had been dropped off at the front desk of the police department for me. The package was this plaque, which states, “Ann Arbor Police Pistol Range- 1941.” The plaque had been found by University of Michigan Professor Allan Feldt. Professor Feldt was helping a friend move, when he found the plaque in her garden. Her home was on Granger street and she has no affiliation with the police department. My theory is that a police officer once owned the home and took the plaque there when the range was torn down.

Chief Enkemann was very proud of the range and I am sure he would be happy to have the plaque hanging at the police station. I cleaned the plaque up and it is in outstanding condition. The following pages are photos of the range, taken at the opening ceremony in 1941 and at various times throughout it's use.

Chief Norman Cook Dies Suddenly

On July 20, 1941, the department lost its third chief in a row to an unexpected death. Chief Norman Cook died suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 42. He was also the third chief in a row to die in the month of July as Chief O'Brien died July 1, 1933 and Chief Fohey on July 20, 1939. At the time of his death he was vacationing with his family at their cottage at Base Lake. He had been with the department since 1923, was promoted to sergeant in 1926 and to chief in 1939.

Under his tenure the department upgraded its records systems, constructed the police pistol range and improved relations with the university. Chief Cook was also opposed to the “fixing of tickets,” which one could assume was a fairly common practice before he was appointed. He also believed that juvenile crime could be prevented if officers became friends with juveniles. He emphasized courteous conduct with the public and believed in modern scientific police work. He instituted the policy of police marksmanship, which required an officer to qualify at the range with a score of at least 60 out of 100. Any score lower than 60 would result in the officers removal from the department. Chief Cook was born in Saline and was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery. Chief Cook was lauded at his funeral service for his progressive approach to police work.

Sgt. Sherman Mortenson was promoted to chief, soon after Chief Cook's death. Officer Barney Gainsley was promoted to sergeant to take Chief Mortenson's place.

The War Years

World War Two saw many changes within the city. While it may be hard to understand, civilians thousands of miles away from the battlefields of World War Two felt the fear of this unstable period. When the war started, the police commission contacted the draft board to obtain deferments for those officers that were eligible for the draft. In a letter to the draft board the commission stated if those officers eligible for the draft left employment with the police department, the strength of it would be 28 sworn officers. The deferment was granted until 1942, at which time the draft board announced that it was rescinded due to the growing war.

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This was during a time when the department's resources were pushed to the limit, due to the protection of city plants producing war time goods. It was during this time that women took positions inside of the police department that were once reserved for men. While only male officers worked outside and made arrests, women established their presence in the police department, which would not cease, even after the war.

Interestingly, the police commission proposed the hiring of women to the city council and stated that they would continue to be employed at the conclusion of the war. Chairman A.D. Moore stated, “I have long believed that we should use women to maximum advantage in police department work. It is quite possible that the work assigned to these women will be handled better by them, and at less cost to the city.”

Due to fears of sabotage, armed guards were posted at factories in town that produced material for the war effort. Chief Mortenson conferred with the F.B.I. on how to protect these factories from possible sabotage. To prepare citizens for possible war emergencies, such as air raids, most large cities had a Civilian Defense Corps.

In Ann Arbor the Civilian Defense Corps was headed by Chief of Police Sherman Mortenson. As you can see by looking at the organizational chart of the Civilian Defense Corps, there was extensive work that went into it to prepare for virtually any wartime emergency.

Air raids were thought to be a real possibility and the city attempted to prepare for these with scheduled blackouts. These “test” blackouts were conducted regularly and only certain buildings were exempt.

When the first test blackout was held on July 16, 1942, at 10:30 p.m., only war producing factories were allowed to keep their lights on. People were ordered into their homes and were told to park their vehicles immediately, if they were traveling and the air raid sirens sounded.

This test was taken very seriously and once done, officials considered it a success. They could observe only four points of light coming from the city. Even the hospitals were subject to the blackout. For those that refused to cooperate they were threatened with misdemeanor violations under the city's blackout ordinance. These violations were punishable by 90 days in jail and a $100 fine. Even smoking was prohibited, as it was feared an enemy pilot could see the glow from the cigarette. During the blackouts, patrolmen drove through the city looking for violators. All lights, no matter how small, had to be extinguished during the tests, which normally lasted for a half hour.

No violations were issued for the first test blackout, but 24 violations were given after the second. There were numerous businessmen ticketed for not having the lights in their businesses off. Drivers who failed to stop their cars and shut off their lights were ticketed, as were homeowners that had lights on.

