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Anaheim Police Department History: 1910


photo of Virgil U. Simpson1910 - 1911 - VIRGIL U. SIMPSON

Forty-four year old Virgil U. Simpson was elected to the position of City Marshal on April 11, 1910. Before coming to California, Virgil Simpson was a successful farmer in Montana. Simpson was a progressive individual who worked hard to provide the best possible service to the people he served. He re-instituted the position of Night Watchman to aid in the protection of local businesses and convinced the City Trustees to increase the size of his staff of officers in order to provide better protection throughout the city. Simpson also established the use of the telephone so that his officers could respond to calls for police assistance at a much faster rate. Also to allow his officers the ability to respond to calls for police assistance much faster, he provided the Police Department with the use of his personal car. Simpson was the first Marshal to require all houses in his district to be numbered in accordance with Post Office specifications.
As one of his first official acts, Simpson re-deployed manpower to slow the rise of burglaries throughout the city. Declaring that he was more than capable of maintaining the peace on his own during the daylight hours, he recommended to the City Trustees that his deputy be re-assigned to work during the night time hours in order to provide twenty-four hour coverage.

The Trustees agreed that there was a need for an officer at night, but they informed Marshal Simpson that he should keep his daytime deputy and hire an additional deputy to work the night shift. With the approval of the council, Simpson hired Johnny Kellenberger Jr. at a salary of fifty dollars a month. The businessmen were so pleased with this idea that they contributed an additional $25 per month to his salary. Deputy Kellenberger was required to check in at the Phone Company every thirty minutes to see if anyone needing police assistance had called 'central.' Kellenberger patrolled the downtown area on foot until he was relieved by Marshal Simpson in the morning. Noting a decline in criminal activity, Simpson was soon permitted to add two more Deputy Marshals to his force.

Virgil Simpson did not hesitate to make violators of the law pay for their actions. During the summertime, while the Police Judge took his regular two weeks vacation, Simpson refused to release any of his prisoners until they appeared before the magistrate.

Anyone unfortunate enough to be apprehended during the start of this two-week period was required to remain in custody and await the return of the judge. On March 2, 1911, after serving only eleven months as Marshal, Virgil Simpson tendered his resignation so that he could return to farming. His deputy succeeded him; a twenty-five year old former engineer named John Kellenberger. Before leaving the job completely, Simpson agreed to work as a Deputy City Marshal without compensation, until Kellenberger was comfortable with his new job.


After John Kellenbergers' sudden rise to Marshal, he proved his worth time and time again. The major problems confronting him early in his career were cars, including traffic problems and joy riding. With a population of 5000, traffic in the city was defined as a major problem on some streets with as many as 200 cars going through the intersection of Center (now Lincoln Avenue) and Los Angeles Streets (now Anaheim Boulevard) every day. The Marshal occasionally rode in a hot air balloon above the city to monitor the smooth flow of traffic and to see that the city remained clean. Since cars were still a relatively new item, they often caused tremendous havoc through the city streets. The City Trustees directed Kellenberger to hire two motorcycle policemen to primarily enforce traffic laws. At the pay of seventy-five cents an hour, the motorcycle officers were under contract with the city for a 30-day period. At the end of the thirty days, the use of motorcycle officers was deemed a success. Kellenberger asked the Trustees for permission to make them a permanent fixture in the department. It was strongly noted that the motorcycle officers not only made 60 arrests but also brought in more revenue to the city than their cost in wages. Against the objections of many motorists, the Trustees agreed to make motorcycles a permanent fixture in the Anaheim Police Department, allowing the officers to work 24 hours a week. As the traffic problems declined, the number of nighttime burglaries rose. A demand for better nighttime protection was made by the Board of Trade. Saying, " no city is more able to employ an ample police force than Anaheim," a resolution was presented to the Board of Trustees demanding that the city employ more than one man at night. The Marshal also pleaded with the Trustees to provide more manpower and allocate more jail space, but received approval to hire only one more officer at $75.00 per month. Detention space was at a premium, with male prisoners doubled up and no more room to house females. Near tragedy struck the City of Anaheim on July 9, 1912, when Marshal Kellenberger was critically wounded while responding to a disturbance call behind Kroeger's Store on West Center Street. At about 9:00 a.m., Kellenberger was summoned by an employee of the store to handle a group of boisterous males drinking inside an outhouse. As Kellenberger made his approach, one of the men named Lino Almendores leveled his .38 revolver and shot the Marshal. Although injured, Kellenberger was able to pull his gun from his holster and fired two shots at Almendores.

