June 25, 2024

History of the Miami Police Dept.

Although Miami is now the hub city of a major national and international metropolis, it is relatively young compared to most large U.S. cities. This fact has allowed us to track the progression of law enforcement in Miami from the incorporation in 1896, to the present. The history is rich and interesting. In order to provide a snapshot of Miami’s law enforcement history, we will present excerpts of Phil Doherty’s recent book, “The Miami Police Worksheet”. The 230 plus short stories, all true, supplemented by numerous news paper ‘blogs’, follows Miami Police guys and gals through the decades to provide the reader with a condensed history. Some of the stories are copied entirely, others are summarized, yet others are omitted for space reasons.

Readers of this site who would like to enjoy the full stories in Chief Doherty’s book may obtain a copy from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or from the publishing house, Xlibris.com.

Also available in on-line format.

All book profits are donated to the MPVA Scholarship Fund.

Chief Phil Doherty, Ret. Miami P.D.



At the time of its municipal birth in 1896, Miami was just one of the small sparsely populated settlements of Dade County, with most of the city's inhabitants living in what is presently the downtown Miami business area, primarily on the north side of the Miami River. The F.E.C. railroad line had just been extended to Miami from Palm Beach the previous April.

Law enforcement in Miami prior to the 1896 incorporation, was provided by the Dade County Sheriff, who was headquartered in the then county seat of Juno, many miles north of the city, headed up at that time by heriff R.J. Chillingsworth, assisted by his Miami deputy, S.S. Puckett. The county area then also covered what is now Palm Beach and Broward Counties. The only local Miami protection was supplied by a night watchman, A.E. Froscher, in the business area, whose salary was paid for by the shop owners for keeping an eye on their property.

(Miami Metropolis- 1/5/1896)

On July 28, 1896, 368 male voters incorporated the new City of Miami. The voters present included 206 white men and 162 black men. Women still had not gained the right to vote at that time.

Young F. Gray, a twenty-six year old man with no previous law enforcement or other recorded civic involvement, was an employed dynamite expert for Henry Flagler's projects. He became the first Marshall of the young city, defeating S. S. Puckett by a vote of 247 to 97. Gray was immediately sworn in by new Mayor John Reilly the evening of the vote.

(Miami Metropolis -7/28/1896)

After Gray's election and prior to the necessary ordinances being enacted for him to exercise his office, he replaced Puckett as the Dade deputy, when the former resigned and announced his intention to repair to Orange County. (Miami Metropolis- 7/31/1896)

Marshall Gray made his first recorded arrest on Oct 14, 1896. Gray and Constable Frohawk arrested Asbury Duckett for the knife murder of Ben Worthy at Wood’s Saloon, north of town. The motive for the killing was a pool room bet. After a Justice of the Peace hearing, Duckett was ordered held for manslaughter. Marshall Gray took prisoner Duckett to the county jail in Juno to await Grand Jury action.(Metropolis-10/14/1896)

In late October of 1896, the Commission voted a salary of $50 monthly for the City Marshall position and noted that he would always be on duty. At that meeting, Marshall Gray appealed to the Commission to provide him one other man to handle the city's sanitation duties.

In early December that year, a contract was awarded to D. Merritt to build a city jail at the cost of $771. The jail was completed by Christmas day with the police on the first floor and city hall above it.

Gray was the only Miami policeman until 1898, pulling his goat-drawn wagon, collecting stray dogs and unwanted law breakers in the City of 1,500. He was also the building inspector, street superintendent, sanitary inspector and tax collector.

Marshall Gray, after a fairly uneventful first year, was re-elected without opposition in October of 1897. One of the few stories of that first year was that Wm. Lavender, a cook employed by Gray to prepare meals for prisoners, was arrested for stealing Marshall Gray's shoes, hat and revolver, for which he was sentenced to 60 days confinement. (Miami Metropolis- 5/14/1897)

Gray received 112 votes in his reelection bid, with barely only 115 voters participating out of the 451 voters registered. Gray served three one-year terms before moving back to becoming a farmer in the town of Union, Spaulding County, in west-central Georgia. He died in 1944 at the age of 74.

(US Census, City of Miami Publications, Miami Metropolis--8/25/1905)

Gray was replaced as City Marshall by the election of R.S. Flanagan.

Editor's Note: Although the principal subject of this book revolves around the City of Miami Police Department, many incidents and events will also involve the Dade County Sheriff’s office, the Miami Fire Department and the Coral Gables Police Department, due to the intermingling of personnel, responsibilities and actions of these entities with the Miami police force, particularly in the formative years of the late 1800's and early 1900's.


Events during the first few years of its municipal existence include a fire on Christmas week in 1896 that destroyed three blocks of the Miami downtown area, starting with the Brady building and spreading to twenty seven others. Two hundred citizens escaped the inferno. The mainly wooden buildings were soon replaced with brick structures, with the rebuilding commencing while the cinders were still warm. (Miami Metropolis-1/1/1897)


The Spanish-American War, lasting from April to mid-August 1898, had a significant affect on Miami.

This chapter of the book details the story of the military encampment in Miami during that war and the problems it caused.

In 1899, Miami’s “COLORED TOWN” was created from land donated by Henry Flagler and Julia Tuttle, adjacent to the downtown Miami business area, within the confines of then 6th street to 12th street (prior to the 1921 renumbering of the streets) (US Census, City of Miami Publications)

Author’s Note:

Before venturing into our Miami street stories, the author presumes that the images the reader possess of Florida law enforcement in the early days of Miami, differs primarily from today, only in the technological gadgets and modes of transportation that are now present. Wrong! To acquaint our readers with the law enforcement's state of the art and the criminal society then prevalent in Florida as the 20th Century emerged, the story of the infamous Davis murders, the Dora Suggs murder and the notorious Ashley Gang are presented, as well as their affects on Miami.


On June 30, 1905, the Miami Metropolis (fore runner of the Miami News) newspaper, reported that C.E. Davis, a farmer, and his daughter Elsie Davis, were murdered in their home while they slept, four miles west of the city, the previous Saturday night.

The description of the crime and the crime scene, committed over 100 years ago, was documented in exacting detail by the Metropolis newspaper reporter. The account, although lurid, describes the state of the art of the process of major crimes investigations during that period.

(The outstanding Metropolis newspaper account is copied in the book 'exactly' as it appeared on 6/30/1905. )(2,923 words)

The newspaper article went on to discuss the rewards over $2,000 offered, including $250 from Governor Broward, as well as the community reaction to the crime and the reporting on the funerals. The investigation of the crime continued on for months and years, under the direction of Sheriff Frolock and his deputy A.P. Gore. The reward money was eventually returned to the donors when no arrest was made.

The anxiety created in the minds of Miami residents no doubt caused them to be more than ever in favor of having an efficient police department in the city.

(Miami Metropolis/News-6/30/1905)

Author’s Note: (This was outstanding reporting by Metropolis reporter in describing this case.)


Governor Broward signed the death warrant for Edward (Cady) Brown to be hung on June 5th for the December 1905, murder of Mrs. Dora Suggs.

(This vicious crime described in the book resulted in the hanging of the offender.)(397 words)


Elected in 1906, Chief of Police Frank B. Hardee,

Served three terms, stepping down in 1911.

(This chapter provides biographical information on the first Miami Chief of Police.) (168 words)


Rufus James Hardee, the brother of Chief Frank Hardee, was first appointed in 1905. He had the distinction of being assigned Badge #1.

(This chapter provides background on him.)(331 words)


In 1905, Miami opted for a new political scheme that established a Chief of Police position, replacing the “Town Marshall” as the City’s law enforcer.

(This chapter describes details of organizing the M.P.D. in 1905)(788 words)

At the next two council meetings, Mayor Sewell and Chief Hardee recommended the following permanent police officers to be hired. The Council agreed and the officers were sworn in: Rufus James Hardee, John Frank Coleman, J.R. O’Neal, and Joseph M. English. These four, along with Marshall (now Chief) Frank B. Hardee, were the first five uniformed police officers in Miami Police history.

It was also reported that Chief Hardee announced that 256 arrests had been made in March of 1906. Chief Hardee also made a request to the City Council for funds to buy a Patrol Wagon. (Horse drawn) His request was referred to a committee.

(Miami Metropolis/News-10/6/1905, & -11/18/1905)


At the City Council meeting of June 29, 1906, Councilman Crosland asked Mayor Sewell what the qualifications for police officer were, due a complaint a citizen had made. Mayor Sewell replied:

“The Mayor makes the appointments which are confirmed by the Council. Candidates must have been in the state (Florida) for one year, Dade County for six months and the City of Miami for ninety days.


An interesting story ran in the Jan 4, 1907 edition of the Miami Metropolis. “Sheriff Frohock has gotten tired of the large number of habitually idle negro and white men, who frequent North Miami and Colored Town, (both areas just outside the city limits and under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff), some of them having been hanging around these parts for months and even years without working or having any visible means of support, and last night, accompanied by two or three of his deputies, made a raid on these gents of leisure.” “North Miami and Colored Town were given a through scouring and when the job had been finished, seven Negroes and one white man were in the toils and escorted to the jail where they were locked up on the charge of vagrancy.


(This chapter describes the actual personnel deployment in 1907.)

(525 words)


On November 8, 1907, Chief Hardee announced a change in police beats for the city. These were seven- day a week assignments. No days off.

North Beat: Officer W.G. DeBerry from 12noon to 8pm, William B. Curry from 8PM to 4AM, and J.C. Tucker from 4AM to noon.

South Beat: Officer R.J. Hardee from noon to 8pm, W.J. Whitman from 8pm to 4AM. And E.V. Stevens (Stephens) from 4AM to 12 noon.

(#2, 7-11/8/1907)


In December of 1907, a citizen charged Chief Hardee with a violation of his duties for releasing information to a suspect. A hearing was held by the City Council and Hardee explained the situation. The Council agreed with him and the complaint was ruled not valid.

In January of 1908, one of the City Council members recommended that the police force be reduced to four members from the present six plus the Chief. A hearing was set for the following month. This action was due to the economic depression of 1907, which affected the entire country.

Dan Hardie, who had been the Fire Chief of Miami since its formation, was elected Sheriff of Dade County in Jan of 1909. Hardie built the fire department from scratch and was very well regarded for his energy and efficiency.

In 1910, the population of the City of Miami was 5,000 (a 400% increase in one decade). In the same year the original city hall was built at Flagler Street and S.W. 1st Ave. During this era, Charles Robert Ferguson became the second Chief of Police. Under his leadership, the position of desk sergeant and the ranks of captain and lieutenant were created. The police department hired the city's first traffic officer and motorman. The motorcycle policeman had instructions to arrest anyone who exceeded the new 12 mph speed limit.

(City of Miami Publications, Miami Metropolis/News)

The Miami News reported on June 5, 1911, that a citizen named Schmid criticized Officer Thomas Caswell and was struck with a billy club. Schmid had gone to Chief Hardee's office to provide bond for a young employee who had been arrested by Caswell for vagrancy. When Schmid berated Caswell, he was struck in the head with a night stick and slightly injured. Jim Hardee, the brother of the Chief and a MPD officer, stepped in between the men.

The young man who had been arrested stated in court that he worked for Sheriff Hardie and was a witness in two local controversial cases. The judge dismissed the vagrancy charge and issued a warrant for Officer Caswell's arrest for assault.

(Miami Metropolis/News-6/5/1911)


A Mr. Cox, one of the suspects in the Parcel murder case in April of 1911, had his case finally adjudicated after several trials, on Accessory to Murder for helping the Parcel girl's father to dispose of the body in the Miami River. Just after being cleared, Mr. Cox was himself shot outside the courtroom by a Mrs. Howell who stated Cox was threatening her for testifying against him. She was acquitted of the charges of attempting to murder Cox the following April.

(Miami Metropolis/News-4/1911)


It was noted in the press that in April of 1912, Edwin V. Stephens was serving as the Desk Sgt. A 1912 photograph of the department’s staff showed two Sgts.

The first female deputy sheriff in Florida was appointed by Sheriff Dan Hardie. She was Belle Hodge, the younger sister of Elmer Hodge, a MPD officer and later a Constable. ( Census reports, Miami Metropolis/News-4/1912)

A photo published in the local paper in 1912 pictured the following MPD officers: A.B. Smith, William Meredith, Edwin V. Stephens, Gordon McDade, Harry Doane, J.B. Watkins, Harry Lee, L.M. Stevens, William Chandler, Ned Russell, J.D. Dorman, Edward McDade, Harry Starling, Harry Morris, J. Robertson and two unidentified officers. Some of these officers were Reserves. Miami Herald Photo-1912

In January of 1913, there were nine full time police officers working under Chief Ferguson. Three officers were assigned to the downtown business area, three others stationed in the colored area, and two were desk sergeants and one a motor officer.

(MPD Records, Miami Metropolis/News-1/1913)


In February of 1913, the Miami Metropolis newspaper reported on the installation of a padded cell for insane prisoners.

(This chapter relates the details of Dade’s first padded cells.) (171 words)

August of 1913 brought a third Chief of Police to Miami. William J. Whitman, a current police officer, was elected to the position, besting A.R. McAdam. At the same time, the geographical limits of Colored Town were expanded after much discussion as to whether to do this 'by custom' or by law. Some voices at the council meeting stated that it would be not legal to codify these parameters but others said it was lawful.

The area was then expanded to the west, close to what is now NW 7th Avenue. (US Census reports, Miami Metropolis/News-8/1913)


The results of the city election in July of 1913 were reported in the local newspaper. Whitman was elected as Chief of Police, with 425 votes, with A.R. McAdam runner up with 136, W.W. Hendrickson 124, Frank Hardee, former Chief, with 116, C.R. Ferguson, the current Chief with 97, L.E. Gingras, 17 and Charles Shepard, 12, the later two being current police officers with MPD.

(Miami Metropolis/News- 7/23/1913)

Also on that date, Chief C.R. Ferguson was fined $5 in court for actions stemming from a public dispute with Officers Mattison P. Merritt and Wm. M Meredith, whom the Chief had disciplined for fighting.

(Miami Metropolis/News-7/1913)


The city council in August of 1913 lay out for the first time, a set of rules for the conduct of Miami police officers. The press headlined the story by stating

"Divorce Police from Booze & Cards is planned".

The Chief of Police W. Whitman issued an order that:

(1) Not to enter a saloon except as duty calls

(2) No card playing in the police station.

(3) Officers must wear the uniform while on duty.

Officers were also advised not to carry on long conversations with loiterers but to walk your beat.

The council also wanted the Chief to add a 'roundsman' (a patrol supervisor). At this time the department's force consists of 14 police officers, 2 Sergeants and the Chief of Police. (Miami Metropolis/News- Aug 1913)


The first motorcycle squad for Miami PD began to train on September 12, 1913, with three or four officers trained to ride a speedometer equipped motorcycle that the City had just purchased. There were numerous complaints of vehicles speeding on Biscayne Drive, causing accidents and problems. The motorcycle officer was to issue tickets to anyone exceeding the 12 miles per hour limit, the law at the time. This was one of Chief Whitman's then-progressive steps to improve the department. (Miami Metropolis/News-9/12/1913)


In November of 1913, Miami annexed some of their nearby neighborhoods increasing the size of the city to 14 square miles with a population of about fifteen thousands residents. Additional annexation will come about in 1925.

Also this month, a 21 year old volunteer city fire fighter, John Thompson, was killed when his fire truck flipped over en route to a call just north of town. Seven other fire fighters were injured, one seriously. In other news, the Mayor ordered the Police Chief to dispatch a police officer to each fire to handle the traffic and crowds at the scenes.

One of the movements connected to the push for alcohol prohibition was the establishment of the Law Enforcement Movement of Dade County. This citizen’s group announced a set of rewards to assist in curbing illegal alcohol establishments in the area.

The group would pay whistle blowers a reward of $25 to any police, sheriff, marshal or constable for the arrest and conviction of any violators of the liquor laws. $50 would be paid for the second conviction.

A reward of $500 would be paid for the arrest of any law officer who accepts graft for allowing the illegal booze outlets to operate.

$1,000 would be the reward for providing information on any Chief of Police or Sheriff, for accepting graft and $1,500 for the arrest of any Judge who would accept illegal payments for protecting these establishments.

The Movement had a budget of $10,000 in contributions for paying these rewards.

(Miami Metropolis/News- 11/25/1913)


In April of 1914, Clarence Daly was hung for the rape of an elderly woman that occurred in June of 1913. The execution took place in the courtyard of the county jail in downtown Miami. Daly was the first white man to be hung in Dade County. A stockade fence was erected to shield the gallows from the street.

(Miami Metropolis/News-4/1914)


Chief Whitman posted 'Ten Commandments' of parking in the newspaper in an attempt to achieve some sense of order out of the chaos of parking autos in the downtown area. The recent influx of autos, combined with the numerous bicycles, horse drawn wagons and pedestrians were causing 'gridlock' in the business area.

(Miami Metropolis/News-9/ 4, 1914)


Chief of Police William J. Whitman was accused of entering a woman resident's home while drunk in June of 1914. A City Council hearing was held and Whitman admitted his guilt. The council voted 4-3 to remove him but a unanimous vote was required, so he remained on the job. He was ordered by the commission to never drink again.

Whitman was later charged and tried in the court for this offense and was obviously absolved as he was re-elected for another term the following year.

One the same date, Officer Frank McDade, Gordon McDade and Harry Lee were allegedly drunk on duty and the Council asked for a hearing.

(Miami Metropolis/News-4/23/1915)

In 1914 a MPD Officer named W.H. Morris, was arrested for unnecessary force during an arrest of a black male. He was said to have hit the citizen in the head with his pistol while trying to collect some overdue sanitary violation fine. (Miami News -July-1914)

In June 1915, William J. Whitman was re-elected Chief of Police, fending off Raymond Dillon, Elmer Hodge, J.I. Wilson, and Ewd R. Lowe.

(Miami News-6/1915)

In April of 1915, Mayor Watson reinstated three police officers who had been suspended for being drunk on duty. He was quoted in the Miami Metropolis of April 23, 1915 "that they were good, hard working officers who only were drunk".

(Miami Metropolis/News-4/1915)

It was in this same month that Broward County was created from Palm Beach and Dade Counties.

The local paper ( The Metropolis) reported in May of 1915 "that the police officer directing traffic in the middle of Miami's busiest intersection, Avenue "D" and 12th Street (now named Flagler St and Miami Avenue) was provided with a huge umbrella to shade himself from the sun while managing the traffic during the hot daylight hours. He was also supplied with ample amounts of iced lemon aid to help him keep his cool while handling this vexing assignment."

(Miami Metropolis/News-5/1915)

A fact published in the Miami Metropolis newspaper on February 19, 1915, concerns the process of appointing the Chief of Police and stating the number of members of the force at that time. The story is quoted exactly:

"The Chief of Police is elected by the people, while members of the force are appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the City Council or by the City Council. At present, the force includes a captain, two sergeants and fourteen policemen, two of whom are plain clothes men." (Miami Metropolis/News-2/19/1915)

It was noted earlier in Chief Whitman's term, that Gordon R. McDade was a Lieutenant on the force.

In June of 1915, Lt. McDade was forced to resign by Mayor Watson for conduct unbecoming an officer as a result of displaying his weapon while drunk and disorderly on a train in Key West while off-duty. His position was filled by new Lt. J. H. Nepper.

(Miami Metropolis/News-6/5/1914)

24. MPD NEWS BLIPS - 1915

From Miami newspapers

Chief Whitman and Mayor Watson meet to plan adding patrol boats to MPD. (Miami Herald-2/2/1915)

It was noted that the 18 officers on MPD, are now on an eight hour day. (Seven days a week)

(Miami Herald-4/15/1915

The Ashley trial moved to Miami after hung jury in Palm Beach. (Miami News- 4/9/15)

Chief Whitman has an officer meeting each arriving train from up north to pick up ‘suspicious’ persons.

J. D. Dorman was also moved up to the Lieutenant rank in (Miami Metropolis/News-12/1915)


June 2, 1915 became a sad day for the Miami Police Department. The first City of Miami policeman was killed in the line of duty. Officer John R. Riblet, 31, a native of Paulding Village, Ohio, died in a shoot-out with Bob Ashley, a member of the notorious Ashley Gang who were trying to free his brother, John Ashley, from jail. Riblet was the first of many Miami officers who have been killed in the LINE OF DUTY. (MPD Records)


(This long chapter describes the criminal activities of the infamous ASHLEY gang that terrorized south Florida for many years.) (2,433 words)


(This chapter provides an in-depth description of the confrontation and shootout which resulted in the first Miami P.D. officer killed in the line of duty.) (1915) (1,209 words)

Dade County Sheriff’s Deputy, Wilbur W. Hendrickson, 45, was the other lawman killed by Bob Ashley that night in the attempt to facilitate escape.

In other news

Chief Whitman asked for the resignation of Off. D.Q. Willis, for tampering with a crime witness. It was noted that there were 572 applications on file to fill this position.

A young resident of Miami since 1901, Leslie Quigg, announced his candidacy for Sheriff of Dade County. He was defeated in the 1917 election. He later served three times as Miami PD Chief of Police.

(Miami Metropolis, 3/22/1916)


In 1917, Lt. William C. Shields, a seven year veteran of MPD and the second in command, was arrested in connection with the homicide of Eddie Kinsey, a young informer for the department.