Soon after the war began, the Defense Corps appointed 550 neighborhood Air Raid Wardens. These wardens went to every residence in the city to inspect the homes and advise the residents on procedures that would take place, if the city was bombed by “enemy planes.”

The wardens did extensive work and research. Each one was assigned a certain section of the city. They were responsible for mapping out critical areas of their section, such as where high tension wires were, where invalids lived that would need evacuation, where fire hydrants were and other crucial information.

The city itself took steps to help in the war effort by collecting salvage materials that could be used in factories for war materials. The city provided sand for citizens which was to be used to extinguish incendiary bombs, in case of an enemy attack. If the city was bombed, sand was effective in extinguishing fires from incendiary bombs. Citizens were told to pick the sand up at the city municipal garage and store it at their homes in case of attack.

There was also the fear of sabotage of the radio equipment within the city, rendering communication ineffective. To confront this possibility a generator was purchased in case the radio system failed.

Rationing was also in effect during the war years. Automobiles, rubber products, food and gasoline were the major items that were rationed during this period. Automobiles were sold to workers with essential wartime job functions. There was a black market for many of these items rationed and the department was often called to investigate these illegal sales.

The rationing of gasoline also affected the police department as they were forced to reduce the amount of gas that officers were using, especially during 1943. The police commission decided to alleviate this problem by having minor complaints handled over the phone, instead of sending a patrol car to the scene. One patrol car was taken off the afternoon and midnight shifts and the officers were told to shut off their patrol cars when not in use.

When the end of the war was announced, citizens flooded the streets downtown. Two Ann Arbor Officers were walking their beats on State Street when the celebration began. They tried in vain to direct traffic, but the crowds surged into the streets. The crowd circled the officers and picked them up over their heads, passing them through the crowds.

One of the officers stood on the shoulders of the crowd laughing, pretending to be directing traffic. Another officer was flashing the “V” sign with his fingers, which stood for victory, as he was being carried through the crowd.

The Ann Arbor News stated, “Pappy Howard, dean of Ann Arbor's policemen, never grinned more broadly as he hand-wagged streamer be-decked autos along E. Huron, toward the bedlam of Main Street.”

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In 1941, the department only had three cars with two way radio capabilities. Although the cars had radios, beat officers did not. The beat officers had to periodically phone the police station to see if they were needed. The department's radio engineer, S.S. Sturgeon, was trying to perfect a radio receiver that the beat officers would carry. This radio, tested by Officer Barney Gainsley, did not have two way capabilities, but would enable the beat officers to receive radio transmissions. It would be years before a capable two way radio was engineered for the beat officers.

The 'Association of Patrolmen'

Labor problems were not hard to deal with in the early days of the department as the officers had no union or civil service protection. Officers were forced to accept the conditions set forth within the department or find employment elsewhere. Officers often complained privately about their working conditions, but the controversy over the promotion of Officer Robert Mayfield to sergeant, was one of the first times they went public with their concerns.

Officer Robert Mayfield had been with the department for a short period of time when he was promoted by the police commission to sergeant in April of 1942. This caused an uproar within the department, as many of the officers passed over for promotion had much more seniority than him.

The police commission made promotions solely on a vote by the majority of the three person committee. When the officers found that they had voted to promote Officer Mayfield, over many senior officers, they sent a stinging letter to the commission. In this letter, dated April 28, 1942, the officers announced the formation of the “Association of Patrolmen” of which Officer James Ogilvy was elected as Chairman.

The Association made a number of requests to the commission, listed verbatim from the letter;

