Chief Ross made his first monthly report last week and it makes a favorable showing of the newly organized department. Number of arrests: 14, intoxication, 10, assaults in the third degree, 2, others, 2. Convicted 12, discharged, 2, fines imposed $38, collected $22.
-Fulton Patriot, July 2, 1902
WANTED BY FULTON PD: 93 Years Ago
Daisy Doyle was wanted by Fulton Police for an escape in 1909. Chief W. H. Ross sent post cards to other police agencies, offering a $25 reward for her capture. The type-printed post card was obtained by a collector, Nick Todaro, of Centereach, New York who collects historic post cards. The card (reproduction pictured below), addressed to the Chief of Police in Cooperstown, does not tell why she was in jail.
For the capture of Daisy Doyle, alias Mahar, who escaped from the Fulton city jail on the night of August 25th, 1909. She is described as follows: Height, about 5 feet; weight, about 105 lbs.; age, 18 years; blue eyes; spare nose; light complexion; light brown hair; spare face; teeth in good condition; nationality, American. She wore either a white or blue suit, having both in her possession when last seen.
If located, arrest and wire me.
-W. H. ROSS,
CHIEF OF POLICE, FULTON, N.Y
OFFICER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT: 65 Years Ago
William A. Pare of 308 Park Street has become the first policeman to apply for a pension under the state retirement system. Pare will retire by virtue of the age clause which permits members to retire at the age of 60 years. He is 64. The officer, who was one of the original group appointed when the city charter became effective June 1, 1902, is the only member of the original force still serving. It is expected that Motorcycle Patrolman James Tobin will take Pare's assignment when he recuperates from injuries received recently when he was thrown from his machine while chasing a speeder.
-Fulton Patriot, Sept. 9, 1937
SHOTS FIRED: 63 Years Ago
The sharp reports of a policeman's service revolver were heard in the sixth ward about midnight Thursday when Patrolman Seymour Cole attempted to halt two suspicious characters. Cole saw two men peering in the windows of the Collins Garage on North First Street. The place was recently burglarized and has been under close police observation. While approaching the men, the latter became aware of the patrolman and took to their heels. Pursuing the two across lots Cole ordered them to halt and when they failed to heed the warning fired two shots. The men continued and became lost to the patrolman at the corner of North Second and Seneca Streets.
-Oswego Palladium Times, May 20, 1939
We are always seeking new exhibits and scrapbooks from the families of former police officers. If you can help us, send us an e-mail (form appears below).
Left: Capt. Thomas Alnutt, one of Fulton's first police officers. Photograph provided by grandson, Tom Alnutt.
Above: 1930 photograph provided by James Zarichny. Left to right: Harry Holden,
Edward Bressett and James Tobin standing next to a 1929 Model A Ford.
A few interesting items of police equipment were recently found in storage at the Fulton Police Department. In the picture at left, a brass-handled, wooden barreled "billy club" was discovered. (Click on photograph for larger image). The club has a leather strap attached at the top - the club measures about 8" in length. Although no U.S. Patent number is imprinted, there is a stamping on the brass handled indicating that the club was patented in September, 1925. Upon closer inspection, there is a spring-loaded knob at the top which "cocks" a firing pin inside the brass handled. The wooden barrel can be unscrewed from the brass head, revealing a firing pin. The firing pin is actuated by a button on the handle - the button has a security device that slides over the button, apparently to prevent an accidental discharge. At the "muzzle end" of the club is a brass piece. The "chamber" created by the wooden barrel smells of gunpowder, but does not appear of being able to fire a directed projectile. Some of us suspect that a discharge of this item could have been an "attention getter", and perhaps used defensively by a discharge of gunpowder residue.
Another item we found was an "Iron Claw." This device was used sometimes as a controlling device or "come-along". It's appearance is consistent with a single loop of a handcuff set. The opening and closing mechanism is controlled by the handle on top. The item pictured here is in very good condition.
And finally the "sap", "slapper" - is a leather-clad device with a leather loop on the top for carrying. The handle is spring-loaded and the end is made of lead.
Other devices and instruments have replaced these tools such as pepper spray and collapsible batons. Night sticks, a traditional item carried by police officers for more than 100 years, are still carried by some officers. Got a comment?