(This chapter relates the details on the arrest of a MPD staff officer for murder.) (186 words)


A gunfight in downtown Miami, between Officer Edward Rowe and an offender on May 4, 1917, resulted in the death of the bad guy. Rowe was struck in the chest by a bullet but a can of tobacco in his shirt pocket deflected the slug and saved his life. The offender was not as lucky. Officer Rowe left the department shortly after that close call and became a real estate broker.

(Miami Metropolis/News 5/4/1917)


The hall utilized by the black residents of Miami for many social and community events was bombed at 2AM, on a Sunday morning in July of 1917. The police stated that the crime was precipitated by the issue of blacks driving autos in the Miami, an act fought fiercely by white chauffeur (taxi) drivers. Miami Police Lt. William Curry had passed by the building just prior to the explosion that caused considerable damage. The black community demanded action from the authorities.

The white drivers had the practice of stopping cars driven by blacks (most of them chauffeuring rich northern visitors), demanding that the owners hire a (white) driver while in Miami.

Finally, the police and community leaders put a halt to this discriminating practice after a local black dentist, Dr. William Scott, and a local funeral director, purchased their own car and were constantly harassed by the white drivers. In early July, Lt Curry of MPD arrested five white men for harassing Dr. Scott. They were jailed, later fined and sentenced to suspended jail sentences, which brought these unlawful actions to a halt.

(Miami Metropolis/News-7/7, 7/8, & 7/17, 1917)


In 1917, the department numbered 20 officers and a new chief, Raymond F. Dillon, 34, was elected and served from November 1917 to August of 1921. His predecessor, Chief Whitman, did not run for re-election. Dillon was the last elected Chief of Police in Miami. Chief Dillon oversaw the establishment of 18 police call boxes and the hiring of the first policewoman, Mrs. Ida Fisher, who was hired to work with delinquent young girls.

The Miami PD also instituted the Bertillon system of fingerprinting and added a new Ford, the department's first automobile, to their list of "modern" equipment.

(MPD Records, City of Miami publications, Miami Metropolis/News- 7-1917)

32. 1917-18 ACTIONS

Chief Whitman resigned three months prior to his elected term expiration. A temporary replacement was Lt. William B. Curry, a 12 year MPD Veteran, appointed by Mayor Parker Henderson, to fill the remainder of Whitman's term. Ray Dillon, recently elected in June, will assume the Chief's job on Nov 1st.

(Miami Metropolis/news-7/25/1917)

Whitman has been under much criticism due to the inability to solve the Kinsey murder and the bombing of the Odd Fellows hall.

Lt William B. Curry assumes the office and duties of the Chief of Police this morning, succeeding William J. Whitman, who resigned last week after having been subjected to a long period of public criticism because of the lack of efficiency in the police department under his direction. (Miami Metropolis/News- 8/1/1917)

A local news editorial remarked on what action Curry was taking.

"Several improvements have been made in the Miami Police department since Chief Curry took office a few weeks ago. One of these has been the renovating of the headquarters office in the city hall. New furniture and fixtures have been installed, making it much more business like appearing place.

The Chief is working steadily on the establishment here of the fingerprint system of cataloging criminals. Sergeant Lindstrom has been studying the plan assiduously and has now qualified as a first class finger print man." (Miami Metropolis/News- 8/25/1917)

Officer C.E. Brogdon of the Miami Beach police department paid a $10 fine in city court for speeding. The ticket was issued by a City of Miami officer. The Miami Beach officer warned the judge in court that he better watch his speedometer while riding in the vicinity of Miami Beach. (Miami Metropolis/News- 8/21/1917)

Chief Curry furloughed three police officers to reduce expenses. Night beatman Singleterry and Williams were let go as was Officer James W. Northrup, who worked the Avenue D bridge. Curry said that Northrup has not made one arrest during the several months he was assigned at the bridge post and that paying him $90 a month were a needless expense.

(Miami Metropolis/News-8/31/1917)

Chief Ray Dillon became Chief on the first of November. He immediately assigns one police officer to each school in the city. Two days later Chief Dillon fired Lt Curry who had been Acting Chief for three months. He also fired Desk Sergeant C.A. Lindstrom, replacing him with Lt. H.L. Pinder. and Sergeant George T. Warner replaced Lindstrom. The Chief also promoted F.A. Roberts to Motor Sergeant.; The following regular police officers were retained: Night Sergeant Harley (Harlan) B. Doane, plainclothes officer J.W. Bishop, Motor Officer Roberts and patrolmen R.H. Starling, J.S. Phillips, Finch Cochran, Alex Gingras, D.A. Shields, E.J. Starling, W.B. Waters, William Meredith, Arnold Albury, W.B. Jones, Leon Sawyer, D.L. King, W.H. Norris and J.W. Northrup.

(Miami Metropolis/News-11/2/1917)

A wag reported in a Miami News column that "A title for an official song for the police department has been suggested; You may be deaf tonight but you will get your hearing in the morning".

(Miami News-4/30/1917)

A subject was arrested when his fingerprints matched a wanted person from another state. The subject's prints were sent to New York City where Gotham cops matched the prints to a wanted felon who had a long record in their jurisdiction.

Miami News, (Miami News-1/14/1920)

Sergeant John S. Phillips shot himself in the foot while cleaning his .25 cal. automatic. The bullet passed through his foot and shoe but did not strike a bone. He is expected to recover quickly. Last summer, Phillips was accidentally hit on the head by a baseball bat while watching a game at Royal Palm Park. Prior to that incident, Phillips, while fighting a fire at the Florida Conservatory of Music, a ladder fell and struck him on the thumb.

(Miami News/Miami Metropolis/News- 1/17/1920)


A review of the old newspapers and other sources mention the following men who served as Miami police officers, from 1896 to 1921. Others also served.

Bates, Frazier J. b-1858 So Carolina,

Bunnell, Alvus A. Permanent officer in December of 1905.

Carroll, Albert, Appointed Dec 1905 as unpaid special.

Caswell, Thomas, 1910 census &on-the-job in July 1911.

Coleman, John F., November of 1905 -May of 1906.

Cooley, L.A., Appointed Dec 1905 as unpaid special

Curry, William, B. on job Nov 1907 -Acting Chief, 1917

DeBarry, W. Appointed in January 1907.

English, Joseph M., late 1905 to 1911

Flanagan, Robert -Marshall, Nov.1900- Oct. 1905

Ferguson, Charles Robert, Elected Chief in 1911-13

Flury, V., April 1906 as an unpaid officer at the Docks.

Freeman, W.R. On-the-job in 1907. Reappointed in 1911

Frohock, John-Marshall, Oct. 1899 - Nov. 1900.

Gringas, Alex was on-the-job in May of 1912.

Gingras, Lewis Appointed as a MPD officer in 1911.

Girtman, John - Acting Marshall, June - Oct. 1899.

Gray, Young G.- First Marshall of Miami in 1896.

Griffing, Arthur, On-the-job in November 1907.

Godman, J.D. Appointed as a special officer in 1905

Grant, J.W. Appointed special officer in 1905

Hardee, J.J. , Appointed in January 1908 for the holidays.

Hardee, Rufus James - 1876-1969, Appointed 1905 - 1911

Hardee, Frank B. Elected Chief. July1905 to 1911

Hodge, Elmer On the job in 1915.

Hoff, Frank Appointed as a MPD officer in 1911.

Marsh, H.H. Appointed in January 1908 for the holidays.

McCann, M.T., Appointed Nov. 1913. to 1915

McDade, E.H. was appointed as a MPD officer in 1911.

McDade.Gordon R 1911 - thru 1917 as Lt.

McGriff, R.C., Appointed Dec 1905 as unpaid special

McNeil, .L.L., Appointed Dec 1905 as unpaid special

Morris, W.H. on-the-job in 1914

O’Neal, J.R., Appointed in 1905-1911

Pfender, F.H. Appointed in January 1908 for the holidays.

Phillips, Paul G. On job1911. Later elected Police Judge

Pierson, C.C. Appointed in December 1905.

Riblet, John R. On job 1914 Killed in June of 1915.

Richardson, J.C., Appointed in 1911.

Roberts, G.W., Appointed November of 1913.

Rogers, J.W. Appointed in Dec.1905 Royal Palm Hotel

Russell, Edward D. Appointed May of 1911.

Sheppard, Charles, on job 1910

Sistrunk, Earnest, Sr. (Ed) on ‘beat’ schedule May 1907.

Smith, Charles H., Appointed December of 1905.

Stalling, R., Appointed November of 1913.

Stevens, E.V. On job May1907. First Desk Sgt- 1915

Tucker, J.C. was on-the-job in November 1907.

Umstead, L.W., Appointed May of 1906.

Whitman, William J. Appointed in 1911. Chief 1913-1917



In mid 1921, Miami's city government switched to a commissioner-manager form of government, bringing sweeping changes to the police department. The chief and the new public safety director, would be appointed by the city manager, and police officers would fall under civil service guidelines.

(This chapter describes the changes resulting from the new form of municipal government as well as some background on the new appointed Chief of Police, H.Leslie Quigg.) (704 words)

Beginning December 13, 1921, long awaited civil service guidelines were enforced which required all policemen to be between the ages of 25-45, pass a physical and written exam, be at least 5'9" tall and serve three months probation. The department was then reorganized into four divisions: traffic, detectives, vice squad and motorcycle corps.

Chief Quigg ran into extreme legal difficulties in later years, was arrested, cleared, fired and later re-hired. He served as Chief of Police during three separate periods, extending into the 1940's, then served as a City Commissioner and later as Dock Master. Additional stories on Quigg are posted in further stories in this book.

New rules for the department were issued by the City Manager and Chief Quigg shortly after the new regime took office.

Strict military order will be observed hereafter according to the new orders issued. The orders include instructions to obey commanders without question, be courteous to the citizens, and to make arrests in an unobtrusive manner as possible.

The Desk Sgt will inspect the officers daily to see that they are neat and clean and that their firearms are in working order. Officers are to carry themselves in a military manner with their hat in proper position. Use of tobacco or alcohol while on duty shall not be permitted and that excessive use of alcohol, on or off duty, will result in termination. Each officer will be held accountable for the good order of their beat or district. Loud and profane talking by police officers will not be tolerated.

It was noted that Detective Sgt Hardy Bryan was promoted to Lieutenant by Chief Quigg, Bryan, from Suwannee County, Florida, came to Miami ten years ago and joined the MPD two years ago. He was promoted to Sergeant ten months ago.

Lt Hardy served many years with the Miami police and was later joined by his son by the same name, providing a Hardy Bryan on the force for over fifty years.


For many years, both Miami and Fort Lauderdale justice authorities maintained a practice of running drunks and vagrants out of town as to not 'spoil' the cities for the tourists.

(This chapter describes one method the police department kept the streets clear of drunks and vagrants.) (287 words)


Officer Frank Angelo Croff, a 28 year old rookie motorcycle officer, was struck and killed by a drunk driver on May 22, 1921.

(This chapter provides the details of the death of MPD Officer Frank Croff.)

(288 words)

Note: Retired MPD Vet Ginger Jones is the granddaughter of Officer Croff.


Throughout its history, MPD has devoted a significant portion of their resources to handling the problems associated with alcohol.

(This chapter highlights some of the problems that alcohol causes in enforcing the law.) (475 words)


Rookie MPD officer Richard Roy Marler, 34, was shot and killed accidentally by a Dade County deputy sheriff on November 28, 1921, during a manhunt for an armed robber and suspected killer who was 'running amuck' with a shotgun.

(This chapter provides details on the friendly fire killing of Officer Marler.)

(565 words)

By the end of 1925, the MPD had grown to 312 members, a 400 percent increase in one year, to handle the land rush in the South Florida area.

(MPD Records)


A Grand Jury report declared recently (1923) that the MPD was using an electric chair to obtain confessions from criminal suspects. Chief Quigg responded publicly, stating that the department denies that they still have an electric chair in the station for that purpose. Quigg said that “we had a chair quite a while ago, which had some second-hand batteries taken out of Ford cars, but upon the recommendation of City Manager Wharton, we tore it up, and that was over 60 days ago”.

The Chief said that a thin wire was laid along the seat portion of an ordinary chair with the wire connected to the car batteries. He said it wasn’t used to extract confessions but that it was used at one time and investigators were able to recover $1,600 worth of stolen goods. (Miami News- 1/6/1923)

A taxi driver named R.D. Niles was arrested for the murder of fellow cabbie, W.R. Asher, after MPD motor officer P.C. Lathan reported that he observed the two men together in a car heading over the causeway toward the beach and that Asher appeared to be either drunk or doped up. After an investigation by Chief Quigg, Dets. Morris, Rose and Mitchell, it was determined that Niles planned to take over all the assets of Asher after his death, and an order issued to pick up Niles.

Downtown Miami Officer Crown located the offender and arrested him. At a subsequent trial, Niles was convicted of first degree murder which then carried an automatic sentence of execution in Florida’s new electric chair. (Miami News-4/23/1923, MPD records)

The Miami Police had a superior Rifle team during this period. A news story reported that the team was practicing for an upcoming match against other departments and Army groups. Members of the MPD team noted were: Edward C. Allen, Harry Morris, J.A. McLendon, D.E. Rose, Marshall Campbell and Forest Nelson. (Miami News-5/1/1923)

Sgt Wever (latter killed in line of duty), the motorcycle supervisor, located a cat burglar in a Northeast apartment house. A squad from the station was summoned to surround the house, then breaking down the door to arrest the suspect. The raiding party consisted of Lt. Bryan, Dets. Sawyer, Wilkinson, Rose, and Morris; assisted by uniform officers Haddock and Joe Jenkin.

(Miami News, -7/17/1923)

Motor Officer L.P. Brantley attempted to pull over a speedster he was chasing. The offender, Edward Litchfield, swerved into Brantley catching his motor on the car and dragging the officer down the road. Brantley, still on his machine, pulled out his revolver and shot the driver. Litchfield in now in the hospital and is not expected to live.

(Miami News, -7/23/1923)

Former MPD Chief of Police, Frank B. Hardee is now a Deputy Sheriff for Dade County, under Sheriff Lewis Allen, former MPD officer.

(Miami News, -4/23/1923)

Three big time safe crackers (they called them ‘Yeggs’ back then) were arrested yesterday by Chief Quigg, Detective Rose, Sgt Keys and Officer Roscoe Dunn. The trio was picked up on information provided from Tampa police.

(Miami News 12/4/1923)


Miami officer Charles W. Potterton was shot through the lung, within two inches of his heart, Thursday night.

(This chapter relates the hairy story of a 1920’s shootout in Overtown.)

(369 words)

Later news articles indicated that Potterton was still on the job in 1949 as a Detective Captain.

(Miami News- 10/3/1924)


On March 15th, of 1925, Sgt. Laurie Lafayette Wever, 34, a four year veteran of the MPD, was shot and killed while chasing two armed robbers in Miami. Sgt Wever, the commanding officer of the 20-man Motor Squad, was a four year veteran of the MPD. He was born in Bartow, Florida in 7/4/1891, enlisted in the US Army in 1909 and joined the MPD in 1920(or 21). In 1920, according to the US Census, he was living in Bridgeport, Ct, working at the AT&S Co.

He was survived by his wife, Theresa and two daughters, Doris and Lois.

The offenders were two Ohio white men, Walter C. Valiton, alias William H. Fox, b-1907 and John Naugle, b-1902, of Columbus and Toledo, Ohio. They had been on a Florida crime spree when the encounter with Sgt Wever occurred. Sgt. Wever spotted their auto while responding to a burglary at NW 7th Avenue and 8th street. He stopped the auto, searched it and found burglary tools in the trunk. He demanded the two follow him to the police station, but they fled in their stolen Essex auto. Wever chased them on his motorcycle, catching up with them in front of the Savoy Hotel on NW 2nd Street. Valiton leaned out the car window and fired four shots at Wever, who was rushed to the hospital, dying an hour or so later just as his wife came to his bedside.

Valiton later admitted shooting Sgt Wever five times with a revolver. After the shooting, the two suspects fled the Miami area in an auto, heading north through the Everglades. They were apprehended the day of Wever's funeral, in a shack/camp while sleeping later that night in the town of Fulford, Florida (now North Miami Beach). Fourteen heavily armed officers, led by Chief Quigg, raided the hideout and arrested them without a struggle. The shack also contained the fruits of their crime spree. The suspects were immediately transferred to a jail in Jacksonville as it was feared that a crowd of citizens gathered at the Miami jail would lynch them. No record of the trail could be found.

Two photographs were found of Wever’s funeral in Miami. The funeral procession of Miami police cars were headed up by two hooded KKK men driving small motorcycles. Sgt Wever was buried on March 18th, 1925, in one of the most spectacular processions and funerals ever seen in Miami. The service was held in the First Baptist Church at NE 1st Ave and 5th Street, with 5,000 persons attending. The story of the funeral and the KKK's participation was detailed in Dr. William Wilbanks's book, "Forgotten Heroes, Police Officers Killed in Dade County". It was said by Wever's family that he was a member of that group but, at that time in the early 1920's of Miami's history, the group was generally thought of by the Miami residents as a sort of 'community group' and not of the virulent hate group it became to be in America.

Sgt. Wever was buried in Miami's Woodlawn cemetery. The community paid off the mortgage on the Wever home and set up a fund for his widow.

Walter Combs, long time Miami funeral director, said in 1965 that Wever's funeral was the "most lavish funeral" he ever conducted in Miami. "The MPD escorted the cortège with motorcycles and marching men. A flat bed truck was turned into a float. It carried a floral tribute shaped like a motorcycle."

(Dr. Wilbanks', "Forgotten Heroes", 1996 & City of Miami publications.)

News Item :

A proposal by Chief Quigg to raise the salaries of MPD officers $5 a month on July 1st was forwarded to the city commission. The news story detailed the current salaries.

Police Officer - $125 monthly, $140 after one year

Motor Officer - $150, Desk Sgts- $155,

Detectives - $160,

Lieutenants, Detective Sgts, and

Booking Sgts- $175

Chief of Police - $275

All personnel were on a seven day week, with two weeks vacation in summer.

(Miami News 5/7/1924)


A Miami PD officer, L.M. Johnson, working the traffic detail downtown, fired four shots from his pistol at two jaywalkers on Flagler Street today. One shot hit bystander, Mrs. Myers, in the neck, seriously wounding her. She was rushed to Jackson Hospital for treatment.

A crowd of witnesses immediately converged on the police station protesting the officer's action.

Chief Quigg suspended the officer immediately and later fired him, after an investigation.

(Miami News- 7/10/1925)

During mid-1925, Miami city administrators brought in police experts from New Orleans to assist in overhauling the organizational structure of the Miami Police. Following meetings with Stanley Ray, a public safety commissioner of New Orleans and Chief Quigg, the following promotions were announced:

- Chief of Detectives Forrest Nelson was promoted to Assistant Chief of Police.

- Homer .S. Redman, from assistant traffic director to Captain of Uniform Division

- Guy Reeves, special agent of the U S Justice Dept to Chief of Detectives.

- P.B. Gibson to Inspector of Police

- J.W. McCarthy to Traffic Lieutenant

- M.A. Tibbets to Lieutenant of Motorcycles

- J.J. Connelly to Asst. Traffic Director

- G.S. Wilkerson to Sergeant of Detectives

- W.C. Thurman to Secretary to Chief

- L.P. Bradley to Sergeant of Motorcycles

(MPD Records & Miami News- 9/12/1925)

In September, Officer Alex Gingras, 55, a police officer for eight years, retired on ½ pay, $75 a month for life, for disability due to an on-the-job injury.

Chief Quigg hired Roy S. Parker to be a traffic officer at E. Flagler St and NE 1st Avenue. Parker should easily be visible to both motorists and pedestrians as he is six foot, ten and 1/2 inches tall, and weighs 210 lbs.

(Miami News, 11/24/1925)

Parker joined with another huge MPD officer handling traffic in the downtown area, Frank Leavitt.

Leavitt was one of our most famous Miami P.D. guys, known all over the world as 'Man Mountain Dean', real name Frank Leavitt, @”Soldier Leavitt”. He was a Miami P.D. officer in the mid 20’s until 1930. He was later a famous national wrestler and promoter in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Chief Quigg hired Leavitt, a 340 pound Georgia hillbilly, to be a traffic officer on Flagler Street. Leavitt joined the Army in WWI at age 14 and also served in WW2. His wife was his manager and together they banked most of his earnings during his wrestling career, accumulating a million dollars over the years (a huge sum back then). Leavitt died in 1953.

No records are available but it can be assumed that very few offenders (if any) resisted arrest when Parker and Leavitt were on duty.

(MPD Records)


A 66 year old officer, John D. Marchbanks,

directing traffic downtown was struck and killed at Flagler Street and Bayshore Drive on February 16, 1926 by an auto driver by J.L. Smith, 27.

(Additional details on this death are contained in this chapter of the book.) (177 words)

Norman Franks, MPD motor officer, chased a bandit car containing a gang of robbers. Franks, leaped from his motor and single handedly, arrested the entire carload. He was highly praised by his bosses.

Fame is fleeting though, as a few years later he was beaten and tossed out of the police station by Detective Mitchell. Franks had quit and was attempting to re-join the department. (Miami News-4/15/1926)

(Here is an exciting story that was found too late to be included in the book.)

