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Trouble on the Police Force
The Little Chicago Chronicles
While battling in turf and media wars with other mayors and struggling to bring money into the city through prohibition fines, Mayor Howard E. Kelly was also trying to keep the police department staffed and dealing with disciplinary issues within the department.
Kelly said that on Saturday, March 13, 1924, a citizen called him at 10 o’clock informing him of two police officers who “were not acting properly.” The mayor said he and Safety Director Joseph B. Meyers scoured the city and found Officers Joe Cahill, a 22-year veteran, and Officer William Duellmann standing in front of a cafe at Seventh and Ludlow streets. He watched them for thirty-three minutes.
Cahill went into the rear room of the cafe for three minutes after a man in shirt sleeves gave him a signal to enter. The mayor then went to the door and rapped. The man refused to open the door. Kelly asked where Cahill went and the man said there was no officer there. Kelly then pushed the door open and found Cahill hiding behind it. The room smelled of moonshine. Cahill’s breath smelled like moonshine and “his tongue was heavy.”
Cahill denied he had been drinking and only went into the cafe to use the washroom and that’s what he was doing when the mayor started pounding on the door. He said he didn’t tell the cafe owner to shield him and he didn’t know why he wouldn’t let the mayor in at first. He said that he and Deullmann were outside the cafe talking to a man who was giving information on the location of a still.
Meyers dropped the charges on Duellmann for drinking on duty, saying that it was not proved, but suspended Cahill from duty while charges of conduct unbecoming an officer made its way through the courts.
Further trouble erupted on March 19 when Patrolman Joe Koons came to blows in municipal court with former Mayor Harry J. Koehler Jr. in a liquor trial. Koons was on the stand testifying about the moonshine whiskey confiscated in a raid. Koehler represented the defendants.
The raid occurred March 13 at 49 Chestnut Street. Inspector Ed Hoffman made a raid on the home of John and Fannie Brooks with Detective Morton and Patrolmen Koons and Garver. Fannie Brooks testified that John Brock, a defendant in the case, had come to the house to deliver a bushel of coal.