Chicago Tribune, March 23, 1910
Twelve motorcycle cops, comprising Chief of Police Steward’s latest adjunct to the department, will sally forth on Friday to those streets which parallel boulevards and by which of late have come to be frequented by “mad motorists.”
These “iron horse” policemen will be instructed to gather every violator of the speed limit, and will circulate through the town, scattered to every corner of the municipality, and keep after the speeding automobiles until Chief Steward is satisfied the law is being obeyed.
Chief Steward said yesterday:
For some time, the autoists who wish to go faster than the law allows have been leaving the boulevards and have been making use of those streets nearby which run in the same direction wherever the pavement is good.
I am going after them, and I expect by means of motorcycles to put a stop to reckless speeding. Up to now about the only thing a policeman could do was shout at a speeder and tell them to stop.
Speedometer Put on Machine.
I will have twelve new motorcycles Friday and will send men out on these machines to pick up the offenders. A motorcycle can go as fast as any automobile, and speeders refusing to stop will be chased and caught.
On each motorcycle will be a speedometer and there will be no opportunity for the chauffeur to say that he was not going faster than the law allows. The speedometers will be located that the policeman can read the speed at which he is going.
Col. Steward has great hopes in his motorcycle squad as a an agency for quick action in cleaning up the town in all phases of crime. As soon as the autoists have been checked the chief will turn his squad to other fields of action.
It is his plan to have three “motorcycle cops” for each police division, not counting Harrison and Central, as motorcycles will not be of so much use in these districts.
Other Duties of the “Cycle Squad.”
Among the use to which he contemplates putting the squad are the following:
Rounding up burglars and thieves of all sorts.
Enforcing the 1 o’clock closing ordinance.
Keeping the streets and alleys clear of hoodlums.
Patrolling outlying districts, where it is necessary to cover much territory.
Col. Steward sees much value in having a motorcycle at a station ready for use in an emergency call when the patrol wagon is out, especially in case of a burglary. He points out that in such a case a policeman could get on the machine, put another policeman on the seat behind him, go to the neighborhood where the burglary is reported, let one man off at the near corner, and go to the far corner himself, and thus approach the burglar from the two ends of the street.
Can Cover 100 Miles in a Day.
It is the chief’s belief that a policeman on a motorcycle could cover 100 m iles or so a day, going up and down alleys, where the ordinary patrolman seldom ventures, and generally clean up the town.
At the present time there are three motorcycles in use in the department. When Col. Steward became chief he found that there were forty-five messengers whose function seemed to be carrying messages to and from the headquarters. By using motorcycles for the work Col. Steward was able to turn ten or a dozen policemen back into regular channels of patrol duty.
Col. Steward is much impressed with statements made at a meeting of the city council license committee on Monday, when it was said that there were 5,000 motors in Chicago on which no license was paid.
“I believe the only way to get at these is to pass a law which would require two things:
Make all licenses date from a certain day, say May 1; and change the design and color of the license numbers annually.
Would Change Color of License.
“As it is now, a man can take out a license any time of the year, and it would require a lot of work to keep tab when his license is run out. If one color was used, say red, one year, and blue or green the next year, with a little change in the design, a diamond shape, or an elliptical shape, the policeman could soon catch the license dodgers.”
Ald. Fisher, whose amendment to change the method of taxing automobiles from seating capacity to horsepower is being considered by the license committee, declared that there were 317 machines of one make in the city and only 181 licenses taken out fir that make.
“I don’t care to say what that automobile is,” declared Ald. Fisher, “but the statement is a fact. There are 136 of that kind of motors in Chicago on which there is no license paid at all. I know of another make of machine on which there are only fourteen licenses, yet there are forty-two machines of that make running the streets of the city.”
Chicago Tribune, April 10, 1910
Perils of service in Chief of Police Steward’s new motorcycle brigade were demonstrated within half an hour after the fifteen patrolmen had received their new high power machines and regulations.
Policeman John O’Connor of the Chicago avenue station was the victim. While he was trying to seize the bridle of a runaway horse after speeding up beside its head, the animal gripped O’Connor by right wrist, severely lacerating the flesh and tendons. He held on, however, and stopped the horse after it had dragged him from his wheel.
The chase was witnessed by scores of pedestrians. It began in Lincoln Park boulevard, near Chicago avenue, where an automobile crashed into the wagon and frightened the horse, which ran rapidly after hurling out the driver, A. J. Wilson of 1145 George street. Several persons on crossings narrowly escaped being run down. The capture was at Dearborn and Chicago avenues.
Duties of Motorcycle Police.
The chief plans to use his expert cycle men in the following lines of work:
To arrest violators of the automobile speed law
To patrol streets in outlying districts
To answer riot and hurry calls
To catch runaway horses
To carry mail transmitted through his department
The squad is made up of the following patrolmen:
Messenger service—John C. Sloop, Harry Burns, L. J. Pamoch, L. M. Borgeson, E. A. Webber, Fred Master, John O’Connor.
