HISTORY OF YORK FOP
These were pages from “Dance Books” published in 1937.
“Benefit Dance – York County Lodge 73 – Fraternal Order of Police – Outdoor Country Club Thursday April 15, 1937.”
Ervin C. Hall, Irwin C. Korman, Porter D. Jones, John W. Farber, Raymond R. Bollinger, John W. Dodson, Harry E. Shunk, P. M. Boyer.
Lester J. Carpenter, Thomas R. Cox, John J. Karbon, Arthur M. Baekel, John BIllett.
By Emory Gardner
It was in the fall of 1932 that John Billet, now the sheriff of York County, and John Karbon, Dallastown police officer, first conceived the idea of organization among the constables and deputy sheriffs of the county. At the time Mr. Billet was employed as motor patrolman for the York branch of the AAA and covered the entire county. This gave him a chance to contact practically every peace officer in the county, and also, to see what organization would mean to this group of men. Both Billet and Karbon worked hard on the idea, cards were mailed pertaining to meetings, but interest lagged. The men, when interviewed, were full of enthusiasm and promises, but when meetings were called, were somewhere on business or had forgotten.
Finally, on May 14, 1934, nine men met in North York and elected the following officers: President, John J. Karbon; Vice-President and Secretary, A. M. Baekel; Treasurer, Thomas Cox. It was agreed that the organization should be known as the York County Police Association, and that police officers, constables and deputy-sheriffs were eligible for membership. It was further decided that meetings should be held in different towns throughout the county on the first Monday of each month. The following month in Dallastown, there was eleven members elected to membership.
Each month the future of the organization seemed brighter, as more men were received into membership as the purpose of the organization became known. Primarily, it was the intention of the body to insure cooperation among the various peace officers of the county and to further promote the interest of the public in general, by giving them more concrete protection due to such a cooperation, among the various police officers of the county, which now numbers practically every active man within the borders of the county, who can be reached within a short period of time, day or night, to carry out any duties necessary in enforcing the law and protecting the rights and safety of the citizens within the county.
Uniformed members of this organization are known as the County Police, and are employed by the various boroughs and townships in the county in most instances, although a few are retained for emergencies, night patrols and for the purpose substituting for a borough or township man, should he meet with an accident or become sick.
At the regular meeting of the 4th of September, 1934, a representative of the Fraternal Order of Police was present and outlined the rules, and benefits of the organization, informing the police association that they were eligible for membership. A committee was appointed to investigate and report at the next meeting. Following a report of this committee, a special meeting was held in the rooms of the York County AAA office, where what is known as The York County Lodge, No. 73, Fraternal Order of Police, was formed. A charter was signed by fifteen men and the following officers were elected to serve for the coming year: President, John J. Karbon; Vice-President, A. M. Baekel; Treasurer, Thomas Cox; Secretary, Earl Wolf. Representatives of the Grand Lodge in Pittsburgh were present and installed the officers, and gave interesting talks concerning the future of the organization.
From that time on the lodge began to move ahead by leaps and bounds. Various committees were appointed, business transacted and in short, the York County Lodge, No. 73, was on the map.
In the spring of 1935 the members cast about for a means of holding a social function, finally deciding to sponsor a dance. The idea took hold immediately, and the large Valencia Ballroom in York was secured. Two orchestras were engaged to furnish music. Several valuable prizes were given away to people attending the dance, which was the largest that season. It was decided at the meeting following the dance that it would be well to make the affair an annual one.
Every year delegates are sent to the state and national conventions, and word is brought back as to what is being done and what movements are afoot for the benefit of the police officer. Special trips are made to the state capitol by members of the legislative committee for the purpose of contacting state senators and members of the House of Representatives relative to things o interest to the police officer.
From a few men, the York County Lodge, No. 73, has grown to include practically every man actively engage in police work in the county and is known to be one of the most active lodges of the order in the state.
By Emory Gardner
R-R-R-RING. The telephone rings in the office of the sheriff, a deputy lifts the receiver and speaks into the transmitter: “Sheriff’s office.” From an outlying section of the County comes this request: “Our Sunday school is holding a picnic down here and the traffic is rather heavy, the children will cross the road, you know, and are in danger of being run down. Can’t you do something about it? The anxious person is anxious that the matter will soon be taken care of. The man in the Sheriff’s office calls a number and issues a few terse instructions to a man at the other end of the line.
In a short time a car is seen to stop at the picnic grounds and a man in the gray uniform of The County Police steps out and quietly and efficiently takes charge of the situation. Consequently, things are soon going smoothly to the tune of the policeman’s whistle. IF a motorist shows too much speed in the passing the grounds he is stopped and asked in a respectful manner to drive more carefully. Those who are habitual offenders are haled before a magistrate and dealt with accordingly.
A motorist, in another instance, may be driving through a small town in the county, during the school term, and after rounding a bend in the street, finds himself halted by one of these county police officers. School children are crossing the street. He notices how they wait on the curb until told by the officer that they may now cross, and observes how they smile confidently up at the officer, many of them calling him by name. The driver of the car suddenly realizes that the officer is not at this post to stop motorists, who perhaps, are in a hurry to get nowhere, but as a protection for the children. Presently the policeman blows his whistle and the line of vehicles resumes its travel.
Again, it is midnight. An officer of the County Police in a farming district has just one to bed when his telephone rings. He answers and hears that one word that strikes terror to the stoutest heart. “Fire!” A farmer’s buildings are being destroyed, he may be rendered homeless. All thought of sleep and rest, for the officer, after a long day is forgotten. In a few minutes he is astride a fire-spitting motorcycle, roaring through the night, his siren wailing, an arrives at the scene of the fire at the same time as do the fire engines.
In like Mortimer, a farmer complained about losing a number of chickens. An officer visited several poultry dealers and at one place learned that the dealer had bought from a couple of young men approximately the same number of identical description, as those that the farmer had reported stolen. Here the officer also learned that the boys had been paid by check, and when confronted with the same check, which bore the endorsement of one of them on the back, they confessed to the theft. They are now serving sentences in a penal institution.
We find this group of men, known as the County Police, mainly employed by boroughs and townships throughout the county and vested with the authority of deputy-sheriff. They number about twenty men and include one captain, one lieutenant, two sergeants and four corporals. The entire force is composed of men who have had years of police experience, the majority having served in either the State Highway Patrol or the State Constabulary. They know their business and go about it in a manner town commands respect, and cause those who perhaps condemn a police officer, to see things in a different light.
The duties of these officers are many and varied. If a man’s district includes a small town, which many of them do, he is expected to enforce the traffic ordinances of the town, investigate all infractions of the law, and when the case warrants, prosecute the offenders. To be on the lookout for boys in the act of playing pranks which may result in the destruction of property, settle neighborhood differences, take care of stray dogs, and, in short, see that everything is moving peaceably and in order. Being on duty twenty-four hours, he is expected to answer calls any hour of the night.
A few extra men are kept for such work as policing baseball and football games and duties of like nature. Also, they handle such police work that would take a man stationed in a small town away from his district.
The incidents mentioned in the beginning are only a few that go to make up the duties of these men, and which, they take in their stride, considering it all in the day’s work.