Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

EARLY HISTORY OF THE ALBION POLICE DEPARTMENT

Morning Star, July 16, 2017, pg. 10

The Albion Department of Public Safety has just issued a beautiful commemorative medal which it is presently offering for sale. Purchase yours while they are still available. Iíll give the details about that next week in this column. In the meantime, let us briefly review the early history of our local law enforcement department under the City Manager form of government. Prior to 1916, when Albion operated under the Alderman (there were eight Aldermen) system form of government, Albionís law enforcement was handled by a City Marshal with two night officers. The final 1915 City Marshal was Ezra M. Sova.

When Albion switched to the City Manager form of government on January 1, 1916 (there were four city councilmen), all former positions were temporarily continued until appointments could be made by a new City Manager. On Monday January 3, 1916 the new City Council appointed Roland Remley as Albionís first City Manager (See our column of July 20, 2014 about him). Because of his then-current job and having to give his employer proper resignation notice, he didnít assume his new position as City Manager until two weeks later on Monday, January 17, 1916. It is that date when the new City Manager system took logistical effect. At the same January 3 Council meeting, the former 1915 City Marshal, Ezra M. Sova resigned.

New Albion Mayor William Bemer then appointed H. Glen Greening (1882-1970) as interim-Chief of Police upon Sovaís resignation until a permanent one could be appointment by the new City Manager. A native of Quincy, Greening had joined the Albion force in the fall of 1915 and quickly "proved himself a capable officer" according to his biography. On Wednesday, January 19, 1916, City Manager Remley appointed Greening as Albionís permanent Chief of Police. Under Manager Remleyís plan, there were to be three members of the force. The Albion Recorder stated on January 20: "John Pierce, night officer, will be retained but the manager stated today that Officer Seth Taylor, who has been on the day job, would serve only until Saturday night. Constable Doyle is on the night force temporarily and Manager Remley will fill his place in the very near future."

The Fire Department received the biggest changes under the City Manager form of government, moving from a volunteer organization where all volunteers were paid for fires that they attended, to a hired four-employee department. The lengthy legal ordinances covering both the Police and Fire Departments to replace the old statutes under the Alderman system, were passed by the City Council a year later on January 10, 1917.

Greening served in his position as Chief of Police for nearly a year. He resigned with no particular reason given, on Saturday, December 30, 1916, effective January 2, 1917. After leaving the force, Greening stayed in Albion and worked as an interior decorator, but served on the force again as an officer in 1928 and 1929, according to his obituary. He left Albion in the 1930s and became a guard at Southern Michigan Prison until his retirement. He died on May 4, 1970 and is interred in Roseland Memorial Gardens in Jackson.

Replacing Glen Greening as Chief of Police was Fred Hubbard, who was appointed on January 2, 1917, the same day that Greeningís resignation became effective. Hubbard served in that position until 1920.

We need to make mention of the reference "Albionís Milestones and Memories" (1932) page 57 which unfortunately gives January 17, 1917 as the date of the organization of the Albion Police Department. That was a typographical error; it should have given the year as 1916. January 17, 1916 was the exact date that the new City Manager Remley "qualified for office" (i.e. was sworn into office) and he began his term, with January 18 being his first full day of work. I double-checked the microfilmed newspapers for January 17, 1917 and thereabouts, and nothing out-of-the-ordinary happened on or around that 1917 date. So this year 2017 is actually the 101st anniversary of the organization of the Albion Police Department, which occurred when the new City Manager began his term on January 17, 1916.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present an early 20th century photograph of the Albion Police Station at 109 W. Cass St., located adjacent to the large Albion Fire Station at 107 W. Cass St. Today this is the parking lot located just east of Hungry Howieís pizza.


Police Department building circa 1910

Next: NEW ALBION POLICE MEDAL ISSUED

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All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic

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