Passenger squad—John J. Dineen, John J. Flanagan, C. F. Allen, William A. Gainor, Lawrence A. Kelly, Harry Walker, William F. Dyer, Hugh B. Donnelly.
Their regulations direct attention be given to autos, especially when speeding near schools or not in boulevards.
Stops a Runaway Team.
Policeman Russell W. Hutchins stopped a runaway team attached to a carriage in which were seven persons at Madison and La Salle streets. Traffic was congested at the time.’
Hutchins seized one of the horses by the bridle and was dragged thirty feet before stopping the team. No one was injured. In the vehicle were William Earl, his wife, and four children of Girard, Ill., and a relative, Mrs. David Earl, 5205 May street. They were on their way to the Union depot when the horses became frightened and ran away.
Main 13, November, 1921
ADMIRAL Beatty, the fighting head of the British navy, recently said in Chicago that the eyes and ears of the Allied fleet were the swift little scouting cruisers which darted back and forth over the waters with amazing speed, scouring the seas for traces of the enemy.
Serving in a similar capacity the motorcycle police- men of the Department flash through the city’s streets, alert to prevent crime in the making or, like avenging fire, sweeping down with sudden justice on robbers and crooks in general. They are as our jackies would say the “mosquito fleet” of the police force.
Up to a year ago the only duties required of the motorcycle men were acting as messengers and the neces- sary but inglorious task of admonishing speeders. But with the advent of the new Chief, the motor section was vigorously reorganized. What had been regarded as comparatively soft snaps became berths only for police- men of the highest type.
Chicago’s motorcycle men are now rated as the most courageous and daring of all the cities’ coppers. Before they are accepted for the job they must measure up to a standard of fearlessness and intelligeryce which few men can achieve. And once in the service they are daily called upon for proof that their nerves are steady, their eyes keen and their muscles of steel.
Instead of being contented as of yore merely with keeping the boulevards orderly and seeing that parking laws were not violated, they whiz to any scene of disturbance, take the initiative in making arrests and are a tremendous asset to the efficiency of the Department. During the past year motorcycle policemen have had a direct hand in bringing in every t pe of criminal from petty thieves to murderers. They have been active in scores of cases, capturing prisoners at the point of guns, gathering evidence, assisting in prosecuting, and in every way living up to the best traditions of the Chicago force.
It was back in 1910 that motor cycles first made their appearance in the Department. Fifteen men were as- signed to this duty which as mentioned before was not onerous. There was no permanent headquarters and for a considerable period the machines were regarded as an experiment.
They did, however, demonstrate their usefulness in putting the fear of the· law in the hearts of speeders and in 1913 the motorcycle force was increased io twenty-five.
As years went by and the auto traffic increased, more machines were added until recently the entire section was furnished with fifty new Henderson motorcycles of the most improved type.
Thus from a day of small beginnings Chicago motor- cycle division has grown until it is now the city’s answer to the menace of the high power auto when in the hands of careless or criminal drivers. For of all the developments of the past dozen years the convenient and speedy auto has been most used as an adjunct to crime. Hold- up men, burglars and marauders of all kinds have recognized the value of doing their work in a car or with one nearby in order that escape may be swift. Pa roll bandits in particular have taken the auto as their accomplice. For years it seemed that the police could not cope with the growing speed and cleverness of the criminal world.
But spectacular robberies are no longer common, for our bandit population has been introduced in summary fashion to our recognized motorcycle men. Fifty of these coppers on their agile machines, constantly patrol Chicago’s streets day and night. It is impossible for any car to continue an escape at high speed for more than a few blocks without a motorcycle man giving chase. The so-called “”good old days” when a bandit might terrorize one section of the city one hour, and reappear in the opposite side the next- this condition cannot exist now because the highly organized motorcycle coppers can whirl to an point at 90-mile-an-hour speed if necessary. An effective barrier against escape can be arranged over the entire city in less than fifteen minutes. Bullets in abundance and true to their aim are waiting at scores of places for robbers who seek to molest the peace and property of our citizens.
To accomplish this the city is divided into twelve zones in each of which at all hours two men travel beat on their machines. At frequent intervals they report to headquarters and receive instructions. If a crime has been committed, the motorcycle men know about it soon after and thus are prepared to pick up suspicious characters, or to block the way of men in autos who may be in too much of a hurry to get away.
Members of the motorcycle division are always assigned to accompany celebrities visiting the city. They precede and police the route of parades and clear the way on all occasions when it is essential that the streets be made safe.
The recent visits of Admiral Beatty and Marshall Foch are examples of the efficiency of our motorcycle men in cooperation with the other police, in keeping noted visitors from harm and annoyance.
Within the past few months members of the motorcycle section have made an especially proud record involving crimes which at first seemed baffling. Officer Grover J. Gormley, working on the slenderest of clues not long ago succeeded in bringing to justice a man responsible for one of the most mysterious of murders. In another case motorcycle men ran to earth a gang who had been making a business of bombing places of business during labor troubles. Several men were arrested, one was shot, and 1,400 sticks of dynamite together with quantities of caps and fuses were found in following this dangerous trail. All in all the motorcycle section had made 7,234 arrests from April to November, 1921.