When a store employee came outside to see what happened, Marshal Kellenberger gave the employee his gun and told him to chase the suspect. As the suspect fled the area, Kellenberger walked to the front of the store and collapsed. The suspect evaded his pursuers, and three Anaheim Deputy Marshals initiated a manhunt. Orange County Deputy Sheriff Squires quickly formed a posse and set out to capture the suspects, joined by marshals and constables from surrounding cities. Local citizens also joined in the manhunt. Twenty-five automobiles belonging to Anaheim townspeople were seen driving in all directions in search of the suspect. It was later discovered that Almendores was intoxicated and was in the process of robbing another man at the time of his confrontation with Marshal Kellenberger. At approximately the noon hour, Almendores was apprehended in Buena Park. Following his arrest, he admitted to shooting the Marshal but provided his excuses by saying that he was drunk at the time. He refused to give any other statements. Almendores was taken to the Orange County Jail where he was closely guarded. A large crowd of angry Anaheim townspeople and friends of the Marshal assembled outside of the County Jail with ropes in hand prepared for a lynching. It was said that had the Marshal died, the crowd would have given Almendores the "short shrift on the end of the rope." Kellenberger was taken to the nearby Anaheim Sanitarium where two bullets were removed from his lungs. For days, it appeared that the wounds were going to be fatal, but his condition slowly improved. During the convalescence, the City Trustees named Officer Phil Germann as the temporary Marshal. At his arraignment, Lino Almendores changed his name to Linco Almarez and remained visibly shaken by the threats against his life. In August of 1912, the Board of Trustees finally broke down and agreed to provide for two more men on the police force, bringing the number of Anaheim law enforcement officers to seven, including the Marshal. They additionally approved the hiring of two more men as night watchmen and the construction of a 16-bunk jail, complete with a wood and rock pile. That same year, the term "City Marshal" became interchangeable with the title of "Police Chief."

By November, Chief Kellenberger had recovered from his injuries and was back at his job collecting taxes and maintaining peace in the relatively quiet City of Anaheim. Upon his return to duty, Kellenberger chose to keep Almendores' gun and the two bullets that went in to his body. In an effort to keep the tenants of the facility busy, the Chief always kept a large supply of rocks at the jail for them to crush. The ever-resourceful Kellenberger found the rocks useful for paving the city streets.

With Kellenberger back to duty, it was determined that he should allow himself more time for enforcing the laws and dealing with the criminal elements who were becoming more visible through out the city. A limitation was placed on his responsibilities, and the duties of City Tax Collector, Street Superintendent and Dog Catcher were re-assigned to other city workers. With his additional time, the Chief and his men were able to concentrate on the safety of citizens; such as in the case of an unbalanced man named Joseph Keller.

In January of 1914, Keller wrote a letter to Mr. Boyd Webster of the Jersey Dairy demanding that $22.00 be deposited by Webster at a predetermined spot. If Webster failed to comply, Keller threatened to burn down his house and kill his dairy cows. Keller demonstrated the sincerity of his threats by visiting Webster's house on New Years night and cutting up the harnesses to the dairyman's horse.

The Marshal and his men were quickly on the case, but, shortly thereafter, Keller wrote another letter addressed to the City Marshal, threatening to blow up Kellenbergers' house with dynamite. Kellenberger immediately ordered the arrest of the unstable perpetrator. Within a very short time, Night Officers Sackett and Iman saw Keller during the hours of darkness. They pursued their man on foot, but were unable to capture the evading suspect and the hunt continued. Officer Germann was later able to arrest Keller, still in possession of evidence linking him to the crimes. Although considered to be mentally deranged, Keller was prosecuted on Federal charges of using the mail service in the commission of his crimes.

Burglaries and highway robberies plagued the somewhat quiet city. As many as six burglaries were reported in one week. In many cases, burglars roamed through the houses while the inhabitants slept.

