Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Scandal of 1922: Part II

On Thursday, Gossips started telling the story of the raid that took place on Thursday, March 8, 1922, executed by the state police, and the suspension of Hudson's police chief, John Cruise. The raid we learned was "the result of arrangements entered into by the Commission of Public Safety"--an entity of Hudson government. Today, we learn about the reasons for the commission's decision to instigate the raid and to suspend Chief Cruise. The account that follows is quoted from the Columbia Republican for March 14, 1922. It's important to remember that Prohibition began in 1920.

The Commissioners of Public Safety were at police headquarters during all the operations. Immediately after the raids the Commission went into session, following which they gave out the following statement, relative to the suspension of Chief Cruise and the placing of a State Police official in charge:--
"The Commission of Public Safety has been aware since they assumed office last June that Hudson has been a long way from being clean from the point of view of the sale of intoxicants and prostitution. Commencing with the first meeting of the new Commission, Chief Cruise had been repeatedly requested to improve the situation. He has repeatedly reported to the Commission that no such situation existed and that if it did, neither he not his men were able to correct it, giving as a reason that they were too well-known.
"After an opportunity of seven months had been given Chief Cruise to work out methods by which the law could be enforced, it was decided by the Commission to employ outside aid. As a result of the decision to investigate, two operatives of a private agency were brought to Hudson and in slightly less than two weeks, these agents were able to submit a report of thirty-one pages with corroborating affidavits which clearly show that absolutely no attempt was being made by the police of the city to correct a state of affairs which permitted the maintenance of twenty-four places that habitually and openly dealt in the sale of intoxicants, neither was any attempt being made to suppress a number of disorderly houses, houses of assignation or their procurers and runners, nor was any effort made to suppress the illicit manufacture of "hootch" by one or more persons who catered to the lower class of saloons, although information concerning members of these establishments had been given Chief Cruise by both the District Attorney and Public Safety Commission.
"Under the direction of the Commission, the private operatives placed the information in their possession before United State Commissioner Hitchcock at New York yesterday and warrants were issued and search warrants obtained for premises that were strongly suspected of storing and selling intoxicants. The suspension of Chief Cruise is due to his repeated statements that he could not enforce the law; although it is admitted that his responsibilities in the premises require such enforcement and most everyone knew the possibility of obtaining the needed evidence by the most cursory inspection of the premises the Chief had on his list of suspects for months past. One of his statements is particularly ludicrous, viz, one in which he states that the men of the force visited the suspected premises twice daily for the purpose of observing violations. The private agents employed have reported on this and their statement is that almost without exception, the uniformed officers walk into the suspected premises, say "Hello" to the bartender and walk out.
"It is not possible to go into detail with regard to disorderly houses, as this is purely a matter for the District Attorney, who will be provided with the necessary information.
"Chief Cruise will, in due time, be placed on trial for dereliction of duty and in the meantime his position will be filled by an acting Chief, supplied and recommended by Major Chandler of the State Constabulary."
The Columbia Republican called the raid and the takeover "the greatest shake-up ever experienced in the Hudson police department." The report went on to say that there were still twenty-two warrants yet to be served, "and something further is rather looked for almost at anytime now."

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