  1. That promotion to any rank in the Ann Arbor Police Department above that of patrolman, should be based on seniority and competitive examination based upon rules as set up by a Civil Service Commission.
  2. That contemplation of a fundamental change in the department as to personnel, working conditions, promotions or any change that would effect the members of the department, as a whole; shall be bought to the attention of the group of members known as the “Association of Patrolmen,” to determine their opinion.
  3. That any action that is taken pertaining to the policy of the department that would affect the working conditions of the members of the department; the voice of the majority of the members of the department should be followed.
  4. That any member of the department, unless conditions absolutely forbid, should not be given preference to their day of leave; and that the day of Sunday should be granted to every member of the department in proper order; and that no member other than office personnel and detectives, may have more than two consecutive Sundays off or more than four in the fiscal year.
  5. That any person operating the police radio as a dispatcher shall be classed as a patrolman and shall not have any more privileges than those of a patrolman as to leave days.
  6. That any member of the police department must have at least five years of service in the department before he can qualify for a higher rank.
  7. That any question of deferment in the Army of the United States, a policy should be adopted whereas every man shall be given an equal consideration regardless of rank or position.
  8. Be it further resolved that the position of sergeant granted to Officer Mayfield is in the opinion of the undersigned an unjust act and created without due respect to the seniority and qualifications of various members of the department and that this act in itself, has given the final impetus to organize the Association of Patrolmen so that our rights will be respected.
  9. It is therefore our opinion that the position of sergeant granted Officer Mayfield, is not recognized by us and that it be revoked and that he be put in the same status as that of his fellow officers. It should be stated at this time, that there is no personal animosity between the men and Officer Mayfield for he is well liked by the entire force; but it is only a sense of justice and fair play that brings us to this opinion.
  10. It is also our opinion that Commissioner Saxton should not be re-appointed due to various unfair practices which he has performed, which in our opinion has greatly lowered the morale of the department.
  11. That any action taken against any signer of these requests, shall be considered as action taken against the group as a body.

The letter was signed by 21 officers.

Obviously the officers feared some type of retaliation for the formation of their association. Once the letter was received, the police commission held a meeting on May 1, 1942, to discuss it. They decided to uphold the promotion of Sgt. Mayfield, even after receiving a letter from him in which he declined it. Sgt. Mayfield wrote to the commission that his promotion has “hurt me more than I am able to state at this time.”

The commission also took offense to the insinuations that the officers would be retaliated against. They stated in the minutes from the meeting that they “expressed disapproval of the entire manner in which the petition was drawn up and handled, especially item 11.”

I do not know what became of the “Association of Patrolmen” as this was the only documentation of it I could find. It is clear that this association began the officer's movement towards some type of labor organization.

Police Officer Ann Tapp and Ann Vanderpool

I have found many conflicting accounts of who was the first female police officer in the department. Part of the problem was that the early female officers were sworn in like their male counterparts but assumed different duties, mostly administrative. During World War Two, many females were hired within the department for administrative tasks. These women were not officers however. The claim of first female officer probably belongs to Officer Ann Tapp, who was hired by the department in 1940 and worked for the department for over 26 years. While I know she was classified as an officer, I do not know what year she was sworn in as one.

I did locate paperwork which indicated that Ann Vanderpool was sworn in as a police officer on April 27, 1942. Ms. Vanderpool received the same pension benefits as the male officers but I could not locate any payroll records to find out if she was paid the same. While neither went out on patrol and both handled mostly administrative duties, there is no doubt that either Ann Tapp or Ann Vanderpool was the first female police officer.

The Kidnapping of Officer George Stauch

On June 15, 1944, at 6:30 a.m., Officer George Stauch was on patrol when he observed two subjects walking near the intersection of Stadium and Edgewood. He made contact with these men as he was suspicious about their activities. After questioning the men, he decided to take them into the police station for further investigation. He placed the men into the patrol vehicle and began driving to the police station. Officer Stauch obviously felt the two were up to some kind of criminal activity, but at the time could not substantiate what it might be.

What Officer Stauch did not know, was that these two men, Nelson King and Marion Buczynski, were escapees from Cassidy Lake Correctional Facility. Cassidy Lake was a minimal security detention facility, west of Ann Arbor.

As he transported the two to the police station, he was overpowered by them at Main and Packard. One of the men was seated in the back seat of the car and he grabbed Officer Stauch around the neck, choking him. The prisoner in the front seat then took Officer Stauch's service revolver from him, as he struggled to keep it in his holster. Officer Stauch was then held at gunpoint, while one of the prisoners took control of the patrol car. Officer Stauch attempted to signal a passing bakery truck driver to his plight, but the kidnappers observed this, punched him in the mouth and told him if he tried it again he would be killed.

The suspects then drove out of town to an abandoned farm in Ypsilanti Township. They stripped Officer Stauch down to his shorts, tied him up, placed a gag in his mouth and left him in the farmhouse. Stauch was bound so tightly that his hands and feet went numb.

At this point Stauch was clad only in his undershorts and shoes. After the suspects fled, he managed to roll out of the house and then get to his feet. He literally hopped over a mile down Crane Road, before a passing motorist stopped and untied him. Stauch was then taken by the motorist to the State Police Post and from there to the hospital for treatment of cuts and bruises.