Wild B&E (burglary) in Progress

In 1926, there was a chain of seven grocery stores in Miami named “Saunders Markets”, with the main store located at 918 NW 7th Avenue, near downtown Miami. This is the story about a wild Burglary-in-progress by eight burglars that the Miami Police department responded to at that location. (Police were not equipped with radios at that time)

At 3:15 AM early Monday morning, April 19th, 1926, Miami police headquarters was notified by phone by an area resident that several men had been seen prowling around houses in the rear of the Saunders store. Plainclothes officers D.F. Whitlock and W.M. Driggers were assigned the case. Driving to NW 6th Avenue between 8 and 9 street, the officers stopped their unmarked car. Separating, Driggers walked to 7th Ave while Whitlock searched along 6th Avenue. Suddenly, a muffled detonation was heard from the direction of 9th Street and 7th Avenue.

Officer Driggers ran out into 7th Avenue, but as he passed under a street light a sharp command barked out; “you had better get out of here…..get back”. In front of Saunders store, Driggers could see four men armed with rifles and shotguns and they had him covered when one of them issued the command for him to retreat. Driggers retreated until he reached a corner of a home. There he opened fire with his pistol. One yeggman dropped in his tracks. The officer fired again and at his third shot the yeggmen responded with a broadside of rifle and shotgun fire. Driggers fired three more shots and was reloading when a rifle bullet ripped into his right side, knocking him down.

His partner, Officer Whitlock, came to his rescue with gun in hand. So did a local neighbor, MPD Officer E.B. Smith, and Dade Sheriff’s Deputy Barnes, who lived across the street from Saunders’ store. The two had been aroused from slumber by the pistol and rifle fire. While Officer Whitlock was maneuvering to get a better view of the yeggmen in the doorway of the store, the gunmen caught sight of Deputy Barnes. They ordered him back into the house. Officer Smith, slipping out the back door of his home, came around to the front.

Down the street from his home came MPD Officer C.H. Andrews in his bare feet, wearing a bathrobe and pajamas. His gun began to smoke. Whitlock also opened fire as did Deputy Brown and Officer Smith, forcing the gunmen to retreat. The stunned Driggers got to his feet and joined his comrades. They ran into 8th Street Road just in time to see the four men who had held them off in front of the store join four other men. The other four men were carrying a small safe which had been removed from a larger safe in the store office. The eight men then ran into an open field.

The police attempted to surround them. At intervals, they would open fire on the yeggmen, who would return with rifle, pistol and shotgun bullets. A resident sent a riot call to headquarters as the shooting continued. A squad of motorcycle officers, headed by Sgt. C.R. Jackson, came on the scene. Fifty or sixty shots were then exchanged between the robbers and the officers. Finally, the yeggmen, realizing they were now outnumbered, retreated to the nearby Seybold canal taking their wounded with them. All available police were sent to the area to help round up the gang.

J.H. Willford, manager of Saunders store, reported to the police station shortly after the battle. He explained that this store location is the central office for all the company stores in South Florida. Willford advised that between twenty-five and forty thousand dollars in cash is usually kept in the store over the weekend. The yeggmen made their entrance into the store by breaking a glass over the rear door. The door of the larger safe was blown off demolishing much of the office equipment. Neighbors reported to the police that the men drove to the scene in an auto. It was reported that a woman who was at the wheel of the car when the shooting started rapidly drove off alone.

During the early morning roundup, a E.L. Smith, was arrested an hour after the shootout by motor officers, Sgt. Guy Bradford and Off. C.E. Campbell, as he was hiding, exhausted from running, behind a house at NW 8th Street Road and 11th Street. In his pocket was a small drill punch and an automatic pistol. Smith was taken to police headquarters and questioned by Police Chief Quigg. Smith confessed to Chief Quigg that he was brought in from Chicago to blow the safe. He later provided his real name to the Chief.

Persons living in the neighborhood later notified police that shortly after the shooting, one of the gunmen, dragging a confederate, showed up at a filling station at NW Eighth St. Rd. and Eleventh Street. The man apparently was badly wounded. They waited a few minutes until an auto drove up. The wounded man and his companion then got into the machine and drove off.

The battle for possession of the safe was fought in an open field one block from Saunders’ store, where, under fire of police guns, the robbers had succeeded in carting the strong box. Using rifles and pistols and sawed-off shotguns, the robbers were able to keep off the first squad of police. Upon arrival of all available men in the motorcycle and automobile divisions the yeggmen deserted the safe and fled to the nearby canal where they disappeared in the darkness.

The two men known to have been wounded were carried from the field by their comrades. Detective Chief Guy Reeve, at 7AM Monday, notified all physicians and hospitals in Miami to hold any coming to them for treatment of gunshot wounds.

After daybreak, citizens Marvin Bentley and Arthur Gunn discovered a large sack containing $150 in cash and a complete zeggman’s equipment. The money was turned over to store employees.

Late Monday afternoon, J.B. Williams, 26, of Pueblo, Colorado and Ray Colbert, 19, of Memphis, Tennessee, were arrested in a room at the United States Hotel in the downtown area and recovered the bandits car in front of the hotel. Five other men and one woman were not yet in custody. Investigating police believe that two of them were wounded. It was believed that the six fled north in two vehicles that were chased by two police units up to the Fort Lauderdale area.

The two in custody answered that they came to Miami a week ago to pull the job and had been survailing the Saunders store for two days. A sawed off-shotgun was found in the field off 7th Avenue during the day Monday.

(NOTE: The only injuries that Miami Police officers received while handling that wild burglary was a minor gun shot wound to Officer Driggers hand and a foot injury to Officer J.O.Barker, who stepped on a broken bottle while chasing the yeggmen (burglars).

The 25 to 40 thousand dollars in the safe, which was recovered, would amount to about $250,000 today)

Source: The Miami News and other newspapers, April 19th, 20th and 22nd, 1926.

Actual news clipping of Gunfight 4/19/1926 Saunders Grocery robbery



The Miami Police department organized a Homicide Unit in July of 1926, according to a story in the Miami Herald, July 23, 1926 and Miami News, 7/16/1926.

"Miami is to have a police homicide squad to do nothing except combat the 'murder' wave now sweeping the city". That announcement was made Friday by Police Chief H. Leslie Quigg at the Dade County Law Enforcement meeting in the courthouse. Chief Quigg did not give details of the organization, saying that details were being worked out rapidly and that the best experts obtainable would be placed in the squad. He said that the great number of murders in Miami has made the formation of a homicide squad a necessity. He mentioned as proof of the 'murder wave' the fact that six Negroes were slain in one night recently.

(Miami Herald, 7/23/1926 & Miami News, 716/1926)


When news from Cuba warned that an impending storm was heading north, Miami Police Chief Quigg released all local prisoners from the jail so that they could assist their families in storm preparation with instructions to report back to jail after the storm had passed. In the aftermath of that great Hurricane of 1926 that ravaged the south Florida area, the Sheriff of Dade County, Dan Hardie and Chief Leslie Quigg announced

'That all able bodied men who did not assist in the clean-up of the area would be arrested'.

Some good came out of the hurricane. The Ku Klux Klan's $150,000 building at SW 4 St & 8th Ave was destroyed by the storm. (Miami News 7/4/1926)

An armed robber swore that he would not be taken alive. Detective W.J. Driggers confronted the violent criminal at NW 6th Ave. and 30th St. and seen to it that the bad guy got his wish. Det. Driggers shot and killed the suspect during the confrontation. Driggers was not hurt. (Miami News-9/13/1926)


At West Flagler and 12th Avenue, Officer Samuel J. Callaway, 50, was directing traffic when an auto ran the red light. Callaway jumped on the running board of a passing auto which then was involved in a crash at N.W. 4th street and 4th Avenue. Callaway was thrown to the ground and sustained injuries that caused his death three days later, January 10, 1927.

The identity of the driver of the car that ran the red light was never identified and the death was ruled unavoidable.

Callaway was buried in his native Maryland.

(Miami Herald & Miami News-1/11/1927. Dr.Wilbanks' "Forgotten Heroes" 1996)


A Miami Police motor officer was hurt when his police motorcycle went into a ditch while he was escorting a Ku Klux Klan motorcade today. MPD Sergeant W. B. Poe was thrown from the motor as he escorted a 100 car motorcade of Klansmen from Miami to Homestead. Sgt. Poe was wearing a white Klan hood over his uniform as he was working the escort. Poe stated that he was wearing the hood to cover the MPD markings on the motorcycle.

Chief Quigg, when queried, stated "that he had given permission for the escort, but was under the impression that the motorcade was to be confined to the City of Miami only". (Miami News 5/20/1927)


A young officer, Jesse Morris, 24, was killed in the line of duty during a shootout on July 8, 1927.

(This chapter provides the details on the shootout that killed Officer Morris.)

(245 words)


On Sunday afternoon, September 25th, 1927, 40 year old MPD Officer Albert Johnson was accidentally shot and killed while on duty at N.W. 22nd Ave and 23 Street, by a close friend as the two were in the process of shooting the friend's sick dog. The killing was ruled accidental and no charges were filed. Johnson, a Georgia native died instantly from a shot by his friend that missed the dog.

Johnson had joined the MPD in December of 1925. He was survived by his wife Vera and was buried in his home town of Carrolton, Georgia. (#13)

(Dr. Wilbanks' "Forgotten Heroes", 1996)


(This chapter describes a thrilling and dangerous chase of armed robbers through the streets of Dade County (in 1927) that lasted almost two hours by a MPD motor officer, Leston Crews.) (1,655 words)

Editor's Note: Officer L.G. (Leston G. Crews) continued his successful MPD career. In February of 1933, Crews was one of the Miami officers who arrested Guisippi Zangara for the murder of Chicago Mayor Cermack during the attempted assignation of President-Elect Franklin Roosevelt in Miami’s Bay Front Park. Crews was honored again in 1938 for being the top pistol shooter during a national Pistol match. (Miami had top national honors for two years running in Pistol matches).

Crews later retired and died in Marathon, Florida in 1974, at age 74.

Cecil Knight, Wood’s partner in the chase, was Captain Cecil (Hamp) Knight, who was one of the most famous Auto Theft detectives in the nation for many, many years. “Hamp” retired after a great career that covered over 40 years in the MPD and later passed on. He was also the father of now deceased MPD Vets Major Bob Knight and Captain Jimmy Knight, and is the grandfather of our own MPD Vet Lyriss Underwood, VP of the Miami Police Veterans Association.

(Sarasota Herald Tribune, Miami News, Miami Herald, all 11/4/1927)


Auto Theft Detective James Frank Beckham, 29, was shot and killed by a bootlegger about 11 P.M. on February 3rd, 1928.

(The story of a detective, killed by a bootlegger, is described in this chapter.) (338 words)


(The saga of the Chief of Police (Quigg) being arrested for complicity in murder is described in this chapter. Seven MPD officers were indicted for murder in three different cases from 1925 to 1927.)

(702 words)

Guy C. Reeve, Chief of Detectives, was appointed acting Chief of Police while Quigg was under indictment and suspension.


As a result of the uproar caused by the arrest and later acquittal of Chief Quigg for murder, the city appointed a new Public Safety Director and a new Chief of Police. Some of the results of these actions can be seen from news articles that appeared in the Miami Daily News during that period.

The reader should keep in mind that bad news sells more papers than good news and that during this period, thousands of incidents of good work was performed by members of the MPD.

On May 24, 1928, Chief Quigg was dismissed by City Manager Snow, for Neglect of Duty and for the good of the services. The action was based on the Grand Jury report. The Manager read to the commission one line of the report; “Quigg is wholly unfit for the office, under him the Police Department has become cruel and because a “militant, tyrannical group that follows standards foreign”.

June 1st -Guy Reeve was promoted to Chief from Detective Chief. Quigg says he will no longer fight for the position. Reeve had been hired in 1925 as the Chief of Detectives after serving nine years with the US Justice Department. After Reeve's MPD service, he was the Chief Deputy in the Dade County Sheriff's department (1933) and was appointed as the U.S. Marshall for the South Florida district in 1935.

Lonnie Scarboro will take over the job of Chief of Detectives that Reeve was holding prior to Quigg's dismissal. H.H. Arnold, former MPD officer, takes over as the Public Safety Director.

June 4th -Public Safety Director Arnold advises publicly that all ‘bookies’ either quit their activities or will be jailed.

June 6, 1928 -- Chief Guy Reeve established the first MPD police school. (Pic shows about 30 MPD guys in a classroom

June 5th -Lt Wm J. McCarthy and Det Roy Norcross make gambling arrests and confiscate slot machines.

June 10th- Four MPD officers to stand trial for the beating of C.E. Haynes. It was charged that Det Tom Nazworth, R.L. Wood, Ralph C. Rymer and Isey Bandrimer savagely beat Hayes the night that Officer Frank Beckham was killed by Hayes. Tom Nazworth is now working as a prison guard in Climax, Georgia. Wood and Rhymer were acquitted but Nazworth was convicted and fined $250. No mention was made of Bandrimer’s disposition.

June 17th- Chief Reeve orders crackdown on bookies. Detectives C.W. Hodges, J.A. McLendon, Officers G.S. Wilkerson and John Driggers made several arrests. Even Detective Chief Scarboro himself, arrested a bookmaker.

June 18th- Detective Frank Mitchell was fined $250 for hitting a former decorated officer, Norman Franks, breaking his jaw. Mitchell claimed that Franks was continually hanging around the station trying to get his job back (he was suspended in 1927 because of domestic problems). Det. Harry Bouterse, Officer H.S. Frye and T.L. Bishop testified for Mitchell, saying Franks was a troublemaker.

June 19th -Charles Haynes, the slayer of Det Frank Beckham in February, was freed by the Judge after being convicted of manslaughter. He had been in jail awaiting trial since the killing. The judge gave Hayes “time served” (3 months), saying his decision was predicated on the savagely of the beating by the detectives.

June 20th -The Miami News ran a photo of 30 plus police officers in a classroom getting schooled on correct police procedures. No story accompanied the picture.

Also on this date, Det. R. L Wood was acquitted of the murder of Victor Parnell. The victim was shot by Wood while in the process of running him out of town. Wood, accompanied then by now deceased Det Frank Beckham, claimed in court that Parnell attempted to stab him.

Sgt. Frank Mitchell was suspended 15 days for assaulting former MPD Motor Officer Norman Franks in the police station. (#7-6/22/1928)

June 23rd -Desk Sgt John Phillips was demoted for failure to take action on a report that a citizen was contemplating suicide. Phillip took no action on the information nor did he make a report. The citizen did in fact commit suicide that evening.

It was also noted in the Miami News that Chief Reeve started a police training school, compiled a police regulation booklet and inaugurated a merit system.

NOTE: The police rules and regulation booklet, the first ever issued to MPD officers, was quite comprehensive, detailing the duties of each rank as well as providing much finger-tip information for each officer. The editor has obtained an original issue of this booklet from the granddaughter of deceased police Captain Barrick. The booklet will be turned over to the current Chief of Police for display in the Police Academy.

July 5th -Officer Jesse W. Campbell got his jaw broken by an irate husband when the husband located Campbell in a movie house with his wife. Officer Pat Cannon, called to the scene, was disciplined for failing to make a report of the incident.

July 6th -Officer Harry Bouterse was fired by Chief Reeve for an alleged extortion attempt. No details offered.

July 12th -City Manager Arnold announced that a police gym is being established in the City Hall annex.

Also, a former officer named Stenhouse, who had served as Chief Quigg’s secretary, was killed by a female acquaintance. (She later was sentenced to five years in prison.)

July 17th -The paper noted that Sgt W.M. Glisson won the ’donut and sinker’ contest at the station house by consuming 48 donuts and two quarts of coffee, defeating Lt McCarthy and G.S. Wilkerson by many donuts.

July 19th -The new 79th Street Causeway opened for traffic.

August 7th -A conference on MPD police pensions was held. Attending was City Mgr. Snow, Capt. Forrest Nelson, Ed Melchen, Lt Finch Cochran and Lt McCarthy.

August 24th -New uniforms were issued to all uniformed MPD officers. The uniforms were grayish brown gabardine in tailored style. Motor officers were provided with chin straps, Sam Browne belts and puttees.

August 25th -The Public Safety Director and the Chief ordered a roundup of all ‘rowdies” as a result of a downtown shootout in front of the Mutt & Jeff pool room. During that shootout, officers responded and Officer “Pistol Pete” Logan, on duty in the railroad tower, sounded the alarm while climbing down and chasing the bad guys. He was aided by Officers E.R. Milstead, and Henry Owens as well as Detectives. William Driggers and Bob Johns. Officer D.D. Carver and C.G. Riley arrived and arrested some of the culprits. The City Manager later orders the pool room to be closed.

August 28th -The City and County police departments announced a drive to arrest DUI drivers due to the high number of recent DUI fatalities.

August 29th -The Chief continues instilling discipline in the force. Officer H. Floyd was fired for drunkenness, Off A.T. Richards was suspended five days for sleeping on duty, and Off Frank Gerke and E.A. Herrick was disciplined for failing to check doors during their rounds. Off. G. J. David was fired for a law violation and Officer Wesley Gardner was suspended for five days for sleeping on the job. Also, a 23 year old William Williams was fined $10 for pointing a gun at motor Officer L.G. Crews.

August 30th -MPD Officer Earl Hudson, an amateur boxer, was knocked out in the2nd round at a boxing match in Atlanta, Georgia.

August 31st -Six bootleggers beat up two MPD officers, Offs. R.N.Harwood and A.V. Garbett, taking their weapons, after a car chase in the northwest section. The gang, thought to be from Hollywood, escaped.

September 6th -The new Dade County courthouse opened. Headquarters for the MPD was supposed to be on one of the upper floors but the City Manager advised that the police department needed to be on the street level.

Also that day, it was reported that Officer W.F. Gardner was fired for sleeping on duty and intoxication. Gardner missed his hourly call in and was found by Captain V.H. Mathis, sleeping and drunk on his beat, with a pint bottle in his pocket. This was Gardner’s second (and last) offense.

September 12th -The paper noted that General Electric put on a demonstration of a television. It was a one-act play, showed on a screen only a few inches square, featuring only head shots of the two actors.

September 15th -All MPD officers were required to take a job knowledge exam that covered subjects taught to them at the recent police school program.


Forty-five year old Officer Augustus McCann was killed when his police car crashed and overturned while chasing a speeding truck on September 28, 1928 at SW 27th Avenue and 14th Street. The truck was never found. With McCann during that morning was Officer W. G. Wilson, who escaped with only bruises. McCann, the driver, had swerved to avoid a pedestrian that had emerged from a bus. The woman was injured as the car swept by.

McCann, a Georgia native and a three year veteran of the MPD, having joined in October of 1925, died shortly after midnight in Jackson Memorial Hospital. He was survived by his wife and two daughters. His remains were buried in Boston, Georgia.

(Dr Wilbanks, "Forgotten Heroes, 1996, Miami Herald and Miami News, both -9/29/1928)


Officer Sidney Crews, a patrol wagon driver, was shot in the City Jail by a deranged prisoner, Doe Wilson, on April 24, 1929, and died of his wounds the next day. Crews and his partner, Lonnie Goodbee, were in the jail to kill rats with an air rifle. Crews took off his holster while shooting the rats with a BB gun. Prisoner Wilson grabbed Crews' gun and fired three rounds. One shot just missed jailor C.H. Belcher and the other two shots hit Officer Crews. Detective John Driggers, nearby in the jail, shot the prisoner as he (Wilson) was standing over Crews with the gun in his hand. Wilson died at the hospital.

Wilson was being held at the jail pending the preparation of insanity papers after his arrest the previous day. Miami Herald, 4/25/1929)


Forest Nelson. B-1892, joined the Miami force in November of 1921. A year later he was serving as a Detective Sergeant. In 1925 he was the Chief of Detectives and was promoted to Assistant Chief. In 1928 he was rolled back to the Captain rank when Chief Reeves took over the department.

In June of 1929 Nelson was suspended, then reduced to police officer rank. He was fired in 1930 by Safety Director McCreary. Nelson refused to turn in his badge and demanded a hearing. No grounds were presented and the Court awarded him his job and rank back in May of 1930.

Nelson later served as a Police Inspector and as Assistant Police Chief during the 1930's and mid 1940's.

In the early 1940's he was again demoted and an attempt was made to discharge him due to the fact that he originally joined the department under a name other than his birth name. Nelson had changed his name from Epps shortly after 1910 when he entered into an acting career. The Court again restored his job and rank

His name will appear many times in these MPD stories.

(MPD Records, Personal note-MPD relative)



The Great Depression took a toll on the MPD forcing the layoffs of 12 officers in 1929 for budgetary reasons. The list includes --------


Sam D. McCreary was appointed as Public Safety Director of Miami, heading up both the Police and Fire Departments in January, 1930. McCreary had been the Vice President of El Commodore Hotel in Miami for at least five years and was a member of the City Publicity Bureau. McCreary was the person who called Chief Quigg about the alleged pimping by H. Kier in 1925, which resulted in Kier being shot and killed by MPD detectives while they were running Kier out of town.

McCreary, a hotel manager, had no police or fire experience. However, in 1933, he was appointed as the Chief of Police in addition to his Public Safety Director duties.

McCreary claimed in a 1935 newspaper interview that he had been head of the Miami Ku Klux Klan from 1924 to 1930. This information became public during a story on police brutality in 1935, which is described later in this book. (Miami News-1/31/1930)


7/22/1931 - Chief Hardy Bryan promotes three officers to the position of Traffic Sergeant. They were

J.H. Mansfield, E.L. Barrick and Neal M. Coston.

8/5/1931 - Guy Reeve regains the Chief’s job in court, replacing Hardy Bryan, who has served since July 13, 1931, while Reeve was in Court attempting to regain his position.

Jan 4, 1932 - Chief Reeve ordered Captains Bryan, Nelson and Mathis to have their lieutenants and men arrest gamblers. Sheriff Lehman backed up the Chief’s order. No comment was made by Safety Dir. S. D. McCreary.

