Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Scandal of 1922: Part XI

The trial of Chief John Cruise continues. In our last episode, we recounted the testimony of character witnesses. In this episode, we recount the testimony of the police officers who served under Chief Cruise, among them Gossips favorite Officer Miller. Throughout the following account, which is quoted from the Columbia Republican for May 23, 1922, there is reference to the Mullen-Gage Act, which was New York's prohibition law, passed in April 1921. 
[O]fficer McEnneny was the next witness called. The officer testified that daily visits were made to places suspected of selling liquor illegally under instructions from Chief Cruise. This had been done since the Mullen-Gage law has become effective. The officer had visited suspected places himself and found no violations. He stated that the method of examination was to enter the saloon, try the faucets, examine the back bar and the bottles and make a general examination of the place.
The officer then testified that on particular dates enumerated to him by counsel, he found no violations of the Mullen-Gage act on his posts. He also told the Chief that he found nothing beside entering it in the book.
The instructions of the Chief to the officer were to go thru all places and search them thoroughly.
Judge Moy offered the particular pages of the record in evidence.
Upon cross-examination by Mr Coffin, the officer stated that when he went into these suspected places he often saw people drinking out of glasses and detailed the process thru which he went when examining a place. On three occasions he went down in the cellar to search places and these were the only instances. During his term as police officer he had never been drilled by Chief Cruise. Inspection of the department was held once a year. The Chief had told the officer to have his revolver in proper condition tho the Chief had never inspected it. The officer was present when Lieut. Nagel, of the State police, held revolver practice. It took two or three minutes for some police officers to get their guns out.
Sergt. Kendell was the next witness to take the stand. He testified as to visits made to the various suspected places and the officer stated that he found no violations of the Mullen-Gage act. He testified as to the manner of examination of these suspected places. 
The officer then told of the instructions he had received from the Chief as to inspecting these places but that he had never found any violations in the suspected places and so reported to the Chief.
At or about the time the Mullen-Gage act became effective Chief Cruise instructed the officers to search these places. These instructions had been given a number of times.
Under cross-examination by Mr Coffin, the officer said he had seen people drinking in various places, and he had examined the cellars. No drills had been held under Chief Cruise; on one occasion Chief Cruise had taken the number of his gun. Inspection of the department was held once a year.
When the State police held the pistol drill it took the officers a minute and a half or two minutes to get their guns ready for inspection; one officer had trouble getting his revolver out of the case.
Officer Kendell testified that, sitting at his desk, he could not see any person drinking at the bar in the Brandow place but could see the bartender serving drinks, but could not say what kind of drinks.
Officer Kennedy was called and testified that about the time of the Mullen-Gage act becoming effective Chief Cruise called all the police officers in the back room and stated that he wanted the act enforced and put it up to the men to do so. He told of the various inspections which he had made of suspected places but found no violations of the Mullen-Gage act. If violations were found they were reported to the Chief in a special report.
There was no cross-examination of Officer Kennedy.
Officer Miller was called to the stand and told of the instructions which he had received from the Chief relative to making inspections of suspected places. He told of inspections which he had made of these places and had found no violations. He told of the manner of inspecting the places of examining the faucets, bottles, closets etc. in these places.
Officer Miller testified that he and Chief Cruise toured Hudson every day in the motorcycle and sidecar, covering the lower end of the town. Upon these tours of inspection the Chief would stop at various saloons and looked back of the bar. The officer accompanied the Chief. On one occasion they discovered one violation of the liquor law in a Polish family down on Chapel St.
On the occasions of these visits to suspected places the Chief would warn the proprietor about trafficing [sic] in liquor.
Under cross examination by Mr Coffin Officer Miller said that sometimes the Chief would pick out a certain place to make a special effort on.
Officer Carbine was called and his testimony was along the same lines as was given by the officers who preceded him. He told of getting evidence against the Frank Fisher place, the West End, the Waldron House, Englemyer place.
In the Glass case Chief Cruise and Office Carbine made a special effort to get this place and the officer stated that they spent their own money in getting evidence.
The officer then described the manner of searching these places.
He testified that he had visited the Ray Church place on Diamond street to check it up and, under instructions from Chief Cruise, he had served notices to vacate upon the occupants of places suspected as being disorderly houses. He had also served notices to vacate on places selling liquor.
Under cross examination by Mr Coffin the officer testified that he had cleaned out the reported disorderly houses of Virginia Dare, Kit Wise.
Office Carbine said some of these places had been running several years. This clean-up took place after the new commission took office. There was also a clean-up in 1921.
He never spent any of his own money to get Brandow and Langlois. He saw the list of suspected places which the District Attorney had sent to the Chief. He did not know how many convictions had been obtained. He did not recall any successful liquor raids or convictions by the police department that was not foreigners except Edward Dillon and Glass.
The first housecleaning in Diamond street took place after Mayor Galster took office. [Henry C. Galster served as mayor in 1921 and 1922.]
Officer Slater was the final witness of the evening. His testimony was along the same lines as given by the other officers. When he was Sergt. he would go out on patrol and inspection but then he would call an officer in to the station to relieve him.
The police force has never been drilled nor has there been revolver practice.
That was the end of the testimony heard on Friday evening, in a session that lasted until 11:30 p.m.

Officer Miller's testimony in this segment of the trial reminds me that a reader once asked, given my fascination with the ubiquitous Officer Miller, if I had yet found a picture of him. When I said I had not, he, in jest, offered this as a possibility.

The superimposed face, of course, is that of my dog, Joey. If there are any descendants of the real Officer Miller among Gossips readers, please know that I mean no disrespect.


  1. Frank E Miller, 47 in 1920 and 57 in 1930 was a police officer living at 931 Columbia St. He was married, in 1920 her name was given as Etta, in 1930 as Esther (length of marriage indicates they are the same though she had aged from 44 to 56 between 1920 and 1930.

    The 1920 census lists a son, John D. Miller, age 18, but by 1930 he was gone.

    The 1920 census also lists a mother, Jeounette Miller, 73. She was born in New York, to New York born parents, and there were bunches of Millers, so there may be descendants of her (Officer Miller's siblings),

    The 1930 census lists a brother-in-law who was 75. His last name was Hanley. If the census taker gave the relationship from Frank E Miller, he could have been Etta/Esther's older brother, or a widower of Frank's sister.

    1. Thank you, jimrtex! Wow! I imagined Officer Miller was a young man when he joined the force in 1914, but he was already 41! This means he was 71 when he retired from the police force in 1944. Hmm.