MORE INFORMATION ON THE FIRING BRASS HANDLED BILLY CLUB SHOWN ABOVE - In an old newspaper article believed to be of the 1933-1934 era, the billy club pictured above was described as being carried by police on night beats. The article said, "they have been used to disperse gangs of gamblers." The story also indicated that these clubs fired small cartridges. We have no information on the types of cartridges that would have been used in these small clubs although it is likely that they would be quite similar to a blank cartridge.
In the summer of 1942, a married Fulton man began a relationship with another woman. The man's wife apparently had enough of her husband's behavior when she walked into the bathroom to find her husband and the woman having sex. In his interview with Officer Fred Casey, the man admitted going to bed with both his wife and the 'other woman.' The man told Officer Casey, "My wife came in and caught us and she told me to get my clothes on and come to the Police Station. I got dressed and came to the Police Station." He was charged with adultery.
On August 29, 1951, Isadore Fishman, age 37 and a seaman for the M.S. Michigan & Atlantic Steamship Company of New York City, was arrested by Fulton Police for assault in the first degree after fighting with Manuel Sliva, knocking him off a boat. Sliva's body was later found in the Oswego River. On October 18, 1951, the case was 'no billed'.
The Fulton Police Department was organized in 1902 when the Villages of Oswego Falls and Fulton combined to form the City of Fulton. The Village of Oswego Falls originally incorporated in 1853, and the Village of Fulton incorporated on May 29, 1835. The City's first election occurred on April 15, 1902. At the time, the population of Fulton was just under 10,000. Prior to the incorporation of the City, the Villages were patrolled by constables. In that era, constables were compensated on a quota basis - based upon the number of arrests that they made. Times, of course, have changed and arrest quotas no longer exist.
When first formed, the Police Department had six officers. The first Chief of Police was William S. Ross, who served as Chief from 1902 until about 1914.
The Fulton Police Department continues its proud heritage and traditions. Today, the Department has 37 sworn police officers and support staff. Additionally, the Department administers traffic control, school crossing and animal control functions for the City, bringing the total number of employees to 47.
Watch this page as we profile various pieces of our history. We are preparing to celebrate our centennial anniversary in 2002, and will be writing about our people, programs, equipment and highlighting past cases. For instance, you can read about the largest drug seizure in our history in the August 16, 1922 report that appears on this page.
Special Policemen & Uniform Specifications of the Past
The Fulton Police Department was formed in 1902 when the villages of Fulton and Oswego Falls merged. As we near our centennial anniversary, it is interesting to look back at our roots.
Since its inception, the police department has been governed by a Board of Fire and Police Commissioners. Today, the Board oversees policies, guidelines and goals of the departments as well as being the appointing authority for the selection of the police officers and for the promotion of officers within the department.
In the early 1900's, the Board had the power to appoint special policemen upon request of anyone who could demonstrate a need for them. The pay? Two dollars a day. The Board could also direct the city's firemen to act as special police.
The uniform of the Fulton Police Department is what is considered to be a traditional police uniform: dark blue slacks and shirt with a 8-point hat. Although we consider this to be traditional, there have been changes over the years. Here are the uniform specifications in 1929:
"The dress shall be a double-breasted frock coat, the waist to extend to the top of the hip, and the skirt to within one inch of the end of the knee; two rows of police buttons on the breast, eight in each row, placed in pairs, the distance between each row five and one-half inches and the bottom; stand-up collar, to rise no higher than to permit the chin to turn freely over it to hook in front at the bottom, cuffs, three and one-half inches deep, and to button with three small buttons on the under seam, two buttons on the hips. The cap of navy blue cloth and of the form and pattern in the office of the Commissioners, having a band of dark blue velvet, with a gold-embroidered wreath in front, encircling a silver star."
Police work has changed since 1902, but, in many ways, it has stayed the same. The pride, dedication and professionalism that prevailed at the turn of the century continues as we approach the new millennium. The officers of the Fulton Police Department continue to serve with pride and excellence.
The City of Fulton seal is based upon the unique "I-beam sculpture" by Al Wilson. He used a 6000 degree cutting torch to build the steel and brass Eagle of Justice which forms the heart of the City’s seal. This large sculpture was mounted in the City Courtroom and Common Council Chambers at the Municipal Building in 1969 and remains there today. The artwork and design has been incorporated into the City’s official seal and is displayed upon official documents, vehicles and uniforms of the City of Fulton. (Take a look at the badge at the top of the page - you'll see that we've used this design in the official badge of the police department.....)