The convicts had fled with Officer Stauch's gun, uniform and patrol car. One of the prisoners was actually wearing Officer Stauch's uniform, as they drove to Detroit, where both men were from.

By this time, investigating officers discovered the identity of the men and advised the Detroit Police Department that they could be headed to their city, as they had been seen in Dearborn, shortly after the kidnapping. Detroit Police then led an intensive search for the suspects and the missing patrol car, which they believed the suspects would abandon as soon as they reached their destination.

Both King and Buczynski had extensive police records. They had previously escaped from a juvenile home for offenses committed in their teen years. King also escaped during a trial in 1937 as he tossed his coat over the head of the officer that was leading him to the county jail but he was later recaptured. Buczynski and his father, Zigmund, were convicted in a street holdup and Buczynski was serving his sentence for his part in the crime when he escaped.

The next day the patrol car was discovered on Detroit's westside near the intersection of West Fort and Military. Detroit Police continued their search for the suspects but were unsuccessful, until June 26.

On June 26, 1944, Marion Buczynski attempted a robbery of Nates Diamond Bar, at 5601 Grand River in Detroit. Officer Ernest Bolt, of the Detroit Police Department, was in the bar off duty. He observed Buczynski produce Officer Stauch's revolver, point it at the owner of the bar and rob him.

Bolt then fired his service revolver once at Buczynski, who then fled the bar. Bolt pursued Buczynski into the street and fired twice more at him. Both bullets struck Buczynski, one hitting him in the chest and the other in the stomach. Buczynski died in the alley behind the bar. Near his hand lay Officer Stauch's service revolver.

It was later found, that prior to this robbery, Buczynski had robbed three other bars in quick succession. These holdups were successful and on the way to Nates Diamond Bar he stole a car, which was found near the bar. Once informed of the shooting, Officer Stauch, accompanied by Chief Mortenson, went to Detroit to identify Buczynski's body.

King could not be located until November 2, 1944, when he was arrested by the FBI in Wyoming, for impersonating an Army Officer. He was held in Wyoming to serve time for charges there and was not sent back to Michigan until 1947. King was arraigned on the kidnapping charge on March 19, 1947. King was convicted of the kidnapping and was sentenced to 25 years to life in the Southern Michigan Prison at Jackson.

Pilot buzzes Burns Park

An interesting case concluded on April 2, 1946, when a former navy pilot, David Baldwin, pled guilty to reckless driving of an airplane. Baldwin was buzzing Burns Park in his airplane, when nervous “housewives” called to complain. Baldwin was charged with the crime and fined $26.50. This was the first, and probably the only case, ever heard before the local court for airplane traffic.

Death of Officer Kenneth Payne

On June 4, 1946, Officer Kenneth Payne was killed in an accident while on motorcycle patrol. Officer Payne was on Washtenaw near Stadium, when a car in front of him turned into his path. Officer Payne tried to avoid the collision and swerved off the roadway. The driver of the vehicle, James Schulz, was turning left onto Sheridan and evidently did not see Officer Payne.

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Officer Payne was passing Schulz on the left and was abreast of him, when he turned, forcing Officer Payne off the roadway. As Officer Payne swerved, he left the roadway and careened into an embankment. The impact sent him flying from his motorcycle and he landed thirty feet from it. Officer Payne suffered a compound skull fracture, several broken ribs and a punctured left lung. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died eight hours later.

Officer Payne had joined the police department in 1941 and left for service in the military during World War Two. He had rejoined the police department in 1945. The day of the accident was his first day back to work, after a two week vacation. Officer Payne was married and had a three year old daughter at the time of his death. His wife was also pregnant and would soon deliver a baby boy.

When researching this book, it was found that the death of Officer Payne had gone unrecognized and was forgotten by the department. I became aware of it through an old newspaper clipping and was surprised that no one at the department knew of it.

Officer Andy Zazula made arrangements to have Officers Payne's name added to the Police Officer's Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. Contacting the family, however, to inform them of this would prove to be an arduous task for Officer Zazula. Mrs. Payne had remarried and her last name was changed, making the search difficult. Searching through old records at a local church, Officer Zazula was able to obtain the information he needed to make contact with the family.

Both of Officer Payne's children were extremely grateful for Officer Zazula's efforts and Officer Payne's son proudly attended the memorial service in Washington D.C., when his father's name was added to the wall.

