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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, September 12, 1947, Image 5

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Two Held in $200,C J
Building Swindle
Of 40 Churches
ly th« AlMciottd Pr>u
postal fraud case—in which Postal
Inspector George Sadler said 40
churches in five States were “sys
tematically swindled’’ of $200,000—
was disclosed here with the Federal
Court arraignment of a consulting
engineer of a now defunct Philadel
phia construction company.
At the same time, Mr. Sadler an
nounced that Howard L. Clements.
34, former president of the firm, had
been arrested in Miami, Fla., and
held in $25,000 bail for removal to
Philadelphia on charges of mail
fraud and conspiracy.
Edward T. Mendenhall, 62, former
employe of the General Engineering
& Construction Co., was held by
United States Commissioner Norman
J. Griffin in $2,000 bail in Philadel
phia yesterday for grand jury action
on charges of mail fraud and con
In one instance, Mr. Sadler told
Mr. Griffin, Clements spent more
than $6,000 in funds raised by church
members for edifices that were never
Mr. Sadler said church congrega
tions had been victimized by the
construction company in Pennsyl
vania, New Jersey, Missouri, Georgia,
Illinois, and the District of Colum
bia. Most of the churches were at
«... -WT_
The postal inspector testified that
Clements traveled about the country
addressing officials of churches on
the need for new buildings. He would
suggest plans for raising funds, be
ginning with a ground-breaking
At such ceremonies, he continued,
Clements would deliver an appeal
for the church's need, then step for
ward to contribute his own check
for $500 "just to start the ball rol
}n one case, Sadler said enthusi
astic church members contributed
$10,000 on the spot toward the cost
of a new building.
'Continued From First Page.)
duplication of indexing now car
ried on in various bureaus.
Report on Disputed Cases.
Maj. Barrett's report on the
much-discussed withheld cases
showed they fell Into these cate
1. Of the 684 cases, 549 were of
dubious origin. They included 119
unfounded or false reports, 169
closed by request or through lack
of co-operation on the part of
complainants, 168 complaints made
by intoxicated persons, 65 com
plainants who were found to be the
victims of prostitutes, 10 complaints
made by perverts and 18 other cases
rated “doubtful.”
2. Of the remainder, “many cases
and series of cases” were withheld
from the teletype because it was
felt publication “would lessen our
chances of apprehending criminals.”
3. In other cases—exactly how
many was not specified—withhold
ing of the cases from the public
was designed to “save the victims
and their families extreme em
All Were Investigated.
Many of the “M” or miscellaneous
cases and “C” cases (a card index oi
midnight cruiser reports) were cases
of the two latter types, Maj. Bar
rett said.
However, ne aaaeo, n is 10 dc
specifically understood that in all
the cases which were withheld from
the teletype, thorough investigations
* were made and confidential reports
Despite the dubious origin of the
majority of the withheld cases, Maj.
Barrett emphasized that "no cases
were dropped as being unimportant
or unworthy of investigation." Of
the 684 cases, he said, the 318 which
remain “uncleared” are still under
active investigation.
The report showed that none of
the cases were concealed since all
were on either the precinct books,
in the readily accessible robbery
•qua# files, on the daily reports of
the midnight cruisers or on the
assignment sheets of the detectives.
Many of them were recorded in
more than one of these files. A
total of 66 of them were eventually
sent over the teletype to become
a part of the statistical records of
the department.
Particulars Given to Officers.
Maj. Barrett also stressed in his
report that all police officers who
could assist in solving a particular
crime were given the full particulars,
regardless of whether the cases were
reported over the teletype.
He explained that in all robbery
cases where any kind of description
of the culprit is available, the de
scription is immediately sent over
♦ he police radio system. In addi
tion, each case held in a precinct,
he said, is read to all personnel in
♦ hat. precinct to inform them on
the details of a reported crime.
To support his contention that
the practice of withholding cases
from the teletype was approved de
partment practice, and was not in
violation of police regulations, Maj.
Barrett quoted from orders isued
by former Superintendents Daniel
Sullivan, Ernest W. Brown, Edward
«J. Kelly and Harvey G. Callahan.
These orders, he explained, were
iuout-4 |JUUV/C UUltCia 1UUI1U
that in many cases crimes were re
ported as having occurred when, in
fact, no offense was committed.
Such cases arose, for example, he I
added, when a person had been guilty
of a crime and tried to make it ap
pear that he had been a victim of'
a crime.
Maj. Barrett stated emphatically
that the practice of withholding
some reports from the press and
the public generally is “good police
technique." He said the best proof
of that contention was in the re
sults attained in cases where the
investigators felt no publicity was
W1U Go Into Statistics.
On the other hand, he distin
guished between the propriety of
withholding a report from the pub
lic >nd withholding a report which
should be included in the police
statistics to give a correct picture
of the over-all crime condition.
