State Police in the United States: A Socio-Historical Analysis

By H. Kenneth Bechtel | Go to book overview

backed by labor passed the General Assembly, were these laws finally repealed.


SUMMARY

Formally called the Department of Safety, the Colorado state police were created as a war emergency measure by an act of the 21st General Assembly during a special session in the summer of 1917. The bill passed on August 4,1917, and received the governor's approval three days later. The force consisted of four companies of forty-five men and five officers each. Heading the department were a superintendent and a deputy superintendent, both appointed by the governor. Unrestricted as to powers and authority, the state police could act anywhere in the state and arrest without warrant violators of any state or federal law. 68

Since the Department of Safety was explicitly a war measure intended to protect the state in the absence of the National Guard, the law creating the force specified that it was to be disbanded at the end of the war. Nevertheless, powerful interests, including the governor, were able to keep the state police in operation and expand its activities. But the manner in which the state police went about their work generated negative and hostile attitudes among the citizens, and by 1922 public opinion had soured on the state police. The fate of the force became a political issue during the 1922 gubernatorial campaign, and shortly after taking office in 1923, Governor Sweet quickly acted to disband the Department of Safety.

The original law, however, remained in the statutes and was subject to reactivation at any time a governor so desired. This fact became a central campaign issue in 1926, and when Governor Adams took office in 1927 he actively sought legislation to repeal the state police laws. Such a bill eventually passed the legislature and on April 1, 1927, the governor signed the act repealing the 1917 law creating the Department of Safety. Colorado did not have another state law enforcement agency until 1935 when a highway patrol, restricted to enforcing traffic laws, was established.


NOTES
1.
In late September 1913, the United Mine Workers called a strike at the Ludlow coal mine in Colorado. Having been evicted from their company houses, the miners and their families were living in a tent colony set up by the union. Months of harassment by private guards and troops of the Colorado National Guard culminated on April 20,1914, when a small unit of guardsmen opened fire on the tent colony with machine guns, killing six people. The guardsmen then proceeded to set the tents on fire killing eleven children and two women. In response, the miners organized an

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State Police in the United States: A Socio-Historical Analysis
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chapter 1 Introduction 1
  • Notes 9
  • Chapter 2 What Do We Know About the State Police? 13
  • Notes 22
  • Chapter 3 State Police Development, 1835-1941 25
  • Notes 44
  • Chapter 4 - The State Police in Historical Context 49
  • Notes 62
  • Chapter 5 State Police Development in Illinois, 1917-1929 65
  • Notes 85
  • Chapter 6 the State Police Movement in Illinois 89
  • Notes 110
  • Chapter 7 Creating the State Police in Colorado 113
  • Notes 130
  • Chapter 8 Analysis of the State Police Movement 133
  • Notes 145
  • Appendix - Suggestions for Further Research on the State Police 147
  • BIBLIOGRAPHIES AND DIGESTS 148
  • GENERAL WORKS--BOOKS 149
  • GENERAL WORKS--ARITICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS 149
  • GENERAL WORKS--ARITICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS 151
  • GENERAL WORKS--ARITICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS 152
  • Bibliography 161
  • Index 173
  • About the Author 180
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