The sudden death of the Chief, Frank Pardon on August 23, 1916 resulted in the appointment of Sergeant Thomas O’Brien as acting-chief on September 5, 1916 to fill the unexpired term of Chief Pardon. This action was done by Ernest Wurster, Acting-Mayor. Robert Clark was appointed patrolman to fill the vacancy.
The personnel at the beginning of Acting-Chief O’Brien’s appointment as administrator in the department, which he held for seventeen years, was as follows: William Aprill, Gustave Meyer, Thomas Blackburn, Reuben Armbruster, Frank Kiehl [Keihl], Edward Blumhardt, Emanuel Sodt, Earl Walker, Marlend Howard and Robert Clark.
A new car for the department was now needed. Bids were received and a Ford touring car was purchased for $416.00 including spare tire and speedometer.
Salaries were again raised by the Council in July 1917, the reason again being the rising cost of living. This was the period of the last World War and men were difficult to obtain to fill a vacancy. A patrolman’s salary was set at $84.70 a month. Later in the same year salaries were again increased.
By Council action, two more men were added to the force by the recommendation of Mayor Wurster in 1917. The mayor also did some reorganization work in the department in November of that year. Henry Harden and Fred Sodt were appointed as new patrolmen while Tom Blackburn, Reuben Armbruster and Earl Walker were relieved of duty and replaced by Jacob Andres, Clyde Bennett and Charles Splitt. Blackburn had been a patrolman for ten years while Armbruster had served a total of twelve years.
Jacob Andres resigned in March 1918 and Keihl was drafted into the Army. Clay Alexander was appointed as a temporary patrolman but saw little service. Joseph F. Gast was appointed patrolman July 1, 1918 to fill the vacancy in the department. Salaries were again raised to $93.16 a month for patrolmen. Frank S. Marz was selected to fill the vacancy caused by Charles Splitt leaving the service on September 30, 1918. Later, on November 15 the salary for a patrolman was set at $102.46 a month.
Charles Splitt returned to the force replacing Clyde Bennett in January 1919. Bennett returned later on May 5, the same year to replace Henry Harden who resigned. George Randel was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Emanuel Sodt who accepted a position with the Water Department as Superintendent. It was specified by the Mayor that Randel was to be a motorcycle patrolman. Keihl returned from the Army on August 1, 1919 thus bringing the department back up to its full strength of thirteen men. In November Gustave Meyer left the force and in January 1920 Robert Clark resigned. Charles Harden replaced Meyer and Carl Arnold replaced Clark who was reappointed a month later when another man was added.
Salaries again were raised to $117.82 a month for patrolmen and three months later, in February 1920, they were again raised to $137.50 to meet the increasing cost of living. Four months later they were again boosted to $149.28 a month.
Fred Sodt left on March 1, 1920. Frank Marz was appointed as health officer and transferred to that department. Jacob Andres, a former patrolman, was selected to fill one vacancy on June 7, 1920 and on July 19, 1920 Lewis W. Fohey was appointed to fill the other by Mayor Wurster. Carl Arnold left in July and this vacancy was not filled until December by the appointment of DeLester Gardner.
No sooner would a vacancy be filled than another would occur by the resignation of some patrolman, the reason for this being that the wages offered by industrials far exceeded the salary