September 20, 1909
CAPTAIN J. S. BRANHAM, 35 YEARS A POLICEMAN.
Following a recent exchange of letters between himself and Police Commissioner Thomas R. Marks relative to police matters in the No. 3 district, the resignation of Captain John S. Branham, for thirty-five years on the police force, and its oldest member in point of service, it is said, was received at police headquarters yesterday, effective on October 1. The captain before had told friends that he was too old to drill, and intended leaving the force.
Several weeks ago the police raided the Cordova hotel and arrested several men who were charged with selling beer on Sunday. The liquor was sold only to guests of the hotel. As the raid was made by special officers from headquarters the police of No. 3 district did not get credit for it. Commissioner Marks at a board meeting complained because Captain Branham had not stopped the sale months before. An official letter, dictated by Mr. Marks, was sent to the captain, calling for an explanation.
Captain Branham replied by saying that an officer in uniform could not make the arrest, as the hotel people only sold to its guests and there had never been a flagrant violation of the law.
The reply was not satisfactory to Commissioner Marks, who said that Captain Branham was like many other old officers incapacitated for duty. The captain is 63. The captain chafed under the inference of the commissioner which were repeated to him. Then on Friday night Commissioner Marks informed all of the officers that they must drill.
"If you do not like the regulations laid down by this board or the instructions given by the commissioners you can quit," Commissioner Marks told the assembled officers.
Captain Branham's resignation yesterday is believed to be the outcome of the drill instructions and the Cordova matter.
In point of service Captain Branham holds the record. He was appointed to the force in May, 1874, and has been in continuous service since. He was long stationed at headquarters, but of late years he has been in command of the No. 3 station. He was born in Columbia, Boone county, Missouri, February 15, 1846. In 1871 he was deputy sheriff of Sedgwick county, Kansas, and in 1873 filled a similar position at Ellsworth, Kas.
Some time ago Captain Branham was granted a thirty days' leave of absence by the board. At that time Commissioner Marks said, after the station was put under the command of Lieutenant George Sherer, that the captain was on vacation which might be made permanent. Mr. Marks last night refused to say that Captain Branham had resigned.
In speaking of the new uniforms and the manner the clubs were carried in the belt Mr. Marks remarked that if any patrolman was not satisfied with the new regulations he could quit. He said the officers were told the same thing, and that one had taken advantage of the advice. Asked which one he refused to give out the name, saying it would be made public later.
He said that there were no charges of any kind against the captain who had resigned, and that he had not been asked for his resignation.