To prevent any cases from being
withheld indefinitely from police
statistics, while giving police time!
to investigate, he recommended
continuance of an order he Issued
July 2 as a temporary measure
until the Commissioners act on the
proposed new system of communi
cations and crime recording.
That order permitted withholding
cases up to SO flays, with the per
mission of an investigating officer's
immediate superior, in these in
stances :
Where there is reasonable doubt
on the part of the investigating
officer that a crime actually occur
red; where public disclosure of the
complaint would subject a person
of previous good character to pub
lic humiliation and disgrace or
where disclosure of the crime would
tend to impede orderly investigation
and the ultimate apprehension of
the criminal.
Maj. Barrett said he would insist
on strict compliance with his order.
To that end, he said, he has di
rected his district inspectors to
require that every case marked
“held” be reported to the Statistical
Bureau within 30 days after the
occurrence of the alleged offense.
Robbery Squad Praised.
While freely conceding that the
684 robbery cases were not sent
immediately over the teletype, Maj.
Barrett pointed out that the rob
bery squad investigated 664 cases
that were sent in on the teletype.
Of this number, he reported, 512
cases were cleared.
He said he could find “nothing
but praise for the splendid record of
the Detective Bureau and particu
larly the Robbery Squad. Many of
the cases they handled involved
prominent firms and business places
and many other cases concerned
citizens from every walk of life. In
every one of these cases I personally
feel that the robbery squad rendered
prompt and efficient service.”
To illustrate why certain types of
cases were withheld from publica
tion via the teletype, Maj. Barrett
cited the following four cases;
“X. The case of the ‘stop-light’
bandits, who committed a series
ui uviu-ups on jttnoae island avenue
N.W., where motorists driving cars
with Maryland license plates were
held up and robbed by a colored
man while stopped at a traffic light.
There were five victims, with three
cars actually involved. These re
ports were put on the books at the
precinct station, and were later read
at roll calls to every officer on duty
in that precinct. At the time of each
report, a description of the holdup
man was flashed over the radio sys
tem to all police cars and police
stations in the District of Colum
’‘A detail of four men from the
Robbery Squad was sent out on
these cases and they worked on this
assignment only, using two private
cars with Maryland license plates,
working from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. At
the end of a week, two colored men
came back to the scene of the pre
vious hold-ups and attempted to
rob Detective Sergts. Joseph H.
Hunt and Ernest P. Jefferson of the
Robbery Squad. Detective Sergt.
Hunt was shot through the chest
and seriously wounded. The two
colored hold-up men were also shot
and later captured. One was iden
tified and admitted to the five pre
vious victims that he had committed
those hold-ups, and both admitted
the hold-up in which the shooting
Returned to Scene of Crime.
“One of these holdup men, Charles
Armstrong, stated that he returned
to the area because there had been
nothing in the newspapers about
the previous cases.
“2. Another series of cases which
demonstrates the value of withhold
ing reports from the public occurred
in November, 1946, in which a col
ored man held up several white
women at the point of a knife and
robbed them of their pocketbooks.
A large detail from the robbery
squad was sent to the vicinity. The
second night after the detail was
started, they arrested one Charles
Scott, colored, 25 years. The offi
cers recovered from his room prop
erty taken from the victims in this
series of robberies.
“Scott was identified and admitted
all these cases, and stated that he
had returned to the vicinity be
cause he felt that the cases had
not been reported as there had been
nothing in the newspapers about
“3. Another example of a case
that was withheld from the public
in the interest of better law en
forcement was the case of rape
of a young white woman about 9
p.m. January 10, 1947. The victim
in this case was walking on the
street near the Library of Con
gress and she was accosted by an
unknown colored men, dragged into
the shrubbery of the Library of
Congress grounds, beaten and raped.
“As this report was not made
public, the vicious perpetrator of
this crime returned to the same
vicinity the next night and was1
promptly apprehended by the de-j
tectives and officers assigned to this
case. This man was convicted in!
court and received a sentence of
from 10 to 30 years.
Police Work Praised by Victim.
“4. On June 26, 1947, a young
white woman was awakened at. 4
o’clock in the morning by a man
who was in her room and attempted
to rape her. She succeeded in fight
ing him off and knocking off the
telephone receiver and frightened
him away. No publicity was given j
this case and on June 27 a young
white man was arrested as a suspect
who lived in the vicinity where the
crime was committed. He was
placed in a lineup at headquarters
and was identified by the complain
ant in this case as the man who had
entered her room and attempted to
rape her.
“The victim in this case later
wrote the department a letter of
appreciation for our work in ap
prehending this criminal and for
the fact that she was spared un
necessary publicity in this case.”
