Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1924 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
the first deputy superintendent of po
lice every three months.
J. J. Reid, who .keeps the records
and administers the oaths to the spe
cial policemen in the office of Deputy
Superintendent Schuettler, said yes
terday that the exact number of "spe
cials" changes from month to month,
but there are now something over
12,000 special police qfficers in the
"I have been here at this work 21
years," said Reid, "and during the
last five years and especially the past
year I have noticed a big, steady in
crease in the call for special stars and
"When I first came in on this work,
I used to swear in only one or two a
day. Now they come up here by the
dozens. I swear in twenty and thirty
men at a time on some days.
"The time when I notice the big
gest increases is during labor trou
bles. During the newspaper strike,
they came up here in droves. I was
asked last week on the witness stand
in Judge McKinley's court to identify
the Barrett brothers as special police
men I had sworn in. I couldn't do it.
There were so many of them during
the newspaper strike that I couldn't
remember their faces well enough to
swear to any of them in court.
"There is always more or less trou
ble involving these specials. Every
few weeks, the police in other cities
report to us they have arrested a man
on suspicion or for disorderly conduct
or burglary and he is wearing a Chi
cago special policeman's star.
"The number of the star given each
man is taken when he is sworn in.
I keep a separate record of each star.
We have some stars that have chang
ed hands, passed from man to man,
several times in a few years."
Reid said it is not only the big cor
porations that are making more and
more use of authorized gunmen. The
small business men, during the last
year and a half, since the newspaper
strike, have been arming themselves
to protect their stores and goods. The
increase of hold-ups and store rob
beries, which began about the time
newspaper gunmen were caught as
automobile bandits, has brought
nearly every small storekeeper in the
loop to carrying a revolver.
"From the way they have been
coming in here," said Reid, "I would
judge that nearly all owners and em
ployes of the smaller stores over on
Wabash and Michigan avenues are
now special policemen."
The application for appointment as
special policemen requires that the
applicant be a citizen of the United
States, a resident of Illinois "for the
full space of two years," and known
to be "a man of truth and integrity,
of good moral character and habits,
of sound mind, good understanding
and judgment, not in any respect a
violator of the law, not addicted to
the habitual use of intoxicating
drinks and never guilty of any dis
orderly or criminal conduct."
Reid estimates that about 2,500
authorized gunmen are employed by
the railroads. This small army, out
numbering two regiments of Illinois
militia, patrols the freight yards,
stops pilfering from loaded cars, and
chases away women and girls picking
up coal. Four cases were reported in
The Day Book the past winter of
these railway gunmen shooting per
sons caught on railroad right of way.
In one case, five bullets were pumped
into a young man suspected of steal
ing brass journals and the gunman
who did the shooting was exonerated
by the coroner's jury, but reprimand
ed for shooting too quick.
Fifteen clerks and guards of the
Northern Trust Company were sworn
in yesterday and instead of going to
the firing line in Mexico will protect
the steel vaults of that company from
the invasion of hostile forces in the
There seems to be a state of war
on in Chicago between those who
have money and those who have not,