Friday, September 4, 2015

The Scandal of 1922: Part XV

As Gossips reported earlier today, Chief John Cruise was found guilty of dereliction of duty by the Commission of Public Safety on July 26, 1922. On the same day the Columbia Republican reported the decision, August 1, 1922, the newspaper published an editorial with the headline "A Just Decision." 
The decision of the Public Safety Commission which removes John Cruise, Jr., from the office of Chief of Police and demotes him to the rank of Sergeant was unquestionably a great surprise to those intense partisans who attributed the most sinister of motives to the members of the Commission and denied them any credit for honesty of purpose or fair dealing. These partisans urged that as prosecutor, judge and jury the Commission would ruthlessly railroad Chief Cruise out of the police department and gather in his official scalp. That this course has not been followed is undoubtedly a keen disappointment to them for their thoughts were not for the welfare of John Cruise, but only of the political hatred that could be stirred up thereby. 
It is not the intention of The Republican to pass judgment upon the fitness of John Cruise to continue in the office of Chief of Police. That is a subject upon which the public mind is fairly well made up and has been for some time. When the Public Safety Commission came into office Chief Cruise found himself in an awkward position and he was entitled to considerable sympathy because the fault was not all his. For several years the administration of police affairs had not been aggressive except in spots. The discipline of the force had reached its lowest ebb and whatever morale it may have had had disappeared completely. Some laws were enforced, others were disregarded, and a very unsatisfactory condition had come to exist. All these things were well known to the people of Hudson who find out many things even tho they may not be published in the papers. 
Then came the Public Safety Commission, composed of men of unquestioned integrity and ability, who insisted upon efficiency in the police department, and demanded that the laws be enforced, irrespective of what they were and whom they effected. A change so sudden and so exacting was somewhat embarrassing to the department and the rut was hard to get out of. 
After several months trial, conditions within the department did not improve and it became evident that the fullest co-operation was not forthcoming. Then came the charges, the trial and now the determination. The Commission has taken sufficient time to enable it to study the evidence very thoroughly and to consider the case from every angle, that it might do justice to all and injustice to none. Their findings are exceptionally fair and their action is much less drastic than they might have taken under the testimony as adduced. Instead of dismissing John Cruise from the force, the Commission has been very lenient with him. In reaching their determination in the matter, it would appear that the Commissioners have taken into consideration his advanced years and the difficulties which might confront him were he compelled to seek other employment at this time of life. 
In all respects it is a fair decision and one in which justice is tempered with mercy.  
Cruise, understandably, did not agree that the decision was just. When the Commission of Public Safety announced its decision, Thomas L. Conners, who was the acting chief, was sent to Cruise's home to inform him of the outcome and to tell him to report for duty two days later at 8 a.m. in his new status as sergeant. The Columbia Republican reports Cruise's response.    
John Cruise, Jr., who was, by the decision of the Public Safety Commission, given Wednesday, demoted from Chief to Sergeant of the Hudson Police Department, did not report for duty at 8 o'clock Friday morning. Following the announcement of the decision, the Commission ordered that he report for duty at headquarters as Sergeant Friday morning. 
This became known Thursday when it was learned that the case had gone to the courts as the official's counsel had intimated at the close of the hearing before the Commission. Former Chief Cruise would have nothing to say Thursday pointing out that "he was in the hands of his counsel." The greater part of Thursday afternoon he was in the company of Judge John J. Moy and R. M. Herzberg, his attorneys. While no official word had been received here to Thursday night it is understood that counsel for the former Chief appeared before Supreme Court Justice Howard Thursday and made the first move toward appealing from the decision, taking the case before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for a review of the testimony. A writ of certiorari is said to have been issued by Judge Howard calling upon the Commission of Public Safety to furnish a copy of the trial minutes within twenty days. 
Thus the case goes into the courts and it will probably be all of six months before the case can be argued and a decision handed down by the Appellate Division. In the meantime former Chief Cruise will not resume his new duties, as ordered by the commission.
Gossips will report the outcome of the appeal in the next installment of "The Scandal of 1922."

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