Maj. Barrett presented the fol
lowing detailed analysis of the rob
bery squad cases marked “hold” and
not sent immediately over the tele
1. Robbery cases held on precinct
books by robbery squad detectives,
precinct detectives or other officers,
217. Of these, 36 were closed by
arrest, 17 closed as unfounded or
false reports and 36 closed by re
quest or lack of co-operation on the
part of the complainant. Details of
the reports showed 27 complainants
were drunk, 8 were victims of
prostitutes, 1 complainant was a
pervert and 11 other complaints
were “doubtful.”
In addition to the report on the
precinct books, 22 of these cases
eventually were sent to the Sta
tistical Bureau, 82 were carried on
robbery squad assignments to de
tectives, 69 appeared on the nightly
report of the midnight robbery
cruiser and 34 were carried in the
robbery squad’s card index of re
ported offenses.
Many Complainants Intoxicated.
2. “M” or “miscellaneous assign
ments” reported ttf the robbery
squad and precincts and carried as
robbery squad assignments to de
tectives, 116. Of these, 37 were
closed by arrest, 11 were closed as
unfounded or false reports and 17
by request or lack of co-operation.
The reports showed seven of the
on*nr\loinor\tc nioro intovioo tori A
total of 32 of these cases eventually
went to the Statistical Bureau.
3. Robbery cases originating be
tween midnight and 8 a.m. and car
ried on the midnight robbery cruiser
reports, 280. Of these, 49 were closed
by arrest, 73 closed as unfounded or
false reports, 102 by request or lack
of co-operation.
The reports showed 116 of these
complainants were intoxicated, 51
were victims of prostitutes, 9 com
plainants were perverts and 7 other
reports were rated “doubtful.”
A total of 11 of these cases even
tually went to the Statistical Bureau
\ and 37 were carried as robbery squad
detective assignments.
4. Cases in the card index of mis
cellaneous reports, such as those
where the victim comes directly to
the robbery squad to report, 71. Of
these, 6 were closed by arrest, 18
closed as unfounded or false reports
S and 14 closed by request or lack of
I co-operation.
Reports showed 16 of these com
! plainants were intoxicated and 6
| were victims of prostitutes.
One of these cases eventually went
to the Statistical Bureau and one
was carried as a robbery squad de
tective assignment.
No sex cases were marked “hold”
in the precincts, but 29 cases were
held in the sex squad and not sent to
the Statistical Bureau. All of these
cases were closed as of August 1 or
were pending in court.
In the general assignment squad,
52 cases were ordered held in the
precincts and were not sent to the
Statistical Bureau. Lt. Aubrey M.
rT,/~»l cAn nf tVia rroncrn 1 nceiemrManf
squad gave a breakdown of the dis
position of these cases and added
that although the majority of the
cases were not sent in over the tele
type, “each case was thoroughly in
vestigated by a detective.”
While Capt. Robert S. Bryant, as
sistant chief of detectives, and Lt.
Robert V. Murray, head of the rob
bery squad, were making their study
of all withheld cases from July 1,
1946, through May 31, 1947, Maj.
Barrett requested assistance from
the FBI.
FBI Makes Survey.
He asked the FBI first to compute
crime offense reports from January
1 to June 30, 1947, in accordance
with the tabulations recommended
by the FBI and, second, to make
recommendations for improving and
modernizing the department’s pres
ent methods of crime reporting and
The FBI study disclosed that the
figures for criminal homicide and
auto theft as originally tabulated
by the Police Department's Sta
tistical Bureau were substantially
correct. Considerable difference
was found in most of the offense
classes, however, partially because
of the withheld cases but also be
cause the law requires the District
to maintain certain crime classifica
tions at variance with the FBI com
puting system. In addition, lar
cenies where the value is less than
$25 remain in the precinct for in
vestigation and are not sent over
the teletype. For that reason, they
do not appear in the Statistical Bu
reau records.
The variation between FBI and
Statistical Bureau tabulations fol
Rape—35 cases as tabulated by
the Police Department’s Statistical
Bureau, 58 cases as tabulated by the
FBI; an increase of 66 per cent.
Robbery—258 cases tabulated by
Statistical Bureau, 447 by the FBI;
an increase of 73 per cent.
Aggravated assault—382 tabulated
by Statistical Bureau, 1,025 by the
FBI; an increase of 168 per cent.
Burglary—1,546 tabulated by the
Statistical Bureau, 2,641 by the FBI;
an increase of 71 per cent.
Larceny, over $50—661 tabulated
by the Statistical Bureau, 823 by the
FBI; an increase of 25 per cent.
Larceny, under $50—1,550 tabu
lated by the Statistical Bureau;
5,598 by the FBI, an increase of 261
per cent.
May Ask More Funds.
Maj. Barrett included in his re
port the 16-page analysis and series
of recommendations of the FBI on
future department procedure. He
also pointed out that department of
ficials have been visiting other
major cities to study their record
ing and communications systems.