1/5/1932 - Hardy Bryan sued Chief Reeve for the return of the Chief’s job.

1/18/1932 - The City Mgr. ordered Reeve removed and replaced by Bryan on July 18, 1931. Reeve was

later reinstated by the court yet again.

6/4/1932 - A MPD police pistol range opened at warehouse 8 of the municipal docks. Det. D. M. Kendall was chosen as Range Captain and Red Crews the Instructor. All officers are to undergo range training in the next three months.

(All items from Miami News-1932, dates indicated)


On October 3, 1931, Officer Robert L. (Bob) McCormack, 29, was visiting Miss Dorothy Lager and her family in Miami, and had gone out on the porch to rest before dinner. Later, Ms. Lager went out to the porch and on glancing down to the pavement, saw the policeman lying there face downward. He was rushed to a Miami hospital, but never regained consciousness, and died on October 15th, 1931.

McCormack, born in St Louis, Missouri on September 8, 1902, became a MPD officer on Sept 23, 1925 and was assigned to the motorcycle squad at the time of his death. He was living at 1252 SW 6th with a roommate, William Oakford, who was also a MPD motor officer.

Officer McCormack’s body was sent back to Missouri for burial by Philbrick Funeral Home. He was survived by his mother, Mrs. R.L. (Anne) McCormack, of Licking, Missouri and a brother, John McCormack of Miami.

An inquest was held on Oct 17th, 1931, by Justice of Peace, R.R. Williams, and ruled the death accidental.

(Miami News- 10/15/1931)


In February of 1933, President-elect Franklin Roosevelt, quite popular with the voters during the depression era, stopped in Miami at the end of his post-election vacation and became a target of an assignation attempt. He had been sailing on the yacht Vincent Astor for eleven days and now was to return by train back to Washington, DC to prepare for the upcoming inauguration. At 945 PM in the evening, Roosevelt arrived at Pier #1 near downtown Miami, greeted by a crowd of dignitaries and driven to a well lit Bay Front Park along Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard. Roosevelt had been expected to make a 20 minute speech to a crowd, estimated at 25 thousand, interested in seeing the new President close up. Roosevelt was escorted by the Secret Service and Miami officers. His limo halted in front of the band shell. Efforts were made to mask the fact that Roosevelt was partially crippled by polio. For this event, to make his public remarks, he merely pushed himself to the top of the back seat of the open limo. Miami Mayor Gautier and Mayor Anton Cermack of Chicago welcomed him.

Roosevelt spoke for a few brief minutes and prepared to leave for the train depot. As the speech concluded, a short, stocky man climbed atop a cheap metal seat several rows from the front of open band shell, pulled out a 32 caliber pistol, and fired five rounds from 25 feet away in the direction of President-elect Roosevelt. The crowd shouted “Kill that man”. The would-be assassin, identified as GUISICPPI ZANGARA, a 33 year old Italian who had emigrated from Italy in 1923, a bricklayer by trade, who had spent most of his time in America in the area of Patterson, New Jersey, working odd jobs.

As Zangara, an uneducated veteran of the Italian Army, fired, a brave Miami doctor’s wife, Mrs. W.F. Cross, spoiled Zangara’s aim as she threw herself in front of him clutching his arm. Six persons were hit by the gunshots. The two most seriously wounded were Mayor Anton Cermack, standing on the running board of Roosevelt‘s car and Mrs. Joe Gill, wife of the President of Florida Power & Light Company, hit with a bullet to the stomach. Others hit were William Sinnott, a New York City police officer accompanying Roosevelt, Margaret Kruise, a New Jersey visitor, Russ Caldwell, Miami, and Miami Mayor R.G. Gautier, all with minor injuries. Zangara was immediately pounced on by citizens in the crowd in addition to Miami police officers Arthur Clark, Ray Jackson, Red Crews and Fitzhugh Lee, all on duty in the park under the command of Captain Nelson. Roosevelt’s car, driven by Miami officer Fitzhugh Lee, (who was Chief Quigg's brother-in-law), started forward at the command of the Secret Service agent accompanying the President-elect, but soon stopped on Roosevelt’s order to check on his friend Cermack.

Zangara was immediately whisked away by police to the 17th floor of the Dade County Courthouse on Flagler St. He was questioned for two hours by Dade County Sheriff Dan Hardie, Secret Service agents Brodnax and Murphy and Dade County Chief of Detectives, Guy Reeve. Miami District Justice of the Peace, Ferguson, arranged quickly for a court stenographer and Zangara freely spoke about the crime, albeit in broken English, admitting that he had intended to shoot Roosevelt but the woman next to him pulled on his arm, diverting his aim of the gun that he had paid eight dollars for in a North Miami Ave gun shop three days previously. Zangara, who claimed that his stomach was hurting for years causing him great pain, wanted to kill ‘rich’ people who were hurting the ‘poor’ people. He claimed that he wanted to kill President Hoover in Washington, but that he stayed in the warm Miami weather hoping to cure his stomach ills. Zangara further advised his questioners, “When I read in the Miami newspapers that the President-elect was coming to Miami by boat, I determined to kill him”. Zangara had previously lived at 138 Jersey Street in Patterson, and in Hackensack, New Jersey until he moved to Miami months ago. In April of 1932, he resided at 20 NE 17th Street in Miami. and by December of 1932, had moved to a rooming house at 126 NE 5th Street ( Ma Green's place?)

Zangara was initially charged with four counts of Attempted Murder and was tried and convicted on these charges on February 20th, 1933, less than 100 hours after the crime. He entered the courtroom escorted by Dade Det. Chief Reeve and a giant deputy named Aughenbaugh and pled guilty. Judge E.C. Collins, despite the pleas of court appointed attorneys, including Lewis Twyman, President of the Dade County Bar Association, James M. McCaskill and the Italian speaking Albert Raia, that their client was mentally unstable, sentenced Zangara to eighty years total. Zangara cried out to the Judge, “you are stingy, why don’t you make it one hundred?” The Judge replied, knowing that the condition of Cermack and Mrs. Gill was critical, stated “Perhaps you will get more”.

The FBI's J. Edgar Hoover and the US Secret Service looked into possible motives of Zangara for the shooting spree. The conclusion of both agencies was similar; that Zangara, an uneducated proponent of anarchy, operated alone in this crime. His prior movements were traced without discovering hard information of any conspiracy in the New Jersey area. Zangara had accumulated $2500 in savings and had been withdrawing it to live on during the last year of his life in Miami. It had been said that he lost much of his savings at the Miami horse and dog tracks. He had only $43 on his person when arrested and $200 in a New Jersey postal account.

Mayor Cermack, meanwhile. was being treated for stomach wounds by doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital, including, Dr. G. Rapp, attending physician and Dr. Frederick, renowned surgeon. Cermack, was able to speak immediately after his admittance to the hospital, as Roosevelt visited him before the President-Elect left the city for Washington. Despite the care provided by the doctors, Cermack died on March 6, 1933, of peritonitis.

Zangara was returned to the court, pled guilty, and sentenced to die in Florida’s electric chair. Zangara said he was happy with the verdict and sentencing. On March 20th, 1933, fourteen days after Mayor Cermack died of his wound, Giuseppe Zangara was executed in Raiford State Prison. His last words were, “Goodby to all poor people everywhere, PUSH THE BUTTON”. Dade County Sheriff Dan Hardie accommodated Zangara last request and the button was pushed.

It is interesting to note the comment Mayor Cermack made while hospitalized on hearing of the speed of Zangara’s first trail. He was reported to have said, “If other states followed Florida’s example of speedy trials, crime would certainly drop quickly all over our country”

(Fresno Bee-2/17/1933, Nevada Journal-2/18/1933)


Al Capone, notorious Chicago gangster, would frequently winter in Miami's warm sun. He purchased, under the name of his wife Rose, a home on a small island between Miami and Miami Beach and would spend many of the winter months partying and relaxing in the sun. Capone told Chief Quigg that "he had no intention of breaking the law in Miami. The locale of his home was actually within the city limits of Miami Beach. However,

The Miami Police in 1930 decided to copy the Chicago police's habit of jailing Capone for any possible violation they could think of.

In May of 1930, Capone was arrested three times for 'investigation' or vagrancy. One arrest on May 28th was made by Chief of Police Guy Reeve and Detective Chief Scarboro for vagrancy as Capone was attending a boxing match at the local American Legion hall.

Capone's attorney's responded by appealing to federal judge Ritter for a restraining order against the department to prevent MPD for arresting Capone without a warrant. The same judge has previously issued an order preventing twenty Florida sheriff's from arresting Capone "without due process of law". The attorneys appeared before a Miami Justice of the Peace to charge Miami Public Safety Director, Sam McCready and Mayor Ritter, for the false arrest of Capone. The shoe was then put on the other foot as Capone was then charged with perjury for lying about the circumstances of the above arrest.

These cases all became moot in 1931 when Capone was convicted on income tax violation charges and sentenced to eleven years in jail, which he served seven and one half. After his release, he returned to his Miami Beach mansion in ill health and died in 1947 without suffering any additional arrests by the MPD.

(Miami News-various stories in May 1930)


John Brubaker, 30, died in a motorcycle crash on March 31, 1933, as he and Officer C.E. Campbell sped toward a burglary call. At West Flagler and 16th Avenue, a 20 year driver turned in front of Brubaker resulting in a crash that injured the officer, who died of a fractured skull two days later. The girl advised that she seen Campbell go by but claimed she never seen Brubaker's motorcycle coming.

Brubaker, a Pennsylvania native and a Army veteran, joined the MPD in 1928. He left a wife, Mattie and two children at the time. His wife was pregnant at the time of John's death. The child, Roy Brubaker, later became a MPD police officer in 1956 and retired in 1979 after serving 23 years, many of them as a mounted unit officer. Officer Brubaker is buried in Miami's Woodlawn Cemetery. (MPD Records, Dr. Wilbanks' "Forgotten Heroes", 1996)

The Pistol Teams fielded by MPD in the 1930's included the following officers:

Sgt L.G. Crews, E.H. Hanlin, Pat Baldwin, Charles Stanton, Lt. J.O. Barker, Lt. J.H. Collins, Gerald Baldwin, S.A. Tanner, Hubert Coleman, Cal Davis and R.G. Stiles.

The team won many trophies in matches with other departments and Army teams.

Long time MPD Sergeant Mansfield was buried today in honor. His pallbearers were Capt. Hardy Bryan, Capt. Virgil Mathis, Capt. Forrest Nelson, Capt. Wm. McCarthy, Lt. Finch Cochran, Sgt. Ed Barrick and Sgt. RoyPottroff. (Miami News-11/13/1933)

In December of 1933, Constable John Dickson was killed by an offender. The suspect was arrested by MPD Chief S.D. McCreary and Detective E.W. Melchen.

(Dr. Wilbanks' "Forgotten Heroes", 1996)


Leslie Quigg, long time MPD Chief of Police, related this story to MPD Vet Joe --------, husband of Quigg's granddaughter. "Chief Leslie Quigg and I were talking one day at his house in Shenandoah and he related this story to me. He said that back when he was Chief, the City and downtown merchants were having a real bad problem with pickpockets down on Flagler St. and I think it was around Christmas time. He called in two of his detectives and told them to arrest a pickpocket and beat him up real good and bring him to his office. In the meantime, he called the newspaper and told them to send him a reporter and camera man. Well, several hours passed and the two detectives showed up at the Chief's office with a pickpocket they had arrested and beat up. The newspaper reporter and camera man took a photo of the beaten up pickpocket and put it on the front page of the next day's newspaper. The headlines read, "This is what happens to pickpockets in Miami". The pickpocket problem was solved in downtown. Times change.


Forty year old Detective Robert Lee Jester, a 10 year veteran of MPD was shot and killed in downtown Miami on Saturday afternoon, November 18,1933, in a shoot out between two MPD detectives and two bank robbers.

(This chapter provides details into this shootout that resulted in the death of a MPD detective.) (422 words)


Jim Maloney was a heavy weight boxer who won 49 of his fights, 21 by a knockout in bouts with the biggest and the best boxers in America during the late 20's and early 30's. He defeated Primo Carnera, among other big names in the sport. In March of 1934, Jim joined the Miami Police department and was assigned to Traffic duty. In 1935, while still on the Miami P.D., he fought Max Baer on Miami Beach, losing the decision.

Jim was attending law school at the U. of Miami while still on the department and later was the university's boxing coach. It is not known how long Maloney was on the department but we will wager that he did not have any difficulty with the tough guys down on Flagler Street while directing traffic.

(MPD Records, Miami News-6/1924)

67. MIAMI P.B.A.

The Police Benevolent Association was born in the midst of all the instability in the department. In 1935, a group of policeman organized the PBA, the first in Florida, to present a unified forum in civil service and employment matters. LIST OF PBA PRESIDENTS are contained in this chapter of the book. (174 words)

68. BUSY SEASON - 1935

Did you know that Charlie Chan was a member of the Miami Police? He was - Officer #237, by special order of Acting Chief William McCarthy. The sage Oriental criminologist, Worner Oland, known to all as Charlie Chan, received a special badge recently. His new movie opened in Miami and all Miami police officers were invited to view the flick. (Miami News, 1935)

The Federal Communication Commission issued a permit to Miami for a 2-way police/fire radio system. Also, the radio system went from 100 watts to 500 watts according to MPD Chief Radio Operator, Ben Denby.

The radio system was initially installed on November 15th, 1933 according to the MPD Annual Report.


The arrest of a 17 year old youth for drunk and disorderly conduct at the Olympia Theater on March 9, 1935, set off a furor in Miami that lasted several weeks.

(This chapter describes in detail the alleged brutality case against several officers and quotes the testimony of the Chief of Police that he was the head of the Ku Klux Klan in Miami from 1924 to 1930, at which time he was appointed as Public Safety Director, in charge of both the fire and police departments. He was later appointed Chief of Police in 1933.)

(366 words)

The following month, a new city commission fired McCreary from the Public Safety job and a month later fired him as Police Chief.

Former Rochester, NY Police Chief, Andrew Kavanaugh was named Safety Director of Miami, in charge of both Fire and Police departments. He was hired by City Manager L.L. Lee to replace S.D. McCreary. (Miami News-2/24/1935)


Captain William J. McCarthy, commander of the traffic division, was named Acting Chief. McCarthy outlined his plans for the supervision of the department, stating " There has been too much tendency for police officers and personnel to take up so much time with politics and not enough with their own duties. I will insist that the department be run with the sole aim of protection of life and property". (Miami News- 5/23/1935)

McCarthy was acting Chief of Police during the fall of 1935 when the terrible hurricane wiped out the Keys and took a good swipe at south Florida. McCarthy warned citizens to get their cars off the streets before the storm, based on teletypes from Cuba on the ferocity of the winds.

A month later McCarthy issued an order to round up all known criminals and bring them into the police station for questioning (We could do that then). Rumors were circulating that the big crooks from up north were going to make a move on the hotels and clubs in Miami, forcing the owners to 'hire' them to protect the clubs, a scheme to take over the profits of the establishments during the upcoming busy tourist season. McCarthy was a tough cop but well respected by his officers and the local citizens. (General knowledge & MPD Records)


Miami had a new Public Safety Directory (who also headed the police department), Andrew Kavanaugh, in 1936, who implemented a plan to decrease auto fatalities caused by drunk drivers. Kavanaugh issued an order that allowed drunks to call the police for a free ride home if they thought they were too tipsy to drive. No fine, no arrest, no charges, no strings of any kind- just so you keep away from the wheel of the car until you become sober. He was motivated by six recent deaths caused by drunk drivers, including one of his own police officers, Officer Samuel Hicks.

"Let the other fellow drive", he urged. "If there is no other fellow, call a cab, and if you find yourself financially embarrassed, and still conscious enough to be safety-minded, call the police headquarters and we will see that you will be taken home in safety - only don't do it too often."

He said several men had availed themselves of the service. The policemen just drove their charge to the front door and helped them up the stairs - no extra frills, like circumventing irate wives or delivering the automobile too. (MPD records)


William McCarthy, 40, who has been serving as Acting Chief since May 23rd, 1935, was appointed permanent Chief of Police last night by City Manager L.L. Lee. The former Marine, wounded in France in World War I, has been a MPD officer since 1921 when he joined after a short stint as a Washington D.C. officer. McCarthy was a traffic division Lieutenant in 1925, having a detail of 250 men under him, more than there are now (1935) on the force. McCarthy became a Captain of the Traffic Division in 1932.

McCarthy's tenure did not last long. In the spring of 1936, he announced that he was vacating the Chief's position and wished to be assigned back to the rank of Captain in charge of the Traffic Divison.

(Miami News- 12/28/1935)


John B. Rowland, 36, a Dade County States' Attorney investigator, will become Chief of Police on May 18, 1936. He was appointed by City Manager L.L. Lee, replacing Chief McCarthy, who requested that he be returned to the rank of Captain. A special civil service ruling was passed to protect the pension and seniority rights of retiring Chief McCarthy when he reverts back to his civil service rank of Captain. 'Smiling Mac' McCarthy was appointed Acting Chief on May 23, 1935 and permanent Chief on Dec 28, 1935, succeeding S.D. McCreary, who had been both Chief and Safety Director.

(Miami News- 5/3/1936)

Note: No reason was stated in the news reports on why McCarthy stepped down. However, in a following story on the trial of Detective Chief Scarboro, possible reason(s) surfaced.


Officer Samuel D. Hicks, a 48 year old MPD veteran, an Alabama native, was killed by a drunk driver on Sunday, August 9th, 1936 at N.W. 5th Avenue and 17th Street. The driver, Heanon Arnold, 25, was arrested for manslaughter but no case resolution was located in the records.

Hicks, a MPD officer for eleven years, joining in 1925, and his partner Officer Raleigh Page, were in the process of arresting four suspects and searching their car relating to an earlier auto theft case when Arnold, driving a truck, ran down Hicks, who died shortly after arriving at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Hick was survived by two sons, one of whom became a MPD officer in the 1940's (Louis Hicks). Officer Hicks' wife had died just a month before Hicks was killed. Hicks was buried in Graceland Memorial Park on SW 8th Street.

The investigating officer was homicide Detective A. N. Clark and the Police Chief at this time was John B. Rowland. (Dr. Wilbanks' "Forgotten Heroes", 1996, )

Chief Rowland announced the promotion of Lt. Redman to Captain, and Dick Lemon and Ben Denby to Lieutenant. (#2)


New Chief of Police, J.B. Rowland, suspended the Chief of Detectives, Lonnie O. Scarboro and three other detectives on two-score charges of brutality, incompetence and neglect of duty today. This is one of the most sweeping changes the Miami department has known in years.

(This chapter tells the story of the department’s in-fighting.) (271 words)

Note: Testimony during the Scarboro hearing brought forward the notion that Chief McCarthy had stepped down from the Chief's job because of too much politics on the job and he wanted to return to his traffic command in order to 'do well' for the citizens of Miami. It was also suggested in the above hearing that McCarthy refused to demote or suspend the three detectives as demanded by the Public Safety Director.

(Miami Civil Service records)

State law enforcement officers arrested four persons in connection with the shooting of Curtis Ellis, a moonshine informant. Ellis, himself a big time moonshiner, was to testify against gang members who had planned to kill witnesses in an upcoming trial. One of the intended victims was Miami Police Sergeant Cecil (Hamp) Knight.


(This chapter relates a story about the Mayor’s driver, Officer Charlie Parker, SR.) (259 words)

An unrelated October, 1941 story described a driver's license check where Parker had to show his license to a Highway Patrol officer while driving the mayor. (He had one)

77. MISCELLANEOUS - Late 30’s

A news photo showed motor officer Sgt. L.G. Crews sitting on MPD motorcycle. His uniform had the triangle patch just above the Sgt stripes. This is the first photo of that patch (worn until 1964) that was found. Other photos of officers in the next few years did not show the patch, suggesting that initially only the Motor Squad was issued the triangle patch. (Miami News- 1/10/1937)

During May of 1937, new Mayor Williams was elected. He then led a majority on the commission to immediately fire Safety Director Kavenaugh. The Chief of Police, John Rowland, quit the department the following day and Leslie Quigg was again appointed to the Chief's position. Quigg let it be known that the policy of 'liberality' would return to the gambling scene in Miami.

Chief Quigg quickly re-instated fired Detective Chief Scarboro and Detective Williams, who was fired by Safety Director Kavenaugh last year. (Miami News-8/1937)

Officer Jesse James Clinton was dismissed by the City Manager because he ran for a seat on the City Commission. (The case dragged out in the courts for years). (Miami News- 9/19/1937)

Enoch Powell, special Negro police agent for MPD, was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. The City Attorney asked that charges be dropped.

Editor's Note: This is the first mention I have found in which a black officer had been employed in an enforcement capacity in MPD history.

(Miami News-10/20/1937)

78. NEWS BRIEFS - 1938-39

City police arrested two white men and a negro, destroyed a 1,000 gallon capacity moonshine still and confiscated 18 jugs of whiskey in what Assistant Chief Forrest Nelson described as the biggest police still raid since prohibition.

Traffic Inspector Wm. McCarthy set up a citizen “Secret Observers” program for traffic infraction reporting. Feb 1938

A suspect in the kidnapping of a 15 year old girl was arrested today by MPD officers A.W. Fairbrother and Raleigh Hill. Richard Darby, 18, admitted he took the girl Sunday night when questioned by Detective Lt. E.W. Melchen, saying " I was crazy to do it, but I loved her so much". The girl was rescued by six dairy farmers after chasing Darby's car at high speeds on Milam Dairy Rd. 2/23/1938

The MPD Pistol Team is participating in the “Flamingo Open” pistol match. A news photo shows Sergeant L.G. Crews and Officer Pat Baldwin.

