Salina Police Department
In 1870 the Board of Trustees voted to make Salina a city of the third class and a mayor and 5 councilmen were elected. The new board of Trustees created a Marshal’s position. The Marshal hired special police forces as needed due to the incidents such as cattle drives, desperadoes, impending trouble with the Indians, or parades and in 1903 a visit by President Roosevelt. The Union Pacific pulled into the depot that cold day in May to a large crowd of townspeople, including all the school children that attended in body. According to Charles Banker’s commission meeting notes, his opening remark to this crowd of bundled on lookers was “This reminds me of a big football game.”
L.M. Tuttle was Marshal from 1878 to 1884. Although the city records show L.M. Tuttle was the first Marshal, other records indicate he was Deputy City Marshal in 1873. Who the Marshal was remains a mystery. He became famous in this section of the country as a courageous, determined, capable officer. When the Marshal era officially began, whom better to hold the position than this popular individual? No one could handle more effectively desperate/dangerous men, and his courage became almost proverbial.
Albert Southwick – Marshal from 1885 to 1886
James Chace – Marshal from 1887 to 1888
The Salina Journal of March 15, 1888, reported that the police suggested the merchants keep at least a gas jet burning throughout the night in their place of business, that they may be better enabled to detect any operations of burglars about such premises.
R.J. Williams – Marshal three times: 1889, 1892 and 1900
J.D.M. Conrad – Marshal 1890
The Salina Republican reported on August 29, 1890, that the police wished the Salina Republican newspaper to warn the people in west side to not hitch their cows where they could get on the walks or streets. For if they persist in so tying their stock, arrests will follow.
J.G. Schwartz – Marshal 1891
It was suggested in the Salina Republican of June 5, 1891 that a purse of $10 be made up for the policeman who kills the largest number of dogs within the next thirty days.
An article in the Salina Republican of July 31, 1891 reported the citizen’s displeasure with drunkenness. Salina officers captured a joint keeper, beer, whiskey and all. The joint was cleared out, the beer was spilled, and the whiskey wasted its strength on the shinning sand of the creek bank.
The Salina Republican of September 18, 1891 reported that police were kept active clearing the sidewalks of property, produce, machinery, etc. for sale. The law allows storekeepers a space of three feet, but no more, to display their wares.
George Meyer – Marshal twice: 1893 to 1894 and 1912
It was apparent in the Salina Journal article of April 14, 1893 that the citizens were intolerant of attacks on women. The article titled Mob Law advises that John Hudson was arrested Sunday night on the charge of assaulting Mrs. Frost. The jail was attacked Monday night by a mob from Niles and neighboring towns set on lynching Mr. Hudson. Hudson was taken from jail to Main Street but was quickly rescued by the citizens of the town and scheduled for trial.
An article dated April 21, 1893 in the Salina Journal reported that Dana Adams was lynched when taken from the officers while on his way to the penitentiary.
E.A. Benjamin – Marshal 1895 to 1896
The Salina Journal of April 16, 1896 reported that for the first time in many months Sheriff Malmgren’s unpopular boarding house is totally without patrons. The jail is empty.
J.A. Gilbert – Marshal 1897 to 1899
William Thompson was Marshal from 1901 to 1904. Records also indicate he was Marshal in 1898 and 1917. Two items of interest found about this Civil War veteran, concerns the arrest of a drunk in a saloon and the escape of 3 other drunks in his charge. The first happened when the drunk in the saloon made a dash for the Marshal. Thompson drew his gun and aimed it at the charging drunk. He didn’t stop and so Thompson fired at the drunk, intentionally missing him, but it had the proper affect. The drunk submitted to the arrest.
The second incident occurred when Thompson brought three drunks into city hall to face the judge. While he was waiting for the judge, the drunks slipped out a window, jumped to an adjoining roof and then to the street, making what they thought was a great escape. Thompson, noticing what had happened raced out of the building and recaptured them as they came around the corner of Fifth Street.
The Salina Journal of April 13, 1901 reported one of the most daring burglaries ever committed in the city. The unknown thieves smashed in the front window of the F.K. Bairer’s Jewelry store, and stole several gold watches. The burglary was so bold that it caused unusual comment and sarcastic remarks were heard concerning the inadequacy and inefficiency of the diminished police force.
Dave Beard – Marshal 1905. By 1905 records indicate the Marshall now had three policemen assisting him.
C.G. Brady – Marshal 1906
George W. Thoms – Marshal 1907 to 1911
The Salina Journal of February 15, 1911 reported that police issued a warning, “Notice to roller skaters; don’t hang on the rear of autos, delivery wagons and other vehicles.”
George Meyer – Marshal 1912
J.H. Tullis – Marshal 1913
C.H. (Howard) Burke – Marshal 1914 to 1917. Burke was well known for the gunfight at Calderon’s place in 1917 where John Stonebraker was shot. (See story in Fallen Heroes section.)
During the Marshal years there were no blotters, investigation reports or “official records.” Crimes were committed, ordinances were violated and the marshal or his men would track down the villains, charge them, lock them up, collect the fines or bring them to trial. The latter was a rare occurrence.