He said he has appointed a com
mittee of department officials to
study the FBI recommendations and
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the information obtained from other
cities in order to work out the de
tails of the proposed improvements
which he recommended in general
to Commissioner Young.
Maj. Barrett said it may be neces
sary to ask for an immediate ap
propriation of funds to carry out
the proposed improvements. At the
moment, he said, he has no definite
idea of how much money will be
required for this work.
He said he was certain, however,
that it will be necessary to recom
mend at least one captain, two
lieutenants and possibly two serg
eants for supervisory work once the
central complaint room he proposes
is established. These officers will be
in addition to the present force, he
explained, and will have to be ap
FBI System to Be Model.
The proposed system, he said, will
conform as far as practical with
that now in use by the FBI “and
which has the approval of the Com
mittee on Uniform Crime Reports
of the International Association of
Chiefs of Police.”
"I intend to expedite this work
in every possible way with the
avowed purpose of making our sys
tem of handling crime complaints
and reports the equal of any now
in use anywnere,” ne said.
Maj. Barrett explained that under
the present system, when a person
wants to report a crime, he calls
National 4000 and is then switched
to the precinct where the crime
occurred. There, the information is
taken and if a radio lookout is de
sirable, the precinct then notifies
the dispatcher who puts the lookout
on the air.
“With the development of police
radio and the later development of
two-way radio,” he declared, “there
was given to police authorities an
instrument for speedy response to
a reported crime; and enabled the
police to respond to a complaint
within a fraction of the time that
was formerly necessary.
“I feel that our system of police
communication is geared to out
moded practices, and that we should
properly gear it to the facilities
which we now have available.
“It is my opinion that this speed
factor can best be put to use by a
revision of our entire system of re
ceiving crime reports and com
plaints; and I feel that the activi
ties of the Police Department may
be more accurately reflected by
adopting, with such necessary modi
fications, the recommended crime
reporting procedures of the FBI.”
Complete File of Complaints.
In recommending a Records and
Communications Division, the FBI
experts pointed out that at present
records and flies are maintained in
the Detective Bureau records room,
Bureau of Criminal Records, Statis
tical Bureau, Traffic Violations Bu
reau, Accident Prevention Bureau,
Homicide Squad, Sex Squad, Auto
Theft Squad, Pawn Inspector's Of
fice and in the precincts.
Instead of this variety of records,
the FBI recommended keeping re
ports in the various bureaus and
squads at a minimum. The FBI ex
perts proposed a record bureau
which would have on file a complete
record of each alleged offense or
complaint involving the loss, theft
or destruction of property or in
jury to persons. All progress re
ports, signed statements, photo
graphs, correspondence and other
material on individual cases would
be kept in the record bureau.
All traffic records and arrest re
ports also would be maintained in
the central record bureau.
The FBI experts warned that em
ployes of the bureau should be well
trained to give service. If police
officers are not given prompt serv
ice, it was said, there would be an
immediate tendency toward decen
tralizing the reports again.
The FBI also proposed moving the
radio dispatchers from the tenth
precinct to police headquarters to
develop a close connection between
clerks taking crime complaints and
dispatchers speeding the word to
radio cars.
Complaint clerks, taking all calls
from the public, should be carefully
selected, the FBI report emphasized.
They should not only be well-versed
in what police actions should be
taken on each complaint but should
be “unusually tactful employes, cap
able of listening during an entire
tour of duty to the complaints of
various citizens and giving each the
courteous service desired by the ad
ministrative officials of the depart
The FBI also suggested making
special arangements so that in cases
of extreme emergency, the com
plaint clerk could signal the radio
dispatcher to listen in on the call
and start cars on the way to the
crime scene without delay.
In all cases, the FBI said, a com
plaint memorandum should be made.
In non-criminal complaints, such as
barking dogs, crowing roosters and
noisy radios, a time stamp on the
memorandum showing that the
radio car had attended to the com
plaint would be a sufficient record.
But in all criminal complaints, the
FBI report added, the complaint
memorandum should be followed
by an offense report which would
be made a part of the department’s
If the complaint is considered un
founded, the report explained, the
offense report should carry an ex
planation from the investigating
officer to justify the unfounded
The use of the police teletype
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would be reduced to transmitting
| descriptions of missing persons,
! stolen property, wanted persons and
I stolen cars as well as administra
tive orders, under the FBI proposal.
At present the Statistical Bureau
draws almost all its information on
cases for police records from the
teletype. Under the FBI proposal
this information would come from
offense reports made in quintupli
The FBI suggested supplementing
information on the teletype with a
daily printed bulletin to all mem
bers of the force as well as to near
by departments. Maj. Barrett said
such a. bulletin used to be distrib
uted here.
The FBI experts also suggested a
number of technical changes to
eliminate duplicating paper work:
and to streamline the reporting and
recording systems.j
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