Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Jailer Drinks with Prisoner 1908

Lawrenceville Republican Jan 26, 1908
Lawrenceville Exercised Over the Conduct of Her Officers

  This city is somewhat exercised at present over the conduct of the night police, L. A. Organ.  He is night police and jailer under Sheriff Vandament.  As jailer he has access to the jail and custody of the prisoners.
   Friday night, he took Perry Fitzsimmons, who is in jail serving out a sentence for keeping a gambling house at Stivers Springs, to Vincennes.  They went on the evening mail train and came back on the Big Four at 10:55. While in Vincennes, they together visited four saloons and brought home a quart of liquor.  On arriving home, the prisoner was intoxicated.
   Members of the City Council heard of it, initiated an investigation and found these things to be true.  Monday evening, the police board met and summoned Mr. Organ before them.  Upon being confronted with the facts he confessed to the deed, whereupon the board unanimously recommended his removal.  It also developed A. L. Little, chief-of-police went to Vincennes on the same train and returned on the same train, but had no part in taking the prisoner, going to identify a prisoner for the Vincennes chief.
   The police board has also recommended that police duty in this city be so conducted to properly represent a temperance community.  It is currently stated that Chief Little drank at the same bar as Organ and Fitzsimmons.  If such is the case, he certainly deserves a severe reprimand at least.  No policeman has the right to drink with a prisoner nor one on the road to prison.  By that we mean anyone conducting himself in such a way as to be liable to break the law.  And the present mayor and city council should meet this issue at once with a firm hand or subject themselves to the censure and disapproval of the large constituency that elected them.

   It is due Sheriff Vandament to say that he did not know of the trip taken by his prisoner or jailer until the next day.  Yet he is liable to the people for the acts of his subordinates.  As jailer, he is an appointee of Sheriff Vandament.  Had Fitzsimmons seen fit to walk away or refuse to return, Organ would have been powerless to have compelled him.