Gambling Scandal Rocks Police Department

It is hard to imagine today, but gambling was a huge business in Ann Arbor during the 1930's and 1940's. A gambling probe of the police department took place in June of 1946, based on information supplied by local gamblers. The probe was the result of a year long investigation into gambling within the city. Seventeen people had been indicted on gambling charges, when the probe of the police department was ordered.

Chief of Police Sherman Mortenson and Detective Lt. Eugene Gehringer were accused of non-enforcement of gambling laws, taking bribes and permitting handbook operators to store their money in a safe at police headquarters. Circuit Judge James Breakey was appointed to act as a one man grand jury with Prosecutor William Brusstar assisting.

Judge Breakey began his probe by asking the police commission to remove Chief Mortenson and Lt. Gehringer from the department. The judge held a news conference asking the police commissioners to take legal steps to have the two officers removed from office. The officers publicly denied all of the charges.

On June 11, 1946, formal charges were filed with the court accusing Chief Mortenson and Lt. Gehringer with the graft charges. Both officers immediately filed for a hearing with the police commission, to defend themselves against the charges. Joseph Hooper was the chairman of the police commission and he granted their request. The commission was empowered to fire the officers and their actions were separate from the courts.

The police commission issued the following statement, “This is the first time anything like this has happened here. We naturally are deeply shocked, but we have sworn to do our duty and will let the ax fall where it may, whether it hurts anyone or not.” The police commissioners, Orlando Stephenson, Joseph Hooper and Herbert Frisinger, felt they had no choice but to immediately suspend the officers. As the department was now without a chief, Captain Casper Enkemann was appointed acting chief.

The charges stemmed from alleged instructions given by Chief Mortenson to “lay off” any investigation of gambling operations in the city. Specifically mentioned was the United Cigar Store, which was located at 118 E. Huron. The owners, Vernon Maluder and Wilson Haight, were also under grand jury indictment. These two were alleged to have been permitted to keep receipts, from their gambling operations, in the department's safe. Gehringer was said to have been a good friend of Haights. At the time of the incident Lt. Gehringer was the head of the department's detective bureau. The United Cigar Store was believed to do $1500 a day in horse betting, an extremely large amount of money at the time.

Specifically, Chief Mortenson was being investigated for refusing to order enforcement of gambling laws at these establishments and if orders were given they were half-hearted and never acted upon. Judge Breakey stated the numbers racket was rampant in the city and allowed to grow and flourish under Chief Mortenson's administration. The Judge further charged that Mortenson had received money and gifts from branches of the underworld for the protection he provided for them.

Chief Mortenson issued the following statement in denial of the charges. “Of course I am shocked at these charges and accusations which I most earnestly and emphatically deny. I have been a law enforcement officer for 23 years and felt I have earned and deserved the confidence and respect of my associates in this community. It has been my experience as a peace officer that even the most desperate law violator is entitled to his opportunity for a fair, impartial and just hearing. I shall expect no more and will be satisfied with no less.

Until the time arrives I shall have nothing further to say, except that I trust my friends will still keep on indicating their confidence and faith in me, as they have so generously done since this publicity was created.”

On August 4, 1946, the police commission hearing against the officers began in the council chambers. This hearing was somewhat unusual, as Prosecutor Brusstar was presenting the evidence against the officers. This hearing was strictly to determine their employment status with the police department, not to determine if any criminal charges were warranted. Up to this point the officers still had not been charged with any crime. Before the hearing began, Prosecutor Brusstar stated he had 37 witnesses who would testify against the two officers. Chief Mortenson was dismayed when he read the prosecutors witness list. He had no idea why some were testifying against him, due to little or no previous contacts with them.

On August 6, 1946, Police Commissioner Stephenson was giving his opening statement in the hearing against Chief Mortenson and Lt. Gehringer, when Defense Attorney George Burke interrupted him and read a prepared statement from the chief. This statement would shock the commission, as it stated that the chief did not wish to return to the police department in any capacity, no matter what outcome of the hearing was.

Stephenson then asked if a formal resignation would follow and Burke stated “yes.” It is believed this resignation was submitted to limit the scope of the hearing, so it could not be expanded to other possible charges. This backfired as the commission ruled that Prosecutor Brusstar could continue with the case as he saw fit. Chief Mortenson stated the resignation was not an admission of any guilt whatsoever.