The pistol match team from MPD had the reputation during this era of being one of the finest in the country. Some of their regular members at that time were Cal Davis, Mel A. Tibbets, V.D. Rowe, Gerald E. Baldwin, and R.G. Stiles in addition to Crews and Pat Baldwin.


John Hepburn, 35, opened fire with a 45-caliber automatic toward MPD officers R.B. Simpson and J.D. Chesser, who had attempted to question Hepburn about a package he was carrying. Hepburn then ran eastward on NW 14th Street and confronted Fireman J.T. Clay, who was standing in front of the fire station. Hepburn shoved the gun into Clay's stomach and fired, but the weapon failed to fire.

Two snake hunters driving by in an auto, Jack Shumaker and Wilbur Simmons observed Hepburn's assault of Clay and joined the chase. Seventeen year old Shumaker fired two shots at Hepburn with a 22. Cal. rifle and killed Hepburn instantly.

The 'package' Hepburn was carrying was an old copy of "Our World Today", belonging to the Florida Library. (Miami News- 3/7/1938)

Miami passed an ordinance requiring boats to lower outrigger fishing poles while passing through bridges, thereby eliminating the necessity raising the bridges.

Edward White, 54, of 2044 SW 2 Street, was very happy to be arrested last night on bad check charges. When Detectives E. S. Chambers and Henry G. Howard arrived at White's home, they observed smoke pouring from a bedroom window. As the detectives battered on the door, White leaped from his bed, which was ablaze from the lighted cigarette he had dropped as he went to sleep. Detectives Chambers and Howard beat out the flames without the aid of firemen. 3/21/1938

A new 'single fingerprint' system has recently been installed in the Miami police identification unit. Previously, all ten fingerprints were required for identification. Under the new system, a thief need leave only a single tell-tale print at the scene of a "job". Armed with one fingerprint, experts can turn to their files and identify the thief, if he has a prior record. 3/24/1938

A photo in today's paper shows police officer Bob Yancey, Harbor Patrol officer, showing off new equipment - a dive helmet - to perform underwater rescue work. 3/25/1938

Detectives Sid C. Broome and J.A. McLendon arrested an entire busload of Negroes because one of them yelled an insulting remark at the officers from the bus window. 4/8/1938

The Miami PBA hosted a party for 1,600 school children at their 3rd annual picnic at the Biscayne Kennel Club. The picnic was financed from proceeds of the annual dance, sponsored by the association.

The president of the PBA then was Lt. Edwin L. Barrick. A photo accompanied the story. 5/29/1938

Miami Police Dispatcher Margaret Dow (or DOE) was mentioned in an article as being the first female police dispatcher in the United States. She made her first radio broadcast in 1937, the same day she received her radio license. From 1934 to 1937, only male Miami police officers were assigned as radio dispatchers. 6/17/1938

Officers Harry Fouts and Carl Spense made a quick arrest via a radio BOLO, one of the first using the new two-way radio setup that MPD installed. They stopped the stolen car within a minute of the broadcast. 6/21/1938

C. O. Huttoe was removed from Vice Squad as a result of pressure from Mayor Williams. Detective Fred Rowland was placed in temporary charge of squad.

News reports rumors that Sgt Sid Broome will have the job soon. Huttoe remained at the same rank and will continue to earn $180 a month. 6/26/1938

Officer Charles R. Reynolds has been assigned to the waterfront beat for years and states he NEVER has made an arrest. 7/3/1938

While, at the MPD practice range in Opa Locka, things got exciting. Matt Vollmner, 68, the caretaker at the range was shot in the leg when an unexploded pistol bullet caught in the cutters of the power lawnmower he was operating and exploded.

On the same day, MPD officer Ray Brock suffered a sprained angle at the range when he stepped into a hole while target practicing. 7/9/1938

Detective M. C. Tucker arrested five men last night in a bar at NW 5th Street and 4th Avenue following speeches allegedly violently Nazi in character. The five will be tried in city court on Monday. Main figure arrested was Raymond Healy, 26, termed by police a self-styled Hitler who came here recently from New York. Police took a brief case from Healy containing a supply of anti-Jewish windshield stickers and a pamphlet in German.

A Miami News editorial blasted Chief Quigg for crossing over the line, ignoring first amendment protections. They stated Quigg did the same earlier, when Communists were making the same type pitch.

Coral Gables Officer Homer Barton was shot in May 1938 by a crazy drunk with a shotgun while trying to serve a warrant. Miami officers W.S. Scott and Harry Bushman arrived at scene on Oak Avenue just inside of Miami City limits and were jumped by the offender. Sgt Louis Allen came on scene as well as Detectives Charles C. Papy and Wesley Shananhan. They all overcame the offender. Chief Quigg took the offender to Jackson Hospital. The offender later recovered and was executed in 1941.

(Dr. Wilbanks' "Forgotten Heroes", 1996)

Patrolman Arthur Fairbrother, 31, was in Jackson Hospital today suffering from bullet wounds when he was shot by Patrolman Gillette. Officer Gillette was called to Fairbrother's home to handle a domestic disturbance at which the drunken Fairbrother beat his wife and destroyed household furniture.

Upon Gillette's arrival at the home, Fairbrother threatened the on-duty officer with a knife and Gillette fired twice to stop the attack.

Fairbrother, who had recently been suspended for firing his revolver through the floor of a nightclub, was again suspended by Assistant Chief Nelson and will be booked into the city jail as soon as he is dismissed from the hospital. (St. Petersburg (FL) Times- 2/28/1939)

Mayor Williams was recalled in the city election along with two other commissioners. Their administration had been labeled the 'termite administration'. The re-call election was prompted by many odd-ball moves by the recalled commissioners. (Miami News-3/1/1939)

In 1939, Chief Quigg issued a permit for the KKK to conduct an auto parade down Flagler Street, which resulted in the heightening of tensions between the races in the City. (MPD records)


Officer Patrick Howell Baldwin was killed in an auto accident yesterday.

(This chapter goes into detail on the death of Officer Baldwin.) (334 words)


Things got hot in both the city government and the police department immediately preceding World War II. The principal issue was vice enforcement. Chief Quigg publicly stated that the City wanted a ‘liberal’ atmosphere in vice enforcement. C.O.Huttoe, who was Vice Squad commander during most of 1940 and 41, seemed bent on embarrassing Chief Quigg. On each occasion that Quigg announced that Miami was ‘closed’ to gambling, Huttoe went out and made some raids. Some of the headlines in the Miami News during that period highlight the fights between the City Manager, the Safety Director, the Chief of Police and the Vice Squad.

The City Manager announced a suspension for the second in command, Inspector Forrest Nelson, for taking a city car on vacation to Ohio for a month. The detention of the juvenile sons of a prominent resident over the alleged scalping of tickets at the Orange Bowl caused quite a commotion and the reduction in the police officers work week from a seven-day week to a six-day week occurred in this period. (Miami News-, 1940-41)

Detective Chief Scarboro was reprimanded by Chief Quigg for not allowing two juvenile sons of an attorney to call home after being detained at the Orange Bowl for alleged scalping of tickets. Scarboro himself denied the boys the use of the phone and he and Captain Mathis, the Duty Captain at the station, was both reprimanded by Chief Quigg, but City Manager Lee upped the penalty to a ten day suspensions for both.

(Miami News- 1/11/1940)

Former officer Jesse J. (Jack) Clinton was suspended but then sued to regain his job.

Clinton had run for City Commissioner in 1937 and was fired for becoming involved in politics.

(Miami News-1/14/1940)

Captain Homer Redman was appointed Acting Chief by the City Manager, while Chief Quigg was on vacation for five days, bypassing the department’s number two leader, Inspector Forest Nelson.

(Miami News- 1/20/1940)

A Federal Grand Jury called Vice Squad boss, C.O. Huttoe, and others concerning vice conditions in Miami. (Miami News-1/24/1940)

The same day, Public Safety Director Reynolds ordered Chief Quigg to clean up Miami’s gambling problem. Quigg passed the order to Huttoe.

City Manager Lee calls for Chief Quigg to ‘clip the wings’ of ambitious vice detectives who were making raids obsessively to gain clout in obtaining promotions. C.O.Huttoe was promoted to Lieutenant.

(Miami News- 11/3/1940)

Chief Quigg appoints Grace Tamasy to the position of policewoman in the MPD.

(Miami News-3/18/1941)

Author’s Note: Tamasy was assigned to the new Juvenile Unit shortly after her hiring.

The U.S. issues a 653 page report on corruption and brutality in the department. Some of the examples they cited were Detective C.C. Papy striking a prisoner with his fist, Officer John Suggs (now in Navy) for striking another prisoner and Officer Nick Muslin for roughing up a prisoner and not acknowledging that it was an improper action.

(Miami News-4/23/1940)

John Manny charged that Safety Director Reynolds had a secret contract with the City that he (Reynolds) would be put back into his old job as Commander of the Motor Squad if he got bounced from Safety Director’s job. Manny also charged that Mayor Orr put pressure on the MPD to promote C.O. Huttoe to Lieutenant. Huttoe had backed Abe Aronowitz run for office while Chief Quigg backed another.

(Miami News-6/2/1941)

Jesse Campbell, a probationary Detective, replaces Huttoe as Vice Squad C/O. Huttoe is assigned to the FBI to work on subversives. Det. Napier was also transferred out of Vice and reassigned to General Assignment. (Miami News-7/9/1941)

Safety Director Reynolds was ousted and Chief Quigg assumes full command of MPD.

(Miami News-7/12/1941)

Feud between Huttoe and Quigg aired again in newspaper. (Miami News- 7/13/1941)

Inspector Forest Nelson takes blame for taking a city car to Ohio on a month’s vacation. He was suspended 30 days and forced to pay a $240 fine.

(Miami News- 7/23/1941)

A news column reported that Lt. Huttoe was now back in the Vice Squad raiding every gambling location after Chief Quigg stated (again) that the town was closed to gambling. (Miami News-10/27/1941)

City Commission orders a shake up of the police department. The City Manager will be forced out for not pushing gambling enforcement. The commission also proposes that Chief Quigg be put on a paid leave of absence for 16 months until he is eligible for retirement. City Manager Lee resigns the following day.

(St. Petersburg Independent-11/13/1941)

The City Commission grants police officers the six day week, down from the previous seven day week. They also propose that during the winter season that the officers be assigned to seven day weeks but will be able to add the extra days later in the year on their vacation period. (Miami News- 12/3/1941)


William J. McCarthy, born in Waterfiet, NY, September 17, 1896, died at his desk in the police chief's office on September 10, 1941.

(This chapter goes into depth on the background of Chief McCarthy.) (208 words)

The funeral director had to arrange a separate time for blacks to view McCarthy’s body, as it seems that he was very popular with all the people of Miami, rich and poor, cabdrivers and professionals, men and women, black and white. (Miami PD records, Miami News-9/11/1941)


On September 18, 1941, Motor officer Wes Thompson, 40, was killed while chasing a speeding motorist at SW 3rd Avenue and 22nd Road.

(This chapter provides the details of Officer Thompson’s death.) (220 words)

Due to so many young men entering the military during World War Two, the age hiring standards for the Miami PD was being temporarily relaxed in order to keep the force intact. (1942)

The current standard of hiring only men of ages 21 to 28 for police duty was relaxed and men of ages 40 to 55, (beyond draft age) would be hired on a case by case basis.

(Miami News- 5/12/1942)

A year end report by Sgt Mack Oakford, head of the Juvenile Bureau, reported a successful record after the first year of the new Juvenile unit, established in mid-1941. (Miami News-5/2/1942)



Edwin Lewrence Barrick, born in Kansas City, Mo, died on Monday evening, June 14th, 1943 of a heart attack suffered at his home,

(This chapter provides background info on Capt. Barrick, a leader in the department as well as the P.B.A.)

(289 words)


During World War II (1941-45), a bulletin board was displayed in the Chief of Police's office listing of all the MPD guys who were then in the military. The following is a copy of that list, the exact date of which is unknown. Others may have entered the service previously or entered at a later time during the war. We consider these men Double Heroes.


(303 words)


In 1943, England's rulers asked Miami Police for assistance in investigating the murder of Sir Harry Oakes in the Bahamas. The Chief sent Captain E.W. Melchen of the detective division and Captain James Otto Barker of the Identification Unit over to assist the crown in the prosecution of the crime. The sensational murder trial featured the testimony of these two Miami cops.

(This chapter provides details of that overseas assignment, which ended up quite controversial.) (131 words)


Chief H. Leslie Quigg was suspended b y City Manager Curry on nine charges of ineffective law enforcement and failure to obey orders. The action followed a ‘wildcat’ strike by bus drivers who parked about 100 busses ...

Judge Ross Williams declares that Quigg’s dismissal was unlawful and he was reinstated on January 19, 1945.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled against Quigg and he was out again. Charles O. Nelson, a 68 year old former New York City Police Inspector was sworn in. Nelson had earlier served as Chief when Quigg was first fired in 1944. Quigg’s petition to the US Supreme Court was denied a hearing and he was retired on a city pension of $85 a month.

(MPD records, & Miami News-9/18/1945)

The MPD police radio system was split into two channels due the heavy load of traffic on the sole one. Denby was then Superintendent of City Communications

Ben Denby, head of police and fire communications, stated, “Miami Police and Fire will be getting 40 FM radios. Miami will be the first city in US to put this new equipment into operation”. (Miami News-9/10/1945)


On April 28, 1945, Chief Quigg announced that Marine Guy Cecil Howard was the first Miami PD officer casualty of WW II. Guy Howard, 28 years old, was killed in action. He had been a detective in the Miami P.D.

(MPD records & Miami News-4/28/1945)


Beginning as early as 1901, Miami's black community had asked for Black policeman to be assigned to what was then known as "Colored Town." In 1944, during Charles Nelson's tenure as chief of police, Miami's Black population was over forty thousand and the racial climate throughout the nation was very sensitive. To avoid public controversy, training sessions were held for black recruits in secret at the Liberty Square Housing project. Five brave Black men completed the training and were sworn in as patrolmen on September 1, 1944. Those five men were: Ralph White, Moody Hall, Clyde Lee, Edward Kimball and John Milledge.

Patrolmen Milledge would later become the first Black patrolmen to die in the line of duty on November 1, 1946. Ralph White remained on the force as a well respected detective for almost four decades. On March 11, 1947, after another black officer was killed on duty, the Miami Commission gave black patrolmen civil service status after one year of satisfactory service, and in 1963, fully integrated in the police department.

(Otis Davis, MPD Ret., President Miami Community PBA)


They Served - We Salute

In September of 1944, the Miami Police Department began hiring black police officers. In May of 1950, a police precinct was established at 480 NW 11 Street to provide a station house for black policemen and a courtroom for black judges in which to adjudicate black defendants.

(This chapter lists the black Miami P.D.officers who served at the black Precinct from 1950 to 1962, when it was closed and the department integrated.)

(667 words)

The Precinct has now re-opened as a Museum, thanks to the efforts of some of these mentioned officers, led by the Retired Police Officers Community Police Benevolent Association.

They ALL served and we salute them.

A special thanks to Otis Davis, President of the Community PBA for his assistance.

Compiled by Phil Doherty, Assistant Chief (Ret), Miami Police Department, President Miami Police Veterans Association, March 2010.

Funny Stories

Humorous stories were submitted to the Miami Police Veteran's Association website during the past 12 years by MPD retirees. I have included some of these tales in this book. Some of the individual retires requested that we withhold their identity and we have. Others are identified.

In order to retain the 'flavor' of their stories, we have not edited their stories. Hope you enjoy their humor.

The website of the M.P.D VETS, a portion of which is open to the public, is




In 1946, the Miami Police opened their own recruit Academy for training, under the direction of Sgt. Walter Headley.

In 2009, Miami PD opened a new training center adjacent to their headquarters on NW 2nd Ave and re-instituted their recruit training, with Class #83. The department, in conjunction with the Dade County Schools, also has opened the Miami Police High School with a curriculum focusing on Law Enforcement, CSI forensic training and Law, focusing on the youth of the inner city population of Miami. (MPD records)


John Milledge, 49, one of Miami’s first black officers, was shot and killed on November 1, 1946,

(The killing of black MPD officer Milledge is described in detail, as well as recent developments.) (658 words)

It was also reported that Officer Eddie Motes lost a leg due to an off duty motorcycle accident. Motes was one of the recent graduates of the 30-man Academy class in August of 1946.


MPD Officer Johnnie Young was one of several officers who responded to a burglary-in-progress at 400 NW 4 Avenue on March 7, 1947.

(This friendly fire killing is described in detail in this chapter.) (178 words)

Four days after Officer Young was killed, the City Commission voted to include all the black Miami Police officers under Civil Service, which allowed some type of pension benefits for Young’s widow. White officers had this Civil Service protection since 1921.

(Dr. Wilbanks' "Forgotten Heroes, 1996)



City Manager Danner announces the promotions of Detective Sergeant Walter Headley to Assistant Police Chief and Lt J.A. Youell to Deputy Chief. Other promotions noted were Forrest Nelson and M.E. (Mel) Tibbets to Inspector, Capt Fred Bratt to Traffic command, Lt. John Webber to Capt of Uniform section and Detective Capt E.W. Melchen to Chief of Detectives.

City Manager Danner was fired by the city commission. Chief of Police Mitchell immediately follows by announcing his retirement. Walter Headley is named as Chief of Police of Miami. Headley had been a MPD officer since joining in 1937. His first assignment was to the Accident Prevention Unit. He later served in the detective unit and during WW2 was on loan to the FBI.

(Miami News-8/11/1948)

During his 20-year reign, the Miami Police Department changed dramatically. In 1949, women became sworn members of the department with Officers Dorothy Asti Gramling and Lillian Gheer being the first two women trained in the police academy. Chief Headley built a separate new Black precinct in 1950, which remained in existence until 1963 and obtained a new police HQ building at 1145 NW 11 Street. On November 10, 1956, more than 1,000 police personnel moved into that new building, which would remain the MPD headquarters until 1976, when the department moved to the current station at NW 2nd Ave and 5th Street.


A 22 year old MPD officer, Frampton Wichman, Jr., was killed when struck by a falling utility pole on Sept 20. 1948, at Flagler Street and NE 2nd Ave. A truck had backed into the rusted utility pole which broke off, bounced off a taxi cab and stuck Officer Wichman. The officer never regained consciousness and died four days later, on September 24th, at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Wichman, a Miami native and a graduate of Miami High in 1943, had served in the Navy during WW II and seen action at Iwo Jima. Wichman joined the MPD in 1947 as a member of Academy Class #11, played on the MPD football team and directed traffic on Flagler Street until his death. Sgt Paul Denham (later Chief) was his supervisor and praised him as an outstanding officer.

Wichman was survived by his wife, Vivian. He was buried in Flagler Memorial Park, 5301 W. Flagler Street.


Local stories in the Miami News, many of which involves in-fighting within the department over vice enforcement, made the news in the late 1940’s. Sources of all these stories are from the Miami News on the dates indicated after each item.

In June of 1947, C.O. Huttoe was demoted by City Manager Danner from Probationary Captain to Lieutenant. (6/24/1947)

Officer Dallas L. Carroll, Patrol Section officer, was transferred from his patrol car duty to that of walking the Coconut Grove beat on midnight shift after raiding a Tamiami Trail bookie joint. This raid followed the City Manager’s directive that all police officers, not just the vice squad, should enforce the gambling laws.

Carroll was later jumped and beat up by several assailants while walking the midnight Grove beat, an obvious result of his earlier raid. (1/14/1949)

Clarence L. Holton, B-1908, a MPD officer from 1938 thru 1949, was suspended by Chief Headley in 1949, from the guard force at the 20th street stockade for fighting with another guard.

Holton came to work drunk. An on-duty guard relieved him of his weapon and told Holton to go home. Holton grabbed the on-duty officer's gun from the holster and attempted to shoot the other guard with his own gun. Fortunately for all, the other guard’s gun was not loaded. Holton was fired.

Detective Lieutenant C.O. Huttoe was physically beaten by Detective Chief J.O. Barker and former MPD officer, W.W. Davenport, at the home of a woman Huttoe was visiting. Barker and Davenport broke down the door and attempted to take photos of Huttoe and the woman. Davenport had been recently fired from MPD and blamed Huttoe for his dismissal. Huttoe claimed that he was beaten because “he refused to go along with the graft setup in the department”. Huttoe and Barker were both suspended by Chief Headley. The Grand Jury began looking into the altercation, calling in Headley, Det. Chief Mitchell, Lt G.E. Baldwin of Internal Security and the two patrol officers who responded to the fight call, Officers Adam Klimkowski and Joseph Mazloom. Miami News, (4/28/1949)

Former Chief Quigg, now a city commissioner, stated that Huttoe has been at odds with his superiors for years, from Chief of Police Reeve, Chief Rowland, Chief Nelson and Chief Mitchell as well as Chief Quigg.