Highway robbers were so bold as to stop cars on the main streets of Anaheim. One night, an unsuspecting highway robber randomly stopped a car on its way out of town only to find it driven by the Police Chief himself. Quick actions by the Chief kept the gun wielding man from accomplishing his intended crime. Kellenberger gave the man some work to do on the city rock pile.


In 1916, Chief Kellenberger followed the trend of larger police agencies and put his officers in uniforms for the very first time. Up until this time, Anaheim's law officers wore their own personal clothing with a badge pinned to their shirts and coats. Drab olive in color, the uniforms consisted of a heavy coat with brass buttons, matching olive colored hats and brass A.P.D. letters distinctively displayed on their collars. Proud of their new appearance, officers patrolled their beat with heads held high. The entire community was also proud of their police officers, remarking that they were the best-dressed men in town. Appearance was not the only concern of the Board of Trustees in 1916. Carrying professionalism one step further, the Board enacted an ordinance that prohibited all police officers from patronizing saloons while working. Policemen caught violating this ordinance were subject to direct dismissal from the force. According to Chief Kellenberger, Anaheim was becoming an alarmingly busy city, especially on Saturday nights when workers tended to drink and their fighting spirits came out. On weekdays, each Constable was required to work eight hours per day. On Saturday nights, the busiest night of the week, Kellenberger activated the entire force to work between the hours of midnight and 2:00 a.m. Because of limited personnel, Kellenbergers' men were on call at all other times. Marshal Kellenberger was easily accessible. Any citizens needing his assistance need only pick up a telephone and call him at his residence by dialing Pacific 44-J. The election results of 1918 brought a new Board of Trustees to Anaheim. For reasons unknown, Marshal Kellenberger tendered his resignation one-month after the election. Of all of the personnel eligible for replacement, Constable A.W. Wood was chosen by the Board of Trustees to serve as the new Marshal.


In April of 1918, Marshal Kellenberger turned over his office to A.W. Wood. Albert Wood was to have assumed the duties immediately but because he failed to post the required $5000 bond, he had to wait an additional day until he was able to provide the document to the Trustees. On May 1st, he submitted the required bond and assumed his new position of Marshal. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed a Deputy Sheriff with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

In one of his first official acts, Wood appointed John DeWitt, Marcus Andrade and D.J. Donnolly as his policemen. The Trustees approved the appointments of DeWitt and Andrade, but postponed the approval of Donnolly until they could investigate his background further. City Trustee McFadden had been informed that Donnolly was possibly an agitator and a member of the Socialist Party. The Trustees felt the Donnolly was of a quarrelsome disposition, having caused trouble at the Union Brewing establishment on a prior occasion.

Although postponing the third selection, the Trustees selected Officer O.B. Baxter as the city night watchman, compensating him at a monthly fee of $30. The issue of fast traffic again became a concern in the summer of 1918. Citizens were up in arms about speeding motorized vehicles traveling on Broadway. As a means to decrease mounting public pressure, Marshal Wood appointed Fred Minyard as Anaheim's "motorcycle speed cop." Within a short time, traffic problems on Broadway decreased due to the hard work of Minyard, although he was often accused of becoming a little over zealous in his job of enforcing speed laws.


August 2, 1918 brought a milestone to Anaheim. Mrs. F.A. Alexander was selected by Marshal Wood and sworn in by the City Clerk to serve as the first female Deputy City Marshal. Although Mrs. Alexander was appointed as a Deputy Marshal, she performed the duties of Matron. Aside from the usual disturbances, speeding vehicles, burglaries and alcohol-related offenses, nothing of major significance occurred during this period. Officer Baxter patrolled the streets and alleys during the nighttime hours in his personally owned Tin Lizzy, charging the city $40 a month for the use of his vehicle, not including the cost of gas. Recognized by the city as a burglary prevention tool, Baxter's car was equipped with a large mounted flashlight, which could be swiveled around to illuminate dark corners. The Anaheim Police Department was active and visible in maintaining the security and peacefulness of Anaheim.

In May of 1920, Albert Wood resigned from his position as City Marshal in order to enter private business. A.W. Wood purchased and operated the People's Service Station at 130 South Lemon Street and also became an agent for the largest stage company in town.