While he resigned, he stated he would still fight to clear his name. He stated, “I have come to the conclusion that if I returned to my former position, it would be unjust to myself and to the men in the department. Nothing that I could do would convince certain people, who desire to think otherwise, that I was trying to do an honest efficient and capable job. The men serving with me would be subject to the same unfair suspicion and with that handicap they too, would be unable to do their best work.” The chief's statement was not a confession of guilt but he believed whatever the outcome of the hearing, he could not continue to run the department effectively. His resignation took place 23 years to the day of his appointment to the police department.

The hearing began with the testimony of George Whitman, owner of a pool room at 119 E. Ann St. He stated he had given Lt. Gehringer about $50 over a period of six months and this money was “just a present” and was never solicited. He asked Lt. Gehringer if it was permissible to play cards in the pool room and was told it was “all right if no money is involved.”

On cross examination, Whitman stated he once rented two parking spaces at the Armory from Gehringer, then an officer in the state troops (army reserves). Defense Lawyer Keyes claimed the money was for these rental payments.

Two other witnesses were called by the prosecutor, a barber shop owner and cab company owner, but neither provided any details of gambling. The cab owner, Carl Breining, did state he observed a bag handed to Lt. Gehringer in the O.K. Pool Room. Breining stated he observed a known numbers man, speaking on the phone and state “I have to get something for Mr. Gehringer.” Gehringer later entered the pool room and took the bag from him, although Breining could not state exactly what was in the bag.

The barber, Samuel Elliott, testified that a gaming room had been operating for eight years in the back room of his barber shop, at 209 N. Fourth, and it had never been raided. He also asserted that he had observed Gehringer go into the O.K. Pool room about twice a month. The pool room was across the street from his barber shop. Elliott did admit that he had been arrested by the police department for gambling.

The hearing continued the following day with the testimony of Howard Brown, who worked at the United Cigar Store. He testified that he observed another clerk take money and a slip from a customer, that he said was used to make horse racing bets, in the presence of Lt. Eugene Gehringer. Brown did testify that he did not see what was written on the slip however.

Sidney Smith, a former handbook operator, testified that he was employed by the cigar store for the sole purpose of aiding handbook operations. He stated the store did $1500 per day in bets.

Officers of the department were forced to testify against their own command officers. Officer Huizenga testified that Chief Mortenson told him “not to bother with the cigar store, because if they were raided in one place, they would probably open in another.” Officer Krasny testified that he had reported gambling at the store to Captain Enkemann, but that no action was taken. Det. Stauch testified that Lt. Gehringer told him that the gambling was small and petty at the store and the Detective Bureau had more important things to do. Det. Stauch denied that the chief had told him to “lay off” the cigar store.

John Jetter, owner of the cigar store, testified he paid Det. Gehringer $20 a month to collect on bad checks but this money was not a payoff for protection against police raids.

The only testimony damaging to the chief came from Nick Theros, an admitted numbers bet collector and reputed to be the head of Ann Arbor's racket operations. He refused to testify until he was granted immunity and the prosecutor agreed. Theros did testify, but under protest from Defense Attorney Burke. Burke stated that Theros was browbeaten into testifying and he had “heard someone drew a pistol on Theros” in order for him to testify. Prosecutor Brusstar denounced the accusations as “preposterous.”

When Theros did testify on Friday, August 9, 1946, he stated he had bribed Chief Mortenson with “between $180 and $200” during the years of 1941 and 1942. The money was paid to the chief in lots of $25 to $50 on five or six occasions.

Under cross examination he was unable to state where the money was exchanged and admitted he had no agreement with Chief Mortenson for any protection. It was further revealed he was under a psychiatrist care during the time frame that he allegedly gave the chief the money. Theros testified he was never threatened with a gun, as alleged by Defense Attorney Burke, but that County Prosecutor Rae wore one once, when he was being questioned by him.

Damaging testimony towards Det. Gehringer continued from Clarence De Luce, bartender at the Town Club. He stated he heard Gehringer tell the manager of the Town Club, Henry Charron, “Bill Haight (owner of United Cigar Store) is ruffled up about your booking bets and muscling in when he's paying protection.” He also testified that Det. Gehringer gambled at cards with other members at the club.

Sgt. Alfred Toney and Lt. Earl Clark testified that money from the United Cigar Store was in fact kept in the police department safe occasionally. Under defense questioning they stated this service was normal and offered without comment to any business owner that asked. Even schools kept their money in the safe when needed.

