Monday, May 19, 2008

Tramps As Policemen

New York, 1895

The Sheriff Throws Open the Doors of the County Jail.

THE FARMER has received information of a serious kind respecting Sheriff Doht. It is to the effect that after the Deputy Sheriffs went on strike for $3 a day, Sheriff Doht took a number of tramps out of their cells in the County jail, made them Deputy Sheriffs, and sent them to do duty as officers at Maspeth and Ridgewood. THE FARMER prints the information for what it is worth.

(From Tuesday's Brooklyn Eagle.)

The strike for more pay by Sheriff Doht's special deputies, who were appointed for service in protecting the trolley cars in Queens county and were detailed to duty at Ridgewood takes a ridiculous turn when it is asserted that the sheriff is selecting men from the vagrant cells in the jail to act as deputies. Three men who took a train for the field of action wearing deputy sheriff badges were recognized as vagrants who had recently been sent to jail by Judge Wallace of Rockville Centre. The fellows, who were thinly clad, were heard to remark that it would be necessary for them to fight to keep warm.

(From the New York Sun.)

The deputy sheriffs employed by Sheriff Doht of Queens county to protect the Ridgewood power house and depot of the Brooklyn, Queens County and Suburban road joined the strikers last night and took their night sticks with them. The regular pay of a deputy sheriff is $3 a day.

The railroad company paid the men yesterday and gave them only $2 a day. The day force quit, and when the night force under Capt. Baker heard of it they said they'd quit too. Sheriff Doht read the riot act to them without avail.

(From Tuesday's Brooklyn Times.)

Yesterday afternoon forty of the special deputies on duty at the Maspeth stables on Grand street decided to go out. They marched to the County Court House in Long Island City and presented their grievances before the sheriff, complaining that the pay was too small for the number of hours' work. The men were getting $2.50 per day. They demanded $5 for every day and night they were on duty. The men said they had been kept on duty twenty-four hours at a time, and wanted pay for that time.

Sheriff Doht declined to accede to the men's demands, and stripped them of their clubs and badges of authority. Some refused to give up the badges until they were paid for the work already done, and were unmoved by the sheriff's threats to imprison them.

Officer Gildersleeve was around Hempstead village last night in search of twenty deputies to fill the places of those who struck for $5 a day at Maspeth. He had numerous applications, but when they learned of the mission only six were willing to take the positions. The amount offered was $2.50 per day and meals.

If it is true that the tramps in the county jail were taken out, invested with police authority, and sent to Maspeth to preserve the peace, it is easy to understand why the officers showed so much sympathy with the strikers that the railroad company notified Sheriff Doht that he would be held personally accountable for damage to the company's property.

—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, Feb. 1, 1895, p. 12.

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