These ‘suspects’ were some of their own
May 12, 2012 8:02PM
Chief Charles Blood (front, center) led the officers of the Joliet Police Department in 1888. | Photo courtesy of the Joliet Area Historical Museum
Updated: June 14, 2012 8:05AM
During some recent spring cleaning at the Joliet Police Department, some officers came across the oldest report in their archives.
And the suspects in the 1888 incident were Police Chief Charles Blood and Fire Marshal Frank Kramer. Blood and Kramer both had been appointed to lead their departments the year before by Mayor John D. Paige, who previously had been police chief and fire marshal.
The members of the fire department apparently approved of Paige’s choice. On New Year’s Eve 1887, Kramer was presented with a “handsome Meerschaum pipe and its case” by members of the fire department, the Joliet Republic & Sun wrote.
Later that night the chiefs were reported to have gone to Tony Schedit’s saloon with police Officer Walsh and Fireman Frank Langdon and called upon the proprietor to “keep open” past the midnight closing. Besides toasting the new year, the quartet gambled with Pat Curren and James “Knock ’Em Stiff” Fanning for $4 a game before going upstairs to play billiards.
The chiefs apparently recovered easily from the late evening because they were in the mood for even more revelry on the night of Jan. 2, 1888, according to charges brought to the city’s investigating committee by a citizen, I.V. Park.
Blood and Kramer began the evening by attending a “banquet” at Schall’s saloon, a “blowout” at both the Duso & Collins saloon and the “grand wind-up” at John Swanson’s saloon, where they “shot through the rear (door) and drew beer in an alderman’s hat and a patrolman’s hat.
All of those charges were filed under one count of drunkeness on the investigators’ report of seven incidents of official misconduct.
Blood and Kramer apparently wanted everyone to have a good time, Park claimed, as they “went from saloon to saloon (that night) proclaiming that they could remain open til after 12” — a violation of city ordinances.
Both men were accused of “habitual drinking on duty,” and Paige’s list of subpoenaed witnesses included “all the police men and all the firemen, and all the saloon men.”
But Blood and Kramer were not exclusively in male company. Jennie Cooper, J.A. Hanna and F.P. Murphy would be called to say they had been “consorting with notorious women and harboring them.”
According to the immorality charge, Kramer “confessed to Park that he was with Chief Blood with fast women but that he did nothing wrong himself. He also confessed that he and Blood were frequently full and that so far as he was concerned it would not occur again.”
And what would drinking and “consorting” be without fighting, which Blood also allegedly allowed Kramer to do with Officer Ragan ... inside the police station.
The pair were finally accused of “general incompetency” and “Everybody” could be called to testify before the committee.
Park also alleged the general drinking in the station was especially obvious in the night captain, who, along with Blood, received quarts of whiskey from a saloon owner for accepting the offer to have “the entire police force come in and drink as a body” one night.
The body apparently was given the holiday off as “all of the officers were off-duty Christmas night” and those who came in the next day were “all too drunk” to respond to any alarms.
And after all these infractions against decency had occurred, a malicious Blood had Park arrested without cause for bringing them to the public’s attention.
I.V. Park was the editor and publisher of the Joliet Daily Express, a local newspaper.
Next week: The investigation committee