The prosecutor rested his case and the following were his major points of evidence against Chief Mortenson and Lt. Gehringer:

  1. A statement by George Whitman that he paid Gehringer about $50 in gifts.
  2. John Jetter, owner of United Cigar store, testifying he paid Gehringer $10 to $20 monthly as a gratuity for the collection of bad checks.
  3. Det. Stauch's testimony that Gehringer told him “gambling is small and petty and the detective bureau has more important things to do.”
  4. The testimony of Theros, who stated he had paid bribe money to Chief Mortenson.
  5. Statements by witnesses that Det. Gehringer was friendly with known gamblers and played cards with them.

Defense attorneys for the officers then put on their defense for them and began by calling Chief Mortenson to the stand. Under questioning by his attorney, and cross examination by the prosecution, he stated he “never took money from anyone” and “constantly sought to keep gambling in check.”

The chief further stated he had never “closed his eyes” to gambling. He denied taking money from Theros and stated “Department records show there definitely was something done about gambling.” The chief also denied that Officer Huizenga brought forth a complaint about gambling at the United Cigar Store.

Lt. Gehringer was next to testify. He denied that he or Chief Mortenson had ever permitted, or protected gambling in the city and he denied taking any bribes to do so. Under questioning from Prosecutor Brusstar, he asserted that he “always made gambling arrests when I had the evidence” and “never protected anyone.”

He denied with vigor the statement made by Howard Brown, clerk at the United Cigar Store, that bets were being placed there, in his presence. He did state he took money from John Jetter for collecting money for bad checks, written to the United Cigar Store. He said this is a service he gave to any business. As to Det. Stauch's assertion that he was told to “lay off” the alleged gambling operations at United Cigar Store, “I told him not to make lengthy gambling investigations when working on other cases.” Lt. Gehringer also denied being close personal friends with Wilson Haight, owner of the United Cigar Store, stating he knew him, but not socially. The defense then rested its case.

With the proceedings complete, the police commission met privately to reach a conclusion. After studying the evidence, they completed their report on August 22, 1946. The commission cleared Chief Mortenson of any wrongdoing, but ordered the removal of Lt. Gehringer from the department, because of improper, but not illegal conduct.

Chief Mortenson stated, “I felt throughout that there was no other decision the commission could make. I knew in my own mind that I had nothing in my record of 23 years as police officer and chief for which I must apologize. I wish to thank the commission for a fair hearing and my friends for standing by me.”

Lt. Gehringer also felt a measure of gratitude, while he was found to have acted improperly, he was cleared of bribe taking. He said, “The vindication on the sweeping charges of bribery, corruption, conspiracy and agreement with the so-called underworld of Ann Arbor is gratifying. The record of testimony certainly reflects the absence of any such misconduct on my part. The finding that I had disqualified myself in so far as my usefulness to the department, is hardly borne out by the record. My undisputed testimony is that I did have gambling, as well as all law violations under constant surveillance and would and did made arrests for gambling, when such violations occurred in my presence and in such manner that the arrests would be sustained in a court of record.

“The decision reached is a harsh one, under the circumstances and on the testimony adduced. However, it has been foremost in my mind since the grand jury findings were made public, that my usefulness to the Ann Arbor Police Department was then so seriously impaired, that it would have been impossible for me to have continued in my official capacity, regardless of the commission's decision.”

The commission ruled Grand Jury Prosecutor William Brusstar, did not present a clear and satisfactory preponderance of evidence to sustain the charge that Chief Mortenson accepted money directly or indirectly. They further stated that the statement read into the record on August 13, 1946, is equivalent to a resignation and “is hereby so considered.” While the chief may have been cleared, I believe it is safe to say the commission was not comfortable with what had occurred under the chief's “watch” and would not ask him to stay.

They explained the grounds for Lt. Gehringer's removal on three counts:

  1. That he had collected bad checks for compensation from a known gambler, when he knew such services could not be rendered by any member of the department for compensation.
  2. That his associations and connections with known gamblers disqualified him, insofar as his usefulness to the department is concerned in the enforcement of anti-gambling laws.
  3. That in instructing subordinates, he made it appear that gambling was of minor consequence and that it was not necessary to give it primary attention, when he knew that the enforcement of laws with respect to gambling was a matter of major consequence.

The end result of the hearing was the resignation of the chief and the removal of Lt. Gehringer. No criminal charges were ever brought against the chief or Lt. Gehringer. Obviously a very sad chapter in the history of the police department, but an interesting one nonetheless.

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.