Capt. John J. Naughton is in command of the motorcycle section, with Lieut. Anthony G. W. Smith in direct charge. Every morning and every evening a platoon of these sturdy men spin their motors and start out on they know not what hazardous adventure. The day may bring forth nothing more exciting than handing slips to those who take their own and others’ lives in their hands by speeding. Or these same motorcycle coppers may flush a bevy of bandits and wing them with bullets while traveling at express train speed. Or any moment a hole in the pavement, a blowout of a tire, a loose handle bar may throw them headlong to the street. Yet with eyes unafraid they patrol their zones, bringing safety to sleeping or working multitudes. There is no more important type of police work than that performed by the motorcycle section.
Main 13, November, 1921
FEW people really appreciate the mechanical excellence of modern motorcycles. As a piece of mechanism, the motorcycle power plant is comparable with the very finest automobile motors. A motorcycle engine must be very light and compact, and at the same time, it must give comparatively large power output per pound of weight. This necessitates skillful designing, the very finest workmanship and materials of the very highest grade. The motorcycle owner should realize all this, and accord his machine proper attention and care and thus be assured of getting maximum service.
Lubrication is without doubt the most important point in motorcycle operation. The engine operates at higher speed and is subjected to much harder service than auto- mobile motors. Consequently, an ample supply of the right kind of oil must be available at all times. Automobile motors are water cooled. Their cylinders are surrounded by water jackets which prevent the tempera- ture from rising above a certain point. On the other hand, motorcycle engines are air cooled, and therefore the cylinders become warmer than automobile motors. Consequently, motorcycle oil must be heavier in body and must stand high temperatures without excessive thinning. The motorcycle engine cannot be operated with thin automobile oil without risk of serious damage, for the thin oil does not have sufficient body to protect the wearing surfaces. The first cost of proper oil is but little greater than inferior grades. Poor oil is dear at any price.
The force feed oiling system of the Henderson with which the Chicago Police Department is newly equipped, is a departure from the regular motor lubrication. The entire oil supply is carried in the bottom of the crankcase, from which it is forced by a pump through pipes and ducts directly into all the crankshaft main bearings and through passages in the crankshaft directly into the connecting rod bearings. Passages also lead to the camshaft bear- ings and to the transmission and clutch. Thus a constant stream of oil is forced into the bearings and the amount supplied is in proportion to the motor speed and need. From the bearings, the oil drains into the crankcase base, from which it is recirculated. There is a strainer in the oil supply line to the pump, and this should be removed and cleaned at least every 500 miles. At the same time, it is desirable to wash out the motor with kerosene, making sure that all of the kerosene has been drained out before filling up with new oil.
The oil gauge, in sight if the rider at all times, indicates pressure of the oil supplied to the bearings. All pipes and connections should be examined regularly to make sure they are intact.
For satisfactory operation of the machine, the various external bearings, joints, etc., should be oiled regularly to prevent rust and wear. Oil cups are provided on the front fork rockers, and a few drops of oil should be injected into these at least every 500 miles. The various control joints should also be oiled at least as often as well as the pivots of the clutch, gear shift and brake levers, and the pivot of the front saddle extension. At least once each season, the front and rear hubs and head bear- ings should be packed in hard grease. It is particularly desirable to have the hub bearings well greased during the sloppy winter months, not so much for lubrication as to prevent the bearings from rusting.
Motorcycle power plants have been developed to a stage where they give very little trouble, provided the right kind of oil is used, but as yet there is no such animal as a puncture-proof tire. Somebody has said there are two classes of punctures—”one kind is too small to find and the other too large to fix.” This is an exaggeration with several grains of truth. In locating a puncture, the first procedure is to examine the tread for the head of the offending nail or tack. If it is found, the casing need · be removed only for six inches or so on each side of the puncture. Motorcycle casings are made with a flap at- tached to one end, intended to cover the rim and protect the tube from the spoke ends. Instructions will be found imprinted on the side of the casing, telling which side should be removed first. In prying the casing from the rim, a blunt tire tool should be used to prevent punctur- ing the tube. Before applying the patch, the tube should be cleaned with gasoline and should also be roughened with a piece of sandpaper. A mistake frequently made is not waiting a sufficient length of time for the cement to dry.
In rainy weather, it is safer to ride with the tires a bit soft. When pumped up hard, but a small part of the tread comes in contact with the pavement and there is more danger of skidding. However, tires should not be ridden too soft for there is danger of pulling out the valves.
Chicago Police Motorcyclemen put on a display at the Ninth Annual Police Games at Soldiers’ Field on August 10, 1930.
One of the 25 Chicago Police motorcycles which replaced the horses from Chicago’s mounted police squad in 1948.