|1889 Oklahoma City Police Dept. Flag|
Wikimedia Commons, https://goo.gl/images/sf6CXK
By Alanna Radle Rodriguez and Judge Rodriguez
Thank you for joining us this month as we continue our series about first responders in our great state.
First allow us to say: we wish to pay our respects to the brave men and women of our military, and let them know our thoughts and prayers are with them, particularly those currently on deployment outside our country and away from their families.
However, we also wish to add our gratitude to those that serve outside of our military forces as well. Also called the thin blue line, this group of dedicated public servants serve to keep us, our families, and our property safe. Our hats are off to you, and our gratitude for all you do.
Last month, we recalled the story of the Oklahoma City Police department, up to when Bill Tilghman took over.
|Bill Tilghman, 1912|
After Chief Tilghman left office, the officers of the OCPD continued his efforts, particularly with the prohibition of alcohol, prostitution, and drugs on the streets. During World War I, the police department established a motorcycle division, which survives to today. They also established a call-box system, in which officers on the beat were required to call in hourly status reports.
In the early 1920’s, OCPD added a mounted unit to patrol the residential districts. Around this time, the Sicilian, and Irish mafia had started gaining control of much of OKC. This prompted the police department to create a “raiding squad” which eventually became “Vice” and to increase the force from 90 officers, to 150. This also forced the department into becoming more of a force of professionally trained officers, rather than just a loose collection of “untrained badges”.
|The OCPD Raiding Squad with shotguns and tommy guns. Front center: Detective "Jelly" Bryce|
During the Great Depression, however, OCPD also started up their “radio units”, which was a collection of patrol cars that had radios in them. One of the most notable officers from this time period was D.A. “Jelly” Bryce, known for his dapper appearance and for being a quick draw. He was featured in Life Magazine and was timed electronically at two-fifths of a second. It was stated in the article “if a criminal blinked at him, he would die with his eyes closed”.
Thank you, for joining us this month as we discuss a part of the history of the Oklahoma City Police Department, and please join us next month as we cover the history of the Department from World War II further.