Community policing defined early chief

PC-cops.jpg

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
November 13, 2013

Showing “‘Some of the Finest,’ Metropolitan Police Force, Kansas City, Mo.,” this postcard was published by the Elite Postcard Company of Kansas City, Mo.

The officers are posed in front of the former police headquarters at Fourth and Main streets in what is now the River Market area.

After humble beginnings in 1874, the department went from being simply a town marshall to a full-fledged police force, commanded by Police Chief Thomas Speers. (Speers is buried in historic Elmwood Cemetery.) No chief since Speers has had so long a tenure – during his 21 years serving Kansas City, Speers oversaw the change from what was essentially considered “frontier justice” to a professional police force. At the time the department was instated, Kansas City’s population was between 30,000 and 40,000 and was policed by about 30 officers. Beat cops at the time earned a whopping $75 per month. Captains earned $100 per month, and Speers as chief earned $165 per month.

By 1912, the city’s population had grown to about 250,000, and the department’s ranks swelled to 502 officers who patrolled the 10 districts of anywhere between five and 30 beats each. The police department even had its own matron, Mrs. Patti Moore, who oversaw women arrested for prostitution and vagrancy. Moore also helped officers find husbands accused of abandoning their families.

One interesting side-note about Chief Thomas Speers is that he very well could have been the father of modern community policing. Speers thought it wise for officers to proactively work their beats so as to prevent crime instead of reactively responding to calls from different areas of the city… a 125-year-old lesson modern day command staff could do well in heeding.

Comments are closed.

  • Cemetery vaults held waiting bodies in historic cemetery

    November 30th, 2016
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News November 30, 2016 In 1888 when the Forest Hill Cemetery was incorporated, it lay outside […]


    Americans give thanks nearly 400 years

    November 23rd, 2016
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News November 23, 2016 What we celebrate as Thanksgiving is traditionally tied to a three-day feast […]


    Polished beauty rode the rails

    November 16th, 2016
    by

    Billed as the first streamlined diesel-powered train between St. Louis and Kansas City, the Alton Burlington, Ozark State Zephyr graces the front of this linen era postcard sent to Meyer Supply Company of St. Louis on Feb 23, 1937. Built entirely of stainless steel, the train was the flagship of Burlington Railway…


    Iconic igloo inspires museum memories

    November 9th, 2016
    by

    If you’ve forgotten what the third floor of the Kansas City Museum looked like when your elementary school booked a field trip there, here’s a little refresher for you…


    When the center isn’t really the center

    November 2nd, 2016
    by

    Depending on whom you ask, the geographic center of the United States could be one of four different places, all in various midwestern states.


  • Halloween’s chilling origins

    October 26th, 2016
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News October 26, 2016 Halloween traces its origins to the ancient Celtic holiday “Samhain” (pronounced “sow-in”), […]


    Missouri army camp trained celebrities

    October 19th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Camp Crowder in Neosho, originally established as an Army Signal Corps training camp, was made famous by a variety of celebrities who spent time there during World War..


    P&L building lights up KC

    October 12th, 2016
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News October 12, 2016 Arguably one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the […]


    A royal treat since 1899

    September 27th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News The roots of today’s American Royal can be traced to 1899 when the fledgling event was referred to as the National Hereford Show.


    Swope mystery lives on while park thrives

    September 20th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News This card, titled “Entrance to Swope Park, Kansas City,” may have been sent by a prominent Kansas City architect of its day.


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    KCPS gets chance to impress DESE with James Elementary tour

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News December 1, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – James Elementary was one of three buildings in […]

    Mural installation at Scarritt Elementary almost finished

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News December 1, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Northeast News caught up with Kansas City […]

    Robbery suspect dies after officer-involved shooting

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News November 30, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – A Kansas City, Missouri police officer shot and […]