July 30, 1907
Joseph W. Folk, Missouri's "reform" governor, yesterday removed Police Commissioner Frank F. Rozzelle from office. In order to prevent Mr. Rozzelle and Mayor H. M. Beardsley from recommissioning John Hayes as chief of police it was necessary for the governor to telegraph the order ousting Mr. Rozzelle.
The first step toward "Shannonizing" the police department has been taken.
For several weeks Governor Folk has been trying to induce Mr. Rozzelle to vote with Police Commissioner Andrew E. Gallagher for Hayes' removal, in spite of the fact that every commercial organization in Kansas City had recommended the re-commissioning of Chioef Hayes. Every test between the business interests of Kansas City and the Shannon politicians has demonstrated that the business interests are secondary with Governor Folk. Folk is a candidate for United States senator, his presidential boom having exploded some time ago. His only hope of securing the Jackson County delegation is through an alliance with the Shannon forces. The Shannon gang was whipped out of the county court house and the city hall, and the machine so badly wrecked that the only hope of ever getting it in motion again was through connivance with the police.
As long as Chief Hayes was at the head of the police force elections were largely free from taint. Bill Adler was sent to prison and finally driven from town. Pinky Blitz shared a similar fate. Other sluggers were driven from the polls, padded election lists disappeared and every enfranchised individual was free to cast one ballot and have it counted as cast.
When Folk made the race for governorship he made many pledges along reform lines. One of these pledges was "home rule." He deplored that other governors had sought to control the police forces of St. Louis, Kansas City and St. Joseph and without any reservation promised that he would give the people of these towns home rule in its truest sense. Governor Folk violated his solemn promise on the first occasion when put to the test. It was in the appointment of a police board for Kansas City. Joe Shannon had held several conferences iwth Folk and the business men became aroused to action. A petition, containing the names of fifty reputable citizens of Kansas City, from which list the governor was asked to name two police commissioners, was presented to Folk by a delegation representing practically every commercial and professional organization in Kansas City.
But Rozzelle did not "stand hitched." He developed ideas of his own. He refused to become a party to Governor Folk's machine-building plans and there was much chagrin in the Shannon camp. Rozzelle was summoned to Jefferson City by the governor, who tried to whip him into line for Hayes' removal. Rozzelle said he would resign before he would become a party to ousting a capable officer without cause. Folk gave him time to think it over and made two trips to Kansas City to confer with him, but Rozzelle stood by his original declaration. Last Thursday hie signified his willingness to vote to recommission Chief Hayes. Mayor Beardsley favored recommissioning Hayes, but Gallagher made such strenuous objection that the matter went over until yesterday. Then the Shannon crowd got busy and Folk's telegraphic order of dismissal to Rozzelle was the result.
Next in order will be a police commissioner along Shannon-Folk lines. Then Hayes weill be ousted and a Shannon-Folk police chief named. With a police chief receiving orders from Joe Shanon the Folk idea of "home rule" will probably be fulfilled.