As we enter the new millennium, it is interesting to reflect upon our history. For the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, its history began in 1901, one year before the City of Fulton was organized. A few years ago, an original copy of the Chief’s Association Convention Book was found in the Fulton Municipal Building. The book, from 1915, gives us some insight as to the state of policing and police administration in the early 1900's. At the time, Fulton Police Chief Edward Dyer was a member of the New York State Chief’s Association. The following sections highlight some of the discussion at the 1915 convention held in Watertown.
Chief Edward Singleton of Watertown addressed the convention on the topic of prison farms. Singleton said, "I believe every penitentiary and county jail should have connected with them a prison farm. The supervisors of each county should furnish a farm for that purpose where such prisoners could be taught discipline, not by torture and cruel methods, but by a system of acquired confidence and the showing of the advantages of its observance, the same as in the ordinary walks of life outside the prison walls."
Come See Our New Traffic Signal
The Mayor of the City of Kingston also addressed the convention as it would be his City that would sponsor the following year’s Chief's convention. Mayor Palmer Canfield, Jr. invited Chiefs to see their modern police signal system. There was a lot of discussion about traffic at that time. Signals were "state of the art", and traffic regulation was the topic of many discussions. It appeared that there was a strong representation from New York City Police who, of course, would have seen a lot of this nation’s first traffic congestion.
Handcuffs For Every Officer!
Let’s talk about restraints. Even though handcuffs had been around for some time, they were also discussed at the convention. Chief Regan of Buffalo commented, "I think every policeman should have a pair of handcuffs and use them. It don't do much good to get the man if he gets away." He added that every policeman in Buffalo was going to have them.
Source: Official Manual and Convention Report, New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, (1915)
CITY OF FULTON, N.Y.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
BUREAU OF POLICE
EDWARD J. DYER CHIEF OF POLICE
ON SUNDAY AUGUST 16 I922.
JULIUS RENSBERG WAS BROUGHT TO THE POLICE STATION ABOUT I2;I5 P.M. BY A.S.PAIGE OF THE ARROWHEAD MILLS AND I WAS TOLD TO SEE WHAT I COULD GET OUT OF THIS MAN RENSBERG.
I LISTENED TO HIS STORY AND QUESTIONED HIM AND CAUGHT HIM LYING OR CONTRIDICTTNG HIS OWN STATEMENTS. I FRISKED HIM AND TOOK A WATCH AND 2 RINGS AND A MAHOGANY CASE AWAY FROM HIM WITH SOME LETTERS WRITTEN IN GERMAN. HE TOLD ME THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING VERY VALUABLE IN THE BALES OF RAGS. I CALLED THE CHIEF DOWN AND HE TALKED TO HIM AND I WENT AND HAD THE LETTERS TRANSLATED, THEY TOLD OF THE DANGER OF HANDLING THE SAME IN THE U.S.
WHEN I GOT BACK CHIEF HAD LET HIM GO OUT FOR SOMETHING TO EAT AND I WENT DOWN THE STREET AND BROUGHT HIM BACK. CHIEF HAD TRIED TO GET IN TOUCH WITH THE SKERIFF OR THE DISTRICK ATTORNEY BUT COULD NOT LOCATE EITHER ONE.
RENSBERG WAS TOLD TO COME BACK AT 9;00 A.M. WHICH HE SAID HE WOULD, and HE WAS LET GO ABOUT 8;00 P.M. AND WENT DOWN TO THE HOTEL AND ENQUIRED WHEN THE NEXT TRAIN FOR N.Y.CITY WENT AND HE TOOK THE 9;45 P.M. OUT OF FULTON.
THE STATEMENTS HE TOLD THE CHIEF WERE FAULTY AND LOOKED FUNNY SO HE DECIDED TO INVESTIGATE THE BALES. WE WENT AROUND TO THE ARROWHEAD MILLS ON MON.TUES. WED. & THURSDAY. ON WED. WE FOUND A PACKAGE OF DOPE IN THE CENTER OF BALE OF RAGS MARKED DC 27 N.Y. AND RECOVERED
556 Oz of cocain or hydrochloric
589 Oz of morphin or hydrochlyic
784 Oz of diacetymorphin or hydrochlorate
LeRoy L. Lewis
The above drugs were delivered to John Pallace, Collector of Customs, Port of Rochester, N.Y.
The above report is from the archives of the Fulton Police Department and appears above, as written, in 1922. This is the largest seizure of narcotics in the history of the Fulton Police Department. The drugs were apparently abandoned and there were no arrests in this case.