Asst Chief Youell arrested two MPD officers for extorting a citizen. William Reddish, 30 and Cullen J.Thompson, 24. The pair had caught a Liberty City citizen in a compromising situation and attempted to extort money from him by threatening to tell his wife about his indiscretions. (5/14/1949)

Officer Dallas Carroll, previously moved to the Coconut Grove night beat for raiding a gambling joint, was jumped and beaten by three men while walking the Grove beat late one night. Coconut Grove merchants demanded that a police review committee of consisting of Asst. Chief Youell, Lt Harold Goodman and Sgt. Delton Dollar be assigned to look into this beating as it appeared to be in retaliation for Carroll’s earlier raid on bookie joints. Some department insiders claimed that Carroll faked the injuries, but Lt Goodman, Carroll’s superior, reported that the evidence indicated that it was indeed an assault. (6/14/1949)

Detective Captain J.O. Barker became Chief of Detectives replacing Asst. Chief Edward W. Melchen who died recently of a heart attack.

Lt. C.O. Huttoe was reinstituted to his previous rank and position in July of 1949.


Lieutenant Francis Lee Napier was reduced back to the rank of Sergeant by Deputy Chief Youell.



Black MPD officer, Charlie Cohan, was killed by his own gun as he partied with his girl friend in an off-duty incident. The gun discharged while the couple was playing with the firearm. (Miami News - 1/16/1950)

Negro officer John English was thrown through a plate glass window at a NW 2nd Ave restaurant while investigating a bill-skip. After the offender tossed the officer through the glass window he was shot twice by English’s partner, Officer Cicero Anderson. The offender was taken to Jackson Hospital in critical condition. Officer English suffered only minor injuries.

A sensational million and a half Brink’s robbery in Boston last week had a Miami connection today. New York police advised MPD that an Arthur Longaro was en route to Miami on the train and was allegedly involved in the huge robbery.

Miami detectives did not know the suspect’s name but were advised what compartment he was riding in. The four detectives entered the train at NE 29TH Street prior to arriving at the Seaboard rail station.

Prior to confronting the suspect, who was allegedly armed, the four detectives planned their apprehension. Det M.H. Wiggins said he would be the first to crash into the compartment, station that he “was the oldest, with grown children while the other three had young ’kiddies’ to worry about” The other three tossed a coin to see who would be Wiggins’ back up. Det Thomas Elder won the dubious prize while Det A.B. Rossman and Jimmy King covered each end of the coach.

The arrest went off without violence and suspect Longaro was turned over to New York police after the MPD guys found $2,000 in new bills in the suspect’s luggage.

(Miami News- 1/19/1950)

Officers George Spell and Burt Langdale were injured in a head on auto crash at SW 16 St and 27th Ave while running an emergency call behind an ambulance. Their vehicle went out of control and struck on on-coming auto head on. Spell was in critical condition but Langdale suffered only minor injuries.

(Miami News- 1/12/1950)

Steve Brodie joined the MPD in 1925 served one year and then switched to the Fire Dept where he served many years. Two of his sons were long time members of the Dade Co Sheriff’s office, where one, Tom, was an expert bomb disposal technician.

(Miami News-1/29/1950)

The MPD police radio system was split into two channels on February 15, 1950, due the heavy load of traffic on the sole one. Ben Denby was then Superintendent of City Communications.

Photo of a MPD officer directing traffic downtown wearing shorts was printed in the local newspaper. Some citizens liked the idea and others thought he looked ‘silly’. (Miami News-7/27/1950)

Safety Director Henderson calls the MPD brass in to his office, one by one, to lay down the law to stop city gambling. Called in were Chief Headley, Det. Chief Howard, and detective district commanders, J.C. Williams, Charles Schwelm, Ray Tanner and Lt J.D. Baldwin. (Miami News-9/11/1950)

An investigation revealed that employees of the Telephone Company counting room have been stealing coins for quite some time. The local newspapers labeled the thefts the "Bra Conspiracy", as several female employees of Southern Bell was caught stuffing their bras full of coins at the end of each shift.

A Miami police officer and his wife, a Southern Bell employee, were among those arrested. Officer John Resick was immediately suspended by Chief Headley after his arrest. (Miami News-10/3/1950)

Sheriff Jimmy Sullivan, a former MPD officer, was indicted by the Grand Jury in Dade for aiding racketeers from the S. & G. syndicate. Sullivan was immediately suspended by Governor Warren. Tom Kelly was appointed interim Sheriff a month later.

Sullivan, who joined the MPD in 1934, served ten years downtown as a traffic officer at SE 1Avenue and 1 Street. He ran for Dade County Sheriff in 1944 and won by a landslide.

A recent investigation by Senator Kefauver uncovered rampart corruption in both Dade and Broward counties. Sullivan was later reinstated but resigned when statewide prosecutors reopened criminal investigations.

A year later, Sullivan and his wife was indicated for income tax evasion.

(Miami News-10/16/1950)

Dismissed Miami officer, Joseph Liquori, 31, was found guilty this week in Federal Court for conspiracy to ship Anti-Castro arms to the Dominican Republic. Liquori had been assigned as a liaison officer to the Dominican Consulate in Miami and was a one time aide to Dominican President Trujillo's son. The arrest was made in May of 1959, as a huge C-74 Globemaster aircraft prepared to take off with the arms for Batista supporters in the Dominican Republic.

(Miami News- 12/18/1950)

In November of 1950, Chief Walter Headley proposes a state-wide police officer certification program.

(Miami News- 11/27/1950)


Officer LaFleur was killed in a 3 A.M on February 16,1951, during a gun battle with a man who was sleeping in a car at NW 3 Ave and 14 St. Officer LaFleur and his partner, E.B. Burrell,. 32 were riding the wagon. He was shot by 2 bullets in the chest and thigh and died shortly after at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Two of LeFleur's bullets mis-fired but it is possible he did hit his assailant. Lt J.T. Griffin was the commander of the Negro Precinct at that time.

The suspect was chased by Officers Ernest Hayes and Orange Hayes who were patrolling nearby. The suspect was chased to 14th street and the railroad tracks where Det. Neal Coston joined the pursuit. The suspect fired three shots at these officers and Hayes shot back possibly striking the suspect as a trainman advised the suspect ran past him bleeding from the neck and shoulder area.

(Dr Wilbanks' "Forgotten Heroes", 1996 & Miami News- 7-2/16 & 2/17/1951)

Author’s Note:

In 1992, MPD Detective Confessor Gonzalez re-interviewed an earlier suspect in LaFleur's murder, who had unexplained gunshot wounds. Gonzalez was unable to make an arrest due in inadequate evidence. The case remains unsolved.

Officer LeFleur was a Booker T. Washington graduate and a WW II veteran, who had joined the MPD on Jan 19, 1946. (MPD records)

The same evening, MPD Officer William S. Scott was killed by Officer M.C. Bowles, who mistook Scott for a prowler. Off Scott worked the train tower at 20th Street. Scott was in civilian clothes after going off duty at 1045PM and was headed for a restaurant. Officer Bowles observed him squatting in an alley at 1412 NW 3rd Ave. Bowles fired when Scott picked up his revolver from the ground adjacent to where he was squatting.

Officer John Westmoreland was Bowles partner. Lt. Brock was on the scene. No charges were filed.

(Miami News-2/17/1951)

Author’s Note: Many years later, in 1973, the author was promoted to Captain and assigned to command Patrol's day shift where Officer Bowles was a member. The heavy Bowles, hovering around 400 lbs, was consoled by me on his physical condition. I asked this veteran of many years of patrolling Miami's black area and who had survived several fatal gun battles, how he could expect to run after the bad guys. His reply was a classic (and true);

"Captain, NO ONE runs from M.C."


By Wet No name officer

(A funny story that is told in this chapter.)

(697 words)

Oscar L. Holbert, 33, of 448 NW 11 Street, a former Negro policeman, was shot and killed earlier today in the central Negro district. Police found his body on the sidewalk near 349 NW 8th St. Police said Holbert had been shot three times by unknown persons. Homicide Detective B. J. (Bennie) Palmer is investigating.

(Miami News- 6/2/1951)

Patrol officers Joe Miguel and J.P. Bunch were arresting a masked Royal Castle robber downtown when the suspect pulled a gun on Officer Bunch. Officer Miguel then made a power tackle, downing the man and disarming him. Two additional officers, George Groner and Art Melonis, arrived and all four police battled the offender to get him under control. The suspect was booked for Armed Robbery.


On February 28, 1951, Officer James Brigman, 29, a South Carolina native, was killed in an auto crash at N.W. 1st Place and 13th Street in Miami. An auto driven by Thomas McGill struck Brigman’s marked police car causing the auto to crash into a utility pole while the officer was hanging on to the open car door that had sprung as a result of the collision. His skull was crushed and died on the scene.

Mr. McGill was charged with reckless driving.

Brigman had joined the MPD in August of 1941, later taking military leave from 1942 to 1946 to serve in the U.S. Navy. He rejoined the MPD in 1946 serving in the Accident Unit, often with partner Bill Pumphrey, until his death. Brigman was survived by his wife Pearl and was buried in Chesterfield, S.C., where he was raised.

His wife survived him by many years, recently passing away in Marathon, Florida at an age of 101. At the time of her passing, she was the oldest pensioner in the Miami system.

(Miami Herald & Miami News- 3/1/1951, Dr. Wilbanks' "Forgotten Heroes". 1996)


(This chapter relates some tales from the MPD’s pursuit of the ‘CASH GANG’) (766 words)

Sources for this story were from interview and correspondence with retired MPD officer, Ray Parker, who passed away recently as the book was being published.


(The interesting story of the 1952 Dora Pinder case is contained in this chapter.) (365 words)

Also, in August of 1952, Detective Lt C. O .Huttoe was given a five demerit reprimand by Chief Headley by participating in a gambling raid conducted by Dade County detectives. Headley charged Huttoe for interfering in a case outside his own detective district. Huttoe's appeal of the penalty was denied by the police staff after a hearing. This event in Huttoe's career simply added to the many other gambling cases that brought him much attention during a thirty year span at the Miami department.

(Miami News-8/1952)


(First person story of wounding of MPD officer Ray Parker by member of Cash gang.) (476 words)


On July 6, 1954, a six year old girl visiting her grandparents from Baltimore was abducted from her South Bayshore Drive home and killed. Her body was soon found just off the road. A long turbulent investigation resulted in the arrest and release of her grandfather and later her father as well as several other suspects. To this day, no one has been convicted of the tragic crime. The lead investigation was Detective Erv Whitman of the Homicide Unit, assisted by his partner, Det Charles Sapp, under the supervision of Lt. Chester Eldredge and the Detective Chief.

The case was hampered by the change in State Attorney's. Brautigan first was in charge and later, a young Dick Gerstein took over. A Robert Franklin Jones was arrested in 1962 but later released.

Det Whitman resigned in 1958 to begin a law practice and has followed the case to this day (He is now 92), offering his assistance without compensation, in an effort to close out this terrible crime. Whitman is still a practicing attorney and was recently honored by the France for his extraordinary valor during WW II.

(Miami Herald, -7/6/1954, MPD Vets newsletter)


The Hagerstown Morning Herald reported this funny story on July 10, 1954.

"It's getting so a guy can't even trust the police anymore. A burglar broke into the Miami Police Academy and got away with a number of bills ranging from $1.00 to $100. He was traced easily and arrested in Jacksonville. The money, used for instructing recruits, was counterfeit.


Many MPD Vets love to tell the story about Sergeant Milt Olgle visiting a 'friend'. The friend's husband, a driver for a cement company, came home in his cement mixer vehicle one day and unloaded a couple of tons of wet cement into the open convertible of Olgle's new car. Sgt. Olgle had to run out quickly and purchase another car, exactly like the cemented one, in order to have to avoid explaining at home what had happened to his new car. (Author's personal knowledge)

In July of 1955, Miami police patrol officers switched from two-man patrol cars to one-man cars, doubling the number of zone cars to handle calls for service. The number of paddy wagons was increased to pick up prisoners from these one-man cars. A local paper showed Officer E.W. (Gene) McCracken leaving the station in a one-man car.


The MPD motorcycle squad's office was located along the Miami River back in the 1950's. While waiting for roll call one day, one of the motor officers, Howard Shaw, egged on by Officers Danny Schooler, and Eddie Edmonds, wagered Officer Bob Knight five bucks that he (Knight) didn't dare jump into the Miami River in full uniform. To the disbelief and laughter of the entire squad, Knight dove into the river and come out soaking wet, but five dollars richer.

Bob Knight, the son of MPD Capt Cecil (Hamp) Knight, later became C/O of the motor squad, and several other commands. Bob was appointed as a staff officer in the 1970's. Knight, a brilliant, hard working officer, had a reputation of a stormy figure in the department, with occasional judgment problems. Knight retired as Chief of Detectives in 1978.

At least it was learned that Knight could swim.


Sniffing moonshine whiskey in the line of duty gave Captain Raymond Brock, of the Miami Police Department, an early retirement and a pension of $339 a month back in 1955.

The officer headed a squad cracking down on illegal liquor in 1952. Brock's policemen brought him bottle after bottle of moonshine and Brock did a lot of sniffing. Finally, he was stricken with toxic neuritis, sent to the hospital and told to take a long rest.

The Miami Retirement Board, in December of that year reported Brock suffered general muscular weakness, lack of coordination in walking and neurological damage.

Captain Brock, an Ohio native, employed by the department for 19 years, retired at age 47. The usual retirement age then was 55.

Brock was married to his wife Helen and lived at 159 SW 28th Road, passing away 26 years later at age 73,

in Pinellas Park, Florida.

(Syracuse Herald-Journal, Dec 1952, MPD records)


(Mid-1950 police squad were committing burglaries rather than catching crooks.

Story in this chapter.) (432 words)


Captain Bill Nolle, the commander of the black Precinct, was shot at his home, 245 NW 48th Place, Miami, in late March of 1957. Nolle, watching TV with his wife and niece, heard a noise at the front of the house and looked out the door. As he did, an assailant fired a shotgun into the jalousie door as Nolle ducked back. He was hit with two shotgun pellets, causing minor wounds. After treatment at Jackson Hospital, he was released the same evening.

Homicide detectives Ernie Bush and A.J.McLaughlin investigated and charged MPD Officer Harold Mitchell, 33, for aggravated assault. Mitchell was a subordinate officer assigned under Nolle at the black precinct.

The investigation indicated that Nolle was wounded by shots from a 20 gauge shotgun at 9:25PM and his life was saved by ducking just in time, according to Det. Chief John Cannon. The shots were fired from less than 20 feet from the front door of the home.

Nolle had his unoccupied city car shot with rifle bullets the previous month which were followed up with telephone calls to his wife stating that Nolle himself would be the target next time.

(Miami News, March 1957 and MPD records)


By Officer X -wishes not to be ID's

It was about 3 AM on a night in 1958, assigned to Unit 610. I was parked at a Royal Castle across the street from the court house and finishing an Accident Report when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Looking up, I saw a citizen pointing up to the East Side of the Court House. Climbing down, on white sheets were two men, climbing from the county jail on the top floor. I called the situation into the complaint room and heard the Ha Ha"s in the back round when the dispatcher said , "WHAT"........I repeated the situation and was told to QRX (stand-by) The two men got to about twenty feet of the 6th floor and ran out of sheets. The fire department was called to provide a net for the men to fall into but before they arrived, one of the men decided to try to jump down. He did and broke both of his legs and a hip. The other one started to climb back up and then decided it would be much smarter to wait for the firemen. They did arrive and the man fell into the net. Needless to say, he was put back into jail but the other one got to go to Ward D at Jackson Hospital. It was funny.


Officer John Burlinson was driving east on SW 7th Street at 16th Avenue in his patrol car when he was struck by a drunk driver, William Jacobs, 44, who was initially charged with manslaughter. Jacobs was later convicted of reckless driving by running a stop sign and striking Burlinson’s police unit. He refused the alcohol test and was not convicted of the DUI charge, which had been down graded from manslaughter. The judge sentenced Jacobs to 30 days in jail.

Burlinson, 26, a New Jersey native and a Korean War veteran, joined the MPD in 1954 with Academy Class # 29, three years before he died in the crash on March 8, 1958. Detective Mike Gonzalez was the first police unit that arrived on the scene and attempted first aid. Burlinson had been ejected from his squad car which then ran him over. There were no seat belts installed in the police units at that time. Inspector John Webber stated that the “idea of safety belts for Miami patrol cars had been considered and turned down” since policemen get in and out of their cars so often and would never wear them.

Author’s Note: In the early 1960’s, lap belts were finally installed in all units and at present, the full safety belts are part of the police car package when purchased.


The Dade County school administration building at 275 NW 2 Street became a deadly scene during the early morning hours of December 14, 1959. Miami detectives had received a tip earlier in the week that safecrackers might soon target the credit union in this building. Periodic checks were made by members of the Safe & Holdup Squad. One spot check found a window open but no burglars, causing the detectives to commence a stake-out at the building. At 5AM, four burglars arrived with three entering the building via the open window. The detectives moved in and the shooting started. Detective Paul Nichols, Detectives Eddie Edmonds, Burt Whittle and W.E. (Jack) Farr, Jr., killed two of the suspects and wounded a third. The fourth offender escaped.

Investigation revealed that two of the suspects came in from northern states and the third had recently been released from Florida's Raiford prison.

The safe contained only a few hundred dollars at the time of the attempted burglary. (MPD records)


A sensational crime during the late 1950's was the vicious murder of a lady, Ethel Little, at 1220 NW 31 St, on December 15, 1959. A suspect had confronted her in her own home and savagely attacked her, even cutting off one breast and sticking it onto a bedroom dresser mirror.

The response of the department was extremely strong due to the horrible crime. The investigation was led by Detective Bob Utes and his supervisor, Lt. Bill McClure. Many residents of the area were asked (and complied) to take a polygraph test. Many sex offenders were picked up and questioned. In an attempt to match a bloody palm print found on the mirror at the murder scene, the department requested voluntary palm prints from every male over 14 years of age living within one mile of the crime location. Over 4,000 residents visited Stanley's Market, on NW 30th street to provide their palm print to a 12-man police identification squad. No match was found and the Miami police were unable to solve the case.

Years later, Vernon Edwards, 34, walked into a Georgia police station in Decatur, and admitted he was the killer. He provided details to police that convinced them that he was being truthful and his palm print matched.

Edwards was transported back to Miami for prosecution. The author was present during his questioning by our top Homicide Unit investigator, Mike Gonzalez, now the lead officer. The author could hardly believe how normal and calm Edwards's demeanor was while discussing the horrible crime. The killer advised that his conscious had finally caused him to come forward with his confession to this murder as well as another Miami woman, Johanna Block, murdered a year after Ms. Little in the same general neighborhood.

The offender, then a teen, had been living in the neighborhood of the murder, but eluded the polygraph tests and palm print submissions his neighbors endured.

Edwards was married to a daughter of Captain Bratt, a former MPD commander, who urged him to come forward with the confession.

(Miami News- 11/20/76, & 12/15/59, Sarasota Journal- 7/24/72)

In June of 1960, Class #44 graduated from the MPD Police Academy. Included in the class was Clarence Dickson, the first MPD academy trained black officer, and later the Chief of Police. The author was among the twelve officers 'badged' that day.

(Author's personal knowledge)


Miami initiated an active advertising effort in the 1950's and 60-'s in attempt to entice 'snowbirds' to winter in the Miami area. Early television viewers in the Northeast were bombarded with TV ads and the Arthur Godfrey show to "come on down", and they did.

Miami became a 'hot' city in more ways than weather. The rich came, the poor came, the Canadians came, and the crooks followed along to feed off all of them.

Many of the bars did not close until 5AM and a few never closed (the Clover Club in Miami and the Johnson Club in Medley were a couple of the more notorious) The term B-Girls became known to all as they seemed to be in every bar, despite all kinds of ordinances being drawn up to combat them. The Grand Jury made reports on the situation and the newspapers ran stories often. The MPD had a liquor squad back then and many wondered if they were assigned to stop the activity or promote it.

Just goes to show that advertising works.


By Officer X - wishes not to be ID's

(Funny story related in this chapter.)

(344 words)


The law in Florida previously charged the local Justice of Peace (five in Dade County) with holding preliminary hearings on all death investigations. It was not uncommon for the JP to come to the scene of the crime, especially in cases of an officer-involved killing, and hold an inquest in the rear seat of a police car. It has been told that JP Ralph Ferguson, (and later a Circuit Court Judge) would often be located at a card game in the PBA hall and driven to the crime scene to conduct the police car inquest.


During the late 1950's, Miami was experiencing a number of fires at businesses in the downtown area.

Officer ------- ------, a beat officer assigned to this area, was suspected of igniting the fires himself so that he could observe the fires as well as the response by the Fire guys.

He was fired of course, but did not go to jail. Our sources said he joined the Army and later was convicted of assault when he was allegedly trying to put the move on another guy and ended up serving a term in prison. He passed away many years ago.


By Point Control Guy (Not to be named)

One day a woman was walking next to the Dupont Building, known for its swirling winds. She was wearing a flared skirt, a blouse, and a hat. The wind loosened her hat and she bent over to grab it with both hands. The wind then blew her skirt over her head. This Good Samaritan police officer rushed to help her by pulling her dress down. He stood there while she adjusted her clothing as if expecting some reward. When it came, it was a slap heard half way down the block.

By: A Point Control guy


In the 1950's on into the early 60's, the detective bureau had a separate Homicide Unit and Auto Theft Unit. The remainder of the investigate units were placed into one of four geographical divisions, headed up by a Detective Captain. Three of the four districts were headed up at times by Captain Lee Napier, C.O. Huttoe, and Ray Tanner, all controversial during their career. They ruled their particular area like old time sheiks engaged in a fierce rivalry with each other. A detective in one area would not venture into another's territory or case without being on the receiving end of unwanted grief. Numerous allegations of corruption surfaced during these times, many of which most likely originated in one of the other camp (districts). If it wasn't so serious, it would have been funny.

