THE STATE POLICE played an important role in the administration of Governor E. J. Davis. The organization was in existence almost three years, and during that time it acquired a distinctly unsavory reputation. Although the State Police did accomplish some good, in most instances the criticism heaped upon it by Conservative Republicans and Democrats seemed justified. Furthermore, there will always remain a doubt about the necessity for its creation.
As mentioned, Governor Davis, in his 1870 inaugural address, stated that for the welfare of the state certain laws were necessary to enable him to control lawlessness and to provide for the punishment of crime. He then recommended the enactment of appropriate measures, the most important of which were laws creating a state militia and a state police system.1 Acting upon the Governor's suggestion, the Twelfth Legislature passed the State Police bill, which became law on July 1, 1870.2 This act provided that the State Police be composed of a chief, 4 captains, 8 lieutenants, 20 sergeants, and 225 privates. The adjutant general was to act as chief of the State Police, but the governor, as chief executive, was to be commander in chief. The act made all sheriffs, constables, marshals, and city police potential members of the State Police, to be used when necessity demanded. This new organization was given the responsibility of suppressing crime openly and of acting as a detective force in ferreting it out.3____________________