In October of 1962, City Manager Mel Reese brought in a tough old Marine Colonel, Donald Pomerleau, as Public Safety Director, the boss of the Chief of Police. Col. Pomerleau cleaned house at MPD, reorganizing the detective division into Burglary, Robbery, Fraud, etc units. This had the affect of breaking up this group of fiefdoms. During the same period, the ordinary Patrol officer was released from official and unofficial restraints and began to stick their nose into areas of concern previously the sole responsibility of the detective districts.

A new era began, led by the uniformed Task Force, a group of mostly young uniform officers, who were allowed to enforce all laws in all areas. The department culture changed forever, not dramatically, but surely.

This 45 man group was also the first integrated unit in Miami Police history, as several black officers (Pete Bryant, Jimmy McCray, Tom Marshall and Sgt. Leroy Smith) were among those assigned.

The author proudly looks back on his assignment to the Task Force, both as an officer and later a supervisor, as one of his finest of many tours of duty in various department assignments. Working with top cops was very satisfying and the C/O's Capt. Owsley, Lt. Ken Parker and Lt. (later Chief) Garland Watkins were super.


(A funny story about the author’s police academy experience.)

(260 words)


On one of my senior partner’s days off, I was assigned to ride with a guy named J.P. -----, a much older officer. He was a pleasant fellow but did not provide me with a very good impression of what a cop should be. Our first stop on the afternoon shift was at Jeff's Bar, W. Flagler St and 12th Avenue. It was a very warm day and the wagons were not air conditioned. J.P. led me into this bar, where I thought he was going to check out the establishment's license or something.

Instead, he bellied up to the bar and ordered a cold beer, AND offered me one also. I said no way. After downing several quick ones we headed back out to the wagon. I had to make a decision, even though I was still on probation. I grabbed the keys and advised that I will drive. He started to insist on driving but was already a DUI (probably also had a few on the way to work). I bluffed him by advising that I think we should go talk to the Captain back at the station, to resolve the dilemma.

Thankfully, he just said, "O.K. Kid, have it your way."


A story about ‘testing the rookie’

(now probably called hazing)in this chapter. (302 words)


(This chapter tells the scary story of a homeowner shooting at an officer.

However, it ended well.) (668 words)


Rebecca Nudel, a shop owner's wife, was brutally murdered at a SW 37th Ave store she operated with her husband, one quiet mid-morning day in June of 1961.

(This chapter tells the sad story of how the justice system has turned to jelly) (politically correct) (531 words)


MPD Officer Willie (Big Nick) Nicholson, 35, working both on and off duty for three weeks, solved the murder of a bolita operator, Beatrice Dunaway, who was killed during a bolita counting house robbery. One of those arrested was his own sister, Eugenia Thomas, 37, the wife of black Precinct Judge L.E. Thomas.

(Big Nick (MPD) was surprised to find his sister was involved in this homicide.)

(238 words)


(This chapter tells of the ‘classic’ story of a sex confession by Off. Cefalu-- broadcasted over the police radio. Hilarious.)

(330 words)

Ross Cefalu was not just a police officer. He was a pilot, a magician, paid circus clown and a story-teller extraordinary. During World War II, Army paratrooper Ross Cefalu went into France on D-Day, June 6,1944, flying (aiming) a glider.

An extraordinary human being.


(This chapter relates the killing of black officer Jerrel Ferguson in 1962.) (407 words)

The Miami Times newspaper stated

"The mammoth procession led by motorcycle escort, blinking bright red incandescent was immediately trailed by many squad cars that lighted up the highways (en route to the cemetery) They weaved in and out of the winding roads like a colossal dinosaur. There it was, Ferguson was once more left alone, to rest eternally among the departed. But, this time, all his buddies knew about it - because they had taken him there."

Officer Ferguson left six young children.

(Dr Wilbanks's "Forgotten Heroes". 1996


During the Cuban exile CIA secret project to invade Cuba and dethrone the communist dictator, Fidel Castro, the MPD got involved, whether they wanted to or not. Gun running, boat thefts, extortion of merchants to supply cash to some of the 'freedom' groups was common daily occurrences. One glaring example of the 'secrecy' involved in the planned raid was the existence of an open Cuban exile recruiting station at West Flagler Street and 11th Ave. One would think that it was a new Blockbuster store or the like, with a line stretching down Flagler Street every day. In the weeks after the opening of the recruiting office, practically each Cuban stopped and questioned by the author and other officers for any reason, would hear the halting English reply that "I am working with the CIA, so don't bother me."

The effort did bring some economic stimulus to the area as it seemed all of the persons questioned had brand new cash in their pocket. But I often wondered if the real volunteers were outnumbered by Castro's agents.

Big Secret -huh?


Officer Steve Collins had developed a real good C.I. (confidential informer) and would pick him up in an unmarked Task Force car and drive him around Liberty City questioning him about illegal activities. Being the book-worm that Steve was, he remembered that the book said to switch to casual conversation after pumping a C.I. for information.

Therefore, Steve asked the young C.I. if he knew anything about Urban Renewal.

After a moment of silence, the young C.I. asked,

"What his street name be?"

By an old Task Force guy


In 1962, the City Manager, Mel Reese, hired as Public Safety Director, a retired Marine Colonel, Donald Pomerleau. Pomerleau, in effect, took over the police department causing dramatic organizational changes such as eliminating the detective districts, closing down the black precinct, and put the MPD on the road to utilizing computers for crime prevention and other law enforcement purposes.

Pomerleau's stormy term ended in February of 1964 with his resignation. His advice after resigning,

“Move out of the police station and don’t let the City Manager try to run it from City Hall". Pomerleau said he tried to stay neutral in the cold war between the City Manager and the Chief of Police but found the middle ground untenable. His parting words were, “It just was not worth it”

Pomerleau did not last, but his changes did.


By Lou Kirchhoff, MPD Ret.

(Story about ducking knives thrown at MPD guys by a crazed person in Liberty City.)

(399 words)


A series of bombs targeted Jewish businesses and homes in Miami in 1961. Detectives Everett Kay, Eugene McCracken and Lt. Sapp of the Intelligence Squad focused on a city employee as the suspect.

Rookie Miami officer, Steve Plumacher, was taken out of the police academy and placed into the City Water department as an employee, working along side the suspect, Donald Branch. After several weeks, Branch set up a bombing and Plumacher was supplied with fake dynamite sticks to place at a Jewish leader's home. Branch had previously set off bombs around the city, including one at the home of Miami Herald Editor, Don Shoemaker.

On February 19, 1962. Branch was arrested and sentenced to prison. Grateful members of the Jewish community in the Miami area, in appreciation for Plumacher's super work, paid for him to finish his college education. Steve later became a professor at a western North Carolina college. Steve is now deceased.


MPD Officer, Dirk Schel, 30, was patrolling Zone 12, through the Farmer's Market area, NW 12th Ave and 22 St, on September 27, 1962, searching for two black male bandits who had just committed an Armed Robbery at Neville's Swap Shop, 2156 NW 7 Ave, Miami. Officer Schel, a three year veteran, pulled up his zone car alongside a subject on foot when the man abruptly wheeled and shot Officer Schel through the right shoulder.

MPD Zone cars and a Dade helicopter searched the area and soon arrested one man, James Ingram, in the market area. Ingram, 24, was pointed out by citizens as a stranger to the market area. Ingram had removed his shirt in an attempt to evade detection. MPD advised that Ingram was a four-time loser with a criminal record.

About the same time, Officer Neil Garfield , motorman, found a snub nose revolver stashed between potato sacks in the market, near where Ingram was apprehended.

Another suspect, Earnest Washington Hudson, 30, was arrested by MPD Officer Roosevelt Trimble at a gas station several blocks away. Hudson had recently been released from Raiford.

Officer Schel was transported to nearby Jackson Hospital by one of the arriving zone cars, Al Cinilia, and was later "up and around". Schel returned to duty several weeks later but soon after he left the department.

If I remember correctly, we did a quick street lineup, showing the employees of the shop the two had robbed to make identification. Officer Schel later confirmed the ID and the gun Neil found matched up.

Dirk changed careers shortly after the shooting.


(Story about the author shooting a crook (minor wound) named George Washington on Christmas morning. Interesting)

(300 words)

I am sure that not many officers can say they shot George Washington on Christmas morning, especially one with no beard and not wearing a red suit.

However, this is a excellent example as to why

it is so difficult to police a densely populated area, a fact that our GI's are currently enduring in the Middle East as they attempt to root out insurgents who are mixed in very close quarters with innocent citizens.


(This chapter has a story about the author and partner arguing about who actually nailed the burglar. Funny story for all, except the burglar) (358 words)

Note: Manning (the burglar) , after recovering, was bonded out by his wealthy out-of- town family, and stayed at a Beach hotel while attending his trial. Before the completion of the trial, he robbed his own family and fled the state.

By this time, his prints were finally processed by the FBI and it was determined he was also a prison escapee from a mid-west prison. He was later re-captured and spent a stretch in the clink.


By Motor Officer (Name withheld)

While patrolling the South End on an evening shift, I stopped a driver for a noisy exhaust.' The driver, a woman, explained that she had just had a new exhaust system installed and perhaps there was something wrong with the installation.' Having inherent faith in the honesty of an individual, I bent down to look under the vehicle to determine the problem.' It was in fact a new system that had been improperly installed.' In the process of bending down, my tailor-made riding britches split at the seam from knee to knee!! After sending the driver on her way, I began the process to determine who from the motor squad lived in the south end that would have a pair of britches that I could wear for the remainder of the shift. I recalled that a fellow motorman who was assigned in a far North end zone, resided with his wife in my area. I proceeded to their residence at an apartment complex, and parked my motor adjacent to the apartments, out of sight from the street, to ensure that the duty supervisor would not think that this "unnamed motorman" was out of his assigned zone! I knocked at the door of the apartment and his wife responded, in a bathrobe. I explained my plight and she directed me to their bedroom and provided me with a pair of her husband's uniform britches.' She then explained that she was preparing to bathe as she had a pressing appointment, and that I could let myself out after changing.' While in the process of donning my fellow officer's britches, he arrived home!!!!! I made a hurried explanation and departed.' My fellow motorman made no statement at the time and has made none since.'

By name withheld


By Lt. Mikele Carter, MPD RET.

In the 60's, when I was a plainclothes policewoman working on street detail, Sophie Bevilaqua, Dorothy Gramling and I were working downtown on Flagler Street and NE 3 ave at the bus stop. We were standing around, watching for pickpockets at the bus stop.While watching, Sophie "chatted up" one of the men in the crowd.' The next thing I knew, Sophie walked over to me and Dorothy and said that her new friend wanted to "hire" the three of us (whom he had seen hanging out at the bus stop on numerous occasions and assumed we were hookers).' When Sophie gathered the three of us, all of us working in street detail, the "John" explained that he had something new that he wanted us to do. He then explained that he wanted all three of us to perform, with him as an observer, with bananas.' Sophie, without missing a beat, said "Why that's not new! You're the third person to suggest this!" After we had set the price and arrested him for solicitation of prostitution, he cursed us out, saying

"Of all the dames on Flagler Street, I had to proposition three female fuzz".


(Inside story on great detective work by MPD squad in this chapter.)

(515 words)


(Shadowing the bolita king is discussed in this chapter.) (387 words)


During the period of 1958 into the mid 1960’s, Miami’s Mayor was Robert King High, a diminutive attorney who's passion appeared to be criticizing the Chief of Police, Walter Headley.

(This chapter relates the story abut the politics that hamper law enforcement)

(479 words)


By Officer (Name withheld)

Too many to count....Long, long, time ago the city issued several white bullet proof vests designed by the military. A few of us got them to test and report. I've got mine on and its very uncomfortable. I've got it on during a tour of duty on the midnight shift. A possible 26 (Burglary) goes out to an old structure that sat north of the 4-Ambassadors hotel at Brickell & 8. As a supervisor I went ahead and took the back-up and was the first to arrive. To my knowledge I thought this place was uninhabited. It's about 0300 and I start making a cursory look as one of my units arrive. I'm at the back and it's pitch dark. As I'm looking through a dirty window the building caretaker is in the inside looking out through the same window. Our faces come together at the exact same time separated only by the window pane.' Talk about fright, he yelled, I yelled and ran back. Well I have my vest on and start to hyperventilate. I rip my shirt and vest off cause I couldn't breathe. There I was with only a T-shirt and pants on and my shirt and vest on the ground. Guys that see me think I've been in a knock down fight. I stop them before they start setting up a perimeter. ...You had to be there...Well I didn't wear the vest again.

By MPD Officer - Name withheld.


Sgt Bob Ellsworth, the supervisor of the Taxicab Detail, was riding in the downtown area when he heard a radio call that alerted patrol units to a hold-up alarm at Sidney Smith's Coin shop on Biscayne Boulevard. Bob proceeded to the address with the thought of assisting the patrol units but he arrived at the building first and went into the store.

Within seconds he became aware of a very dangerous situation. Ellsworth observed two persons bound hand and foot on the floor and observed two gunmen looting the coin store. The next thirty seconds were harrowing as Bob shot two of the gunmen, one between the eyes, and cornered a third one at great risk to himself. Fortunately, the desperado's bullets went wild and Bob only suffered minor wounds.

Sgt Ellsworth was awarded the Gold Medal for Heroism and was selected the department's Officer of the Year award. After the incident, Bob asked for a transfer to the Patrol Division and became an outstanding Sector Sergeant handling the roughest area of the City during the following years. He has since retired to the quiet hills of South Carolina. ( Bob recently passed away )


On March 8, 1967, eleven MPD police horses died in a fire at the city's stables, temporarily ending Miami's popular police patrol.

(Sad story in this chapter about the death of the entire contingent of MPD police horses.) (370 words)


(Story in this chapter of the book illustrates how dangerous it was to ‘mess’ with organized crime figures in Miami.) (449 words)


Officer Stathers’ murder is still unsolved. At about 4:15AM, December 19, 1967, he requested a dog car without giving his exact location. Officer Jim Harley, later Gables Police Chief, guessed that Stathers would be in the vicinity of Anthony Abraham’s home on South Alhambra Circle. Abraham, a local car dealer, would decorate his home during Christmas season with Stathers keeping an eye out for the display when his night grew quiet. Officer Harley found Stathers patrol car across the street from Abrahams’ home, engine running and still in gear. It had crossed the lawn and crashed into the patio in back of 700 S. Alhambra. Stathers, then 45, was face down on the lawn, shot in the back of the head. The homeowner heard the noise and seen the blue lights of the squad car. His maid observed a tall, thin black man wearing black pants and a white shirt pedal away on a 28 inch English-model bicycle with a chrome fender. Stathers’ weapon, a .357 Colt Trooper, was missing. Stathers also had a bruised arm twisted back.

Miami Police, many of whom knew Stathers personally, responded to assist and flooded the Gables residential area with uniform squad cars and K-9 units, and Dade County Homicide detectives commenced their investigation. The tips flooded in the next day but each one fizzled despite a large reward being offered that was contributed by the residents of the area that 21 year veteran Stathers patrolled.

One known criminal, a teen, was found in Alabama and returned to Dade for questioning but was released for lack of evidence. An informant advised John Heywood, a MPD detective, that a 19 year old street tough from Coconut Grove tried selling him the gun. The lead went nowhere. The weapon has never been recovered. A private investigator, David Bolton, continues to work on the case and still suspects the guy that Heywood led him to, but former Dade Cold Case investigators say the guy, who was still living in South Miami a couple of years ago, is not the right one. Dade Cold Case investigator Ed Carmody advised recently that the case is still considered an active investigation.

Despite a standing reward close to fifty thousand dollars, this vexing case is still only one of two Dade County police officer murders yet unsolved. The other is that of Miami officer, Leroy LaFleur, shot dead in 1951.


(Chief Headley received world-wide attention in 1967 when he issued his famous “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” Interesting story in this chapter.) (926 words)


This has probably happened to more officers than will admit....... going to court after a tour on the midnight shift. I check with the state attorney's office and they said, "go sit' in the police area of the courtroom." Next thing I know a bailiff is asking if I am all right. Well, I had fallen asleep and was drooling. I must have been dreaming because I was mumbling and moving... The courtroom had a nice laugh but I was completely embarrassed. The judge gave me a piece of his mind after court, but did understand.....

By Officer Refused -to- give his name.


Chief Paul Denham had the reputation of being THE authority on anything to do with traffic and auto crashes in the entire state of Florida during his distinguished career. Most of his assignments during his tenure on the department were in the Traffic Section. I had the pleasure of working for this quiet-spoken leader on special projects in the 60's and 70's and had a great admiration for his integrity and dedication.

He would often be assigned as acting Chief of Police when Chief Headley was out of town. About 1967, while I was a Task Force supervisor, a complaint was received from Chief Denham's office relative to customers of the T&D Drive Inn on NE 79th Street receiving an enormous number of chicken s---t tickets from Task Force officers, as the customers exited the restaurant. The Chief put a notation on the complaint tickler inquiring why the unmarked crime prevention team was concentrating on minor traffic violations instead of chasing burglars and robbers.

We had a dilemma. We did not want to embarrass the boss but it was evident that he did not realize that the drive inn restaurant was owned by a known Mafia hoodlum from New York and that most of the 'customers' were either big time Mafia hoods themselves or scumbags coming in to purchase narcotics.

A pile of rap sheets was prepared and packaged up with a copy of the original complaint and 'someone' shoved the entire wad under the boss's door at 3AM. We never received another complaint from Chief Denham about our traffic enforcement efforts.


Midnight shift guys had two hours to kill before City Court opened. The author usually would ask Bailiffs Ben Girten or Tom Jervis to awaken me when the Judge arrives so I could catch a couple of Zzzzs while waiting.

One morning, I forget to alert Tom and fell fast asleep in the last row. Tom woke me about ten o'clock after all the nightshift cases were completed. "What happened to my case", I asked. Tom advised, "Your partner, Joe Catell, handled it for you and the bad guy got 60 days in the stockade. Joe testified very well, covering all bases and your testimony was not needed."

The only problem is that I was riding solo on that night and Officer Catell was several zones away and out of my sight for the entire night.


On Dec 17, 1968, Barbara Jane Mackle, 20, daughter of Robert Mackle, wealthy Coral Gables based Florida land developer, was kidnapped .....

(An interesting story on MPD’s involvement in the Mackle kidnapping case.) (351 words)


(An ‘inside’ story on Super Bowl event at Miami’s Orange Bowl in 1969, when the Jets beat the Coltsin Super Bowl III)

(536 words)


A raucous and raunchy gig at Miami’s Dinner Key auditorium on March 1st, 1969 resulted in famous rock star Jim Morrison getting arrested for indecency by MPD Officer Ted Seaman and Sgt Jim Cox. Morrison was convicted, but died before the sentence was carried out.

In late 2010, outgoing Governor Charlie Crist, who was bidding to become a Florida senator, and a huge fan of the rock group, voted to pardon Morrison.

Christ was later defeated in his election attempt.


As a Task Force supervisor in the late 1960-'s, incidents would occur that would create occasional friction between the 'old guard' and the young 'Turks' on the department.

(The author relates in this chapter just how danger can come at an officer from ‘WITHIN’ the department.) (1,190)


A fierce gun battle erupted at NW 12th Avenue and 2nd Street during the evening of May29, 1969, leaving Officer Ed Carberry, 24, wounded and two gunmen dead. Luis Serrano and Israel Licor, both Miami area residents in their twenties, were stopped by Carberry as their vehicle fit the description of one used in an armed robbery of the Grand Union supermarket on Coral Way and 67th Ave. One of the bandits fired at Carberry, a second year MPD patrolman, wounding the young officer in the shoulder, foot and hand. Two other marked police cars arrived, one occupied by Sgt Bill Charnin, and immediately returned the gunmen's volleys. Both suspects were shot dead in their car.

Carberry heard a pick-up call for a green Pontiac believed used in the Grand Union robbery and spotted the car at SW 3rd Street and 12th Ave. He followed the Pontiac to NW 2nd Street and pulled the car over as two other police cars arrived. As Carberry approached the car, the suspects began shooting, unaware that assistance had arrived. Carberry yelled," I'm Hit", as fellow officers Sam Streiner, Ed Hunt, Raymond Flores, and Sgt Bill Charnin closed in. Charnin went straight to the rear window of the Pontiac and blasted away across the back seat. Two dozen shots were fired in less than two minutes. Bandits Serrano and Licor both tumbled out the driver's door fatally shot.

In the suspect's car were two grenades, a sub-machine gun and automatic pistols in addition to a paper bag containing $400 in cash that was taken in the Grand Union robbery. This capture also solved the case of the murder of two Columbian visitors who were gunned down in the rear parking lot of the Trojan Bar, SW 8 St and 8th Ave earlier, by 45 cal. machine gun shots.

Officer Carberry recovered and continued on his career, finishing it as a commanding officer in the detective bureau. He is presently an investigating supervisor in an anti-corruption state unit.

(Interview Ed Carberry and author's knowledge)

Former MPD Officer Kenneth Kubik, 26, was killed in action in Viet Nam while serving with the US Marines. Kenny graduated with Miami Academy class #58. A year later Ken volunteered to return to the Marines to help his buddies out and was killed. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously.

(Miami News-10/22/1969)


(Humorous personal story in this book chapter on bondsmen)

(254 words)


(Story about how the 68 riot actually started -and why. Plus related actions.) (657 words )


By Wally Clerke, MPD Ret.

In June of 1969, a DC-4 aircraft, belonging to Dominica Air Lines, with an engine afire, crashed onto busy NW 36 St …………….

(Story concerning the 1969 plane crash by one of the officers on the scene.)

(342 words)


Detective George (Deeby) Foss, 72, died . Foss joined the force in 1934 after a leg injury forced him to give up a major league baseball career. Foss was a third baseman with the Washington Senators.


Inspector Francis Napier, a 31 year MPD veteran, was an old school detective who had been one of the Detective District Captains for many years. He was now practically powerless, nearing the end of career, and was apparently attempting to squirrel away some cash for his retirement. On his last week of work, he arranged for a large marijuana purchase. One of his cohorts snitched on him and the US Customs and our Internal Security squad caught wind of his plan. Napier was nabbed by MPD and federal agents with a truck load of grass, which was confiscated. Napier was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for Conspiracy to import and sell 225,000 lbs of marijuana in a Jamaica- to- New York crime connection. Napier ending up doing time instead of playing golf with the rest of the MPD retirees.

(MPD records)


In late December of 1969, Poet Alan Ginsburg had a poetry gig at the Marine Stadium on Miami's Rickenbacker Causeway. Shortly into his poetry presentation to a small crowd, a Miami City official, Mannie Costa, upset with the profanity laced offerings of Ginsburg, cut the power to the microphone. Ginsburg continued without the mike but Costa ordered that music be blasted over the loudspeakers. The tune was "Casey would walk with the Strawberry Blond', which drowned out the rest of Ginsburg's poems.

A few arrests of the attendees for various minor violations were made according to Lt. Jimmy Knight, but

Ginsburg went on his way to spout another day.


(Story on the murder case of Officer Ron McLeod) (401 words)


(Boys will be boys. MPD guys lucky to escape punishment on this one.)

(342 words)


By Anonymous MPD Officer

One day I received a telephone call from a citizen. He told me that he saw this police car pull a car over and the skinniest policeman he ever saw got out just as the driver of the other car got out and ran at the officer with his fists clenched. When he got close enough, the skinniest policeman met him with a straight right that knocked him unconscious. The policeman looked at him for a moment and then got into the police car and drove away. A couple of minutes later the other driver woke up and left the scene. I called the Desk Sergeant and asked if Officer Christiano was working in the zone and left word for him to call me when I was advised he was. Christiano verified the account of what happened and said he didn't know what to do with him as he had only stopped the car to tell the driver his stoplight was not working.


A 21 year old rookie officer had planned to take his young girlfriend to a prom that evening, May 23, 1970, but was shot and killed at 3AM in the alley behind the sleazy Imperial Hotel on NW 8th, just off Miami Avenue. Rolland Lane II, a rookie with only four months on the job, along with partner, 23 year old Fred Harris, had stopped three men for questioning in front of the Imperial Hotel on NW 8th Street. One of the suspects fled with the officers in pursuit. Lane ran back through the hotel in an attempt to intercept him. A gunman, who was not one of the three suspects, shot Lane in the back of the head as the officer was searching the hotel corridors. The shooter, Willie Garrett, a known black militant, opened fire as Lane exited the rear door shooting the rookie in the back, knocking him to the ground, then fired three more times as Lane was laying on the ground. Officer Harris was warned by a room clerk that Garrett was also waiting to ambush him, helping the second officer to escape death. Harris ran to the street where Lane was sprawled and radioed for medical assistance and back-up. Lane died before they arrived.

Garrett had been living at the Imperial Hotel. His neighbor across the hall was the local Black Panther leader, Al Featherstone

Willie Garrett, 26, an ex-con with a long record linked to the Black Panther Party, was taken off an airplane several hours later in Orlando as he headed for New York, still in possession of the gun used to kill the officer. He had firebombed Smiley's Bar in Miami early the same evening he shot Lane. Garrett was committed to a mental hospital as insane but later attempted to gain his freedom by claiming he was cured. After years of legal arguing over Garrett's mental capacity, he was finally sentenced to life imprisonment plus 10 years by Judge Ellen Morphonios. That conviction was later overturned by the Federal District Court due to Garrett being held for an unreasonable period prior to trial. Judge Morphonios devoted five pages of her autobiography, "The Life and Times of America's Toughest Judge", on this case.

After Garrett's release and return to Texas, he was charged with the attempted murder of his mother and was sentenced to ten years in prison.

Officer Lane, a Hialeah High School graduate, was completing his college work at Miami-Dade when he was killed. While attending the police academy, MPD Class #70, Lane was the Cadet Commander.

Lane left a fiancé, his parents and a brother. Officer Lane was buried in Vista Memorial Gardens.


Sgt. Bob Sullivan, MPD Ret.

(Sullly’s own account of getting shot on St. Patrick’s Day,1971.) (817 words)


(Story of 13 yr old being abducted) body found years later) (303 words)


(Story about the assassination of Officer Vic Butler.)(494 words)


(Story about MPD going after the ‘fixer’ of cases in Dade County.)

(271 words)


(An after hours 1972 ‘dust-up’ between MPD Robbery detectives and Miami-Dade Homicide detectives.) (451 words)


(MPD Joins Coral Gables officers in the hunt for killers of Officer Bill DeKorte.) (596 words)


On March 7, 1972, two black males hi-hijacked a Chalk's Flying Service Grumman 73 from the MacArthur Causeway dock adjacent to Chalk's terminal. During the hijacking, a gunfight erupted between arriving police units and the criminals, wounding the pilot, mechanic and one passenger. The plane was still able to take off over the waters of Biscayne Bay and headed for Cuba. Officer Ted Seaman was one of the first arriving officers, with Art Epperson and Felix Eades sliding up shortly after.

Miami's large airport is outside the city's jurisdiction, so we never gave a thought to prepare for a skyjacking, let alone one at the docks.

Both Epperson and Eades got into some hot water over their use of firepower but not too seriously, as the MPD did not have guide lines for skyjacking situations.

(Interview with Epperson and Eades)


Officer Dale Deskins and former officer David Collier were caught by off-duty security officer Lt. Gil Zamora, in the parking lot of Jai Ali, armed, and dressed and made up like blacks, in what appeared to be a robbery attempt. As Zamora confronted Deskins, the later pleaded, "Gil, it's me, Dale Deskins".

Both were charged for Loitering with the charge later dismissed by the judge who disagreed with the constitutionality of the ordinance. Collier later served time for other offenses and Deskins was fired and was last heard from out in Texas. (Miami News- 3/31/73)


By Officer Brian Glaccum, MPD Ret.

(Field officer tells of real street stories.) (714 words)


(Story about a 1972 Dixie Mafia hit on 3 people at Miami complex.)

(716 words)


(A personal story by the book’s author about integrity OR lack of same) (380 words)


(The inside story on the downtown shootout that left two hero officers shot and the offender dead. Great 1973 story.)

(2,492 words)


(This chapter tells of a shootout at the Burger King where one officer and one offender was wounded and the search for the 2nd bad guy.) (880 words)

Sadly, just this past year, retired Captain Bob Yee, working as a security and crime prevention officer at a Miami River boat yard in his retirement years, was gunned down in an assassination by a hired hit man and killed. The killer had shot Bob at close range with a silencer-attached handgun secreted in a bag. After the murder, the hired thug dropped the bag and the silencer slid out of its slot and was recovered by investigating authorities. This evidence; fingerprints and DNA, led to the identity of the killer, who was by that time, incarcerated in a New Jersey jail on other charges. He was recently indicted and extradited to Dade County to face a first degree murder charge for killing Bob Yee, - a good man and a good cop.


By Unidentified Officer

(Funny story by field officer who does not want to be identified. LOL)( 278 words)


(Sad story about how the FBI blew a case resulting in the death of two kidnap victims) (251 words)

NOTE: Six years later Knight killed a prison guard, Richard Burke, and was again sentenced to die in the chair As of this writing (2010), Knight is still sitting on death row, the second longest prisoner in Florida's prison death row. (Interview with Lt. Ernie Vivian, Ret. )


(Story about O.J. Simpson’s violent verbal confrontation with N.F.L. Commissioner Pete Rozelle at Super Bowl X.) (422 words)

On a side note, my stomach went through another churching episode just prior to kick-off that day. The Black Sunday movie hype had stirred up the pre-game media, supplemented by our SWAT practicing anti-terror drills at the Orange Bowl all week.

The NFL called a mid-field meeting before the coin toss to discuss possible crowd (80,000 plus) evacuation in case of chaos (bombs, etc) in the stands during the game. I stood next to Referee Norm Schacter, NFL Security, Miami Fire, a National Guard rep. and the team Captains discussing who would make the enormous decision to evacuate the teams and crowds while millions of fans world-wide watching on TV. Guess who they all pointed to? Me. Wow- I was a bit nervous during the first half thinking about a worst-case scenarios. By the second half, I had calmed down and sat in Steeler owner Rooney's box for the remainder of the game. Exciting day.


By Unidentified Homicide Sgt.

(Humorous story about a Homicide Detective’s apprehension)

(742 words)


(Book chapter concerning one of Miami’s Cuban bombings)(439 words)


(SWAT Sgt puts boss in a pickle.)

(241 words)


(Why one should not jump to conclusions. Funny story)

(225 words)


Elaido Del Valle, a person of interest in the assassination of President Kennedy, was murdered in Miami in February of 1967.

(Intriguing story about the death of a possible suspect in Pres. Kennedy’s murder.) (206 words)


(Citizens chase down bad guy.)

(317 words)


(Well, it was illegal Chief. LOL

Funny story) (425 words)


By Officer Wisner's Best Buddy

(3-Wheel motors don’t float, as Mark found out) (633 words)


(How does that saying go? "Be careful about what you ask for?" Funny story about how to ‘clean’ up the town.)

(256 words)

201 & 202. SNAKE STORIES

By Officer Curtis Reeves, MPD Ret.

(Two snake stories by our in-house snake guy) (1,728 words)



(Who said there were no Irish in Miami. The 1979 parade. Funny)


(A Funny story about our Miami PD ICON, Sgt Harry Lenchner)

(702 words)

Author’s Note: Now, when Harry and I exchange visits and telephone calls, he never fails to bring it up, to my delight.

Harry is past 90 yrs now and still acts like the Energizer bunny. He was a WW II Navy hero and a MPD icon. We all love him as do many others officers around the state who know him from his long time F.O.P. involvement.


(In Dec of 1979, Miami-Dade officers (Sheriff’s dept) chased and beat a man who later died. The Case was the cause of later riots in Miami)

(445 words)


(Personal friend of author dies in the McDuffee riot. Lt Ed McDermott, RIP ,May 18, 1980. The story.) (395 words)


(School Superintendent nailed for building home with materials paid for by the school department.)

(293 words)


By Curtis Reeves, MPD Ret.

(Two interesting stories by Curtis Reeves, MPD Ret.)

(1,339 words)


"It is impossible for me to forget September 2, 1981"

By Dick Witt. MPD Ret.

(Sad story by Col. Dick Witt on the killing of Officer Nat Broom.) (816 words)

Author’s Note:

Capt Dick Witt retired as a MPD Colonel and went on to be Chief of Police at Hollywood, FL for 10 years, then two other Florida departments. Dick was the author's partner in the Patrol, Task Force and later in Robbery. He passed away in 2008. We still greatly miss him, his deep voice and his keen mind.


By Un-named Detective

Embarrassing story (but funny) 391 words)


Actually it was 2:47AM when the phone rang at the Chief Harms' household. It was his boss, City Manager Howard Gary. "You are fired", Gary stated. That began the 'Night of the Long Knives", as it was called.

(At times, there is more danger from inside than on the street -even for the Chief.) (288 words)


A 26 year old MPD officer, Jose DeLeon, who had only been assigned to the Motor Squad two weeks ago, was killed on Dec 21, 1984, while chasing a speeder on SW 11th Street at 9:00 AM on a Friday morning.

(Sad story) (203 words)


(A blot on the MPD as rouge cops become the bad guys. The Story.)

(360 words)


David Herring, a four year MPD officer working solo on late night shift in a marked patrol car, died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a defective muffler on his police car

(Herring was killed by exhaust fumes from faulty police car) (410 words)


(The Pope’s 1987 visit to Miami)

(1163 words)


A well known MPD police accident investigator, 49 year old Vic Estefan, was gunned down in March of 1988. Story

(313 words)


(Clarence Dickson made history once again when he was appointed the first Black chief of police in 1988. Story)

(276 words)


(They call it the greatest generation. MPD had many of these double heroes. They served in WW2 and then had a career at Miami P.D.

The story) (340 words)

Guy Howard, a MPD detective, was killed in action the Pacific while serving in the Marines as a Master Sergeant. He was the only MPD fatality during this war.

Many others served in Korea. Leo Welch and Art Voss were among the warriors that fought their way to and from the Chosin Reservoir, while Frankie Kessel flew combat jets above.

The trend continued into Viet Nam which funneled many GI’s into the MPD. The list is quite long so I am fearful of missing some, but will note that Paul Zabriske, winner of the Silver Star for heroism, is typical of our young double heroes. Each has his story. The story of one, the beloved Harry Lenchner, now 90, was published in the MPD Vets newsletter recently and is presented in its entirety.


Detective Norman Coplin, born in Nebraska on November 25, 1919, served in the U.S. Navy prior to and during World War II. He was stationed on the USS Arizona in Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941, during Japan‘s strike against America. Coplin was one of the 113 men who survived the sinking that cost the lives of 1,177 US Navy sailors. The decorated Coplin was not seriously wounded and helped those who were. He was then transferred to the USS Lexington on December 12th, serving in the South Pacific until his discharge.

After his military service, Coplin joined the MPD and served many years, most of which as a detective in the Burglary Unit. Sgt Coplin died on August 2, 1996 in Broward County, FL.

Coplin was one of the many MPD officers who served in the military during the war. All of these men are regarded as ‘double heroes’.

(MPD records)


On June 17th, 2010, at the opening ceremonies of the Fraternal Order of Police June Conference a special honor was given to one of its members. The conference was opened by and dedicated to Sgt Harry Lenchner.

(This WW2 hero went on to be one of the most well liked MPD officers in history.

He is still going at 90 and we all love him.

The full story is in this chapter.)

(1,060 words


By Officer Tom Paine, MPD Ret.

(Interesting story from one of our smartest MPD vets.) (1,090 words)


(180 words)

(Thirty-seven year old Bill Craig, a 14 year veteran Miami police motorcycle officer was struck by a drunk driver on South Dixie in early morning rush hour traffic on March 19, 1988.He died 3 months later. Story)


(165 words)

(Traffic crash kills young officer.)


(Around 10P.M. on May 30, 1995, Officer Carlos Santiago, 47, a 13 year veteran of MPD, was killed when he fell thru an open bridge over the Miami River.

Story.) (171 words)


Thirty years after politically correct police administrators disbanded the highly effective MPD crime prevention squad, The Task Force survivors, sixty strong, gathered in Ormond Beach, Florida in 1999 for a one-time reunion. Assembling the group was facilitated by a simple website prepared by the spouse of one of the members, Lynn Appleget. This website enabled the committee to coordinate the event and search nationwide for the living members. The effort was spurred by Ron Eisaman and Tom Jurkowski, who recruited Paul Tucker, Dick Witt, myself and several other members.

At the conclusion of the 1999 reunion, member George Green inquired as to when the next gathering would be held. The author informed him that this was a one-time effort but that we would use this model to bring all retired members of the department together using the mode of the Internet, supplemented by quarterly newsletters. An organization was formed in January 2000 and it is running strong with over 800 members twelve years later. The succeeding website, also designed by Lynn, has both a public area and a member-only portion has been visited almost one million times by the members.


The combined newsletters, 48 ten-page quarterlies, would fill a book with close to 500 pages and will serve as historical basis of our MPD history in the 21st century.

This organization has truly been the 'blue glue' that has kept us together.

Several years ago our Vice President, Harvey Bach, proposed awarding funds toward college scholarships for the children and grandchildren of our Miami Police Veterans Association members. To date, over 200 awards have been presented to a group of great young people. The funds were received from the association members only and no public solicitation was done.

Any net proceeds from this book (The Miami Police Worksheet) will be donated to the M.P.V.A. scholarship fund. Purchasers of this publication will not only enjoy our history but will be contributing to the further education of some of our great youth.

The original 1960’s Task Force accomplishments cannot be scribed in this overall history of the department due to space limitations. The surviving veterans who served in this unit and attended our emotional reunion can always be quite proud of their association with this unit.

They were the best of the best - a true band of brothers.

(Personal knowledge of the author)


(Story about two brothers who rose rapidly to top staff positions .Story)

(214 words)


Yogi Berra was right. You may recall the earlier story in the late 1930'a about Chief Rowland confiscating the illegal slot machines around town and arresting the owners. The corrupt elected commissioners (not all) led by Mayor Williams, fired Chief Rowland. It was discovered that the owners of these slots contributed heavily to Williams' election campaign. Later, Williams himself was arrested and tossed out of office for corruption charges.

As I was completing this book, Chief Mike Exposito, a 37-year MPD veteran (and a true professional) was confiscating illegal video poker machines and arresting the owners. The Mayor subsequently fired Chief Exposito. It was later revealed that the owners of these machines apparently contributed heavily to Mayor Reglado's election campaign.

This pattern of controlling the police department's standard in enforcing laws in order to facilitate shady and unlawful actions by politicians is replicated in numerous American cities now, as well as in the past.

The author was fortunate to have toiled with many honest, intelligent and professional officers. The list is many, including Chiefs Garmire, Denham, Klimkowski, Dickson and Watkins; staff officers Ken Fox, Gene Gunn, Bill Harries, Newell Horne and Charlie Price; commanders John Ross, Raul Martinez, Jack Farr, Dick Witt, Emory Putman, Paul Shepard, Don March, George Green, Paul Oboz, Kelly England, Jim Reese, Mary Stair, Harvey Bach, Carolyn Smith, Bill Starks, Billy Riggs, Larry Boemler, and many, many others. A host of these leaders moved on to head other agencies, including Dick Witt being Chief of Hollywood PD and two others, Emory Putman heading up Mt. Dora PD. John Ross, Dave Rivero, Larry Boemler, Gwen Boyd, Nancy Olon, Vince Landis were just a few that went to head other various Law Enforcement agencies. Bill Berger is currently the U.S Marshall for Florida and Ray Martinez is the Chief of Miami Beach PD.

These and numerous others attended the FBI Academy, Southern Police Institute, Northwestern Traffic Institute and other leading venues of higher education for police leaders with many attaining degrees from local universities. These officers were a credit to the Miami PD and to the City of Miami. I am proud of them all. These officers may not be Miami household names as they were not the subject of stories that the news media loves - corruption and gossip. These men and women came to work daily and did an outstanding job, day in and day out during their 25 or more years of service.

The job was not all peaches and cream. Lt. Curry, back in the late 1910's, stepped in for the Chief of Police for several months while the boss was ill. Curry did an outstanding job, according to press reports at that time. The first week of Chief Dillon's return to work, he fired Lt. Curry - for no reason.

Chief Guy Reeve took over a soiled department following the arrest of Chief Quigg and others back in 1928. Reeve started classroom training for the officers, enforced the rules and regulations strictly, and introduced many new procedures into the department. After the appointment of the Miami Klan leader, Sam McCreary, as Public Safety Director in 1930, Reeve was put on the hot seat and finally resigned to go on to be the Chief of Detectives at Dade County and later to be the U.S Marshall for Florida.

Chief Headley's reputation was constantly besmirched by Mayor High but big Walter prevailed.

Ken Harms was fired at 3 o'clock in the morning by the City Manager because Ken resisted the Manager's improper and illegal moves to have the department a dumping ground for the manager's unqualified non-law enforcement buddies.

These are just a few antidotes to highlight the political interference of politicians which can be observed in most police departments nationwide.

Lastly, how does the job of policing affect the men and woman who perform their tasks day in and day out? We hear much these days of PTSD in the military and how the battles affect the soldiers for years after they end their service. The average police officer sees horrible things daily- year after year - that the ordinary citizen most likely will not encounter once in a lifetime.

The following story is how one call - yes, just one call - affected one officer for decades after his service. We are fortunate that the intelligent officer went on to become a medical doctor and is able to describe the case from both the viewpoint of a police officer and a medical expert.

It will cause you to think about the policeman's lot for many years to come.


By Dr. Vince Skilling,

(This long and interesting story is a very appropriate story to end the book. It should be read by every staff officer in every U.S. police department as well as our political leaders. PSTD is prevalent in the police departments of America just as much as in our military. Deal with it.)

(3,434 words)

When I finished writing the story, I was free from the denial that hid it from my conscious mind. I now understand what happened to me that night and I can deal with it. My friend Jim was correct in what he said – it was all about me.

By Dr. Vince Skilling, MPD Vet


Miami Police Worksheet

by Chief Phil Doherty (Ret.),

Assistant Chief of Police, Miami, Florida
Founder and President, (2000-2010) Miami Police Veterans Association,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
P.O. Box 291121,
Port Orange, FL 32129
August, 2012

ALL net proceeds derived from this book will be contributed to the Scholarship Fund of the Miami Police Veterans Association (MPVA)

President - Harvey Bach
VP.- Lyriss Underwood
Sect. Anne Atchison
Treas. Charles W. Reynolds
Director - Dr. Vince Skilling
Past President & Director - Phil Doherty

Book may be obtained from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or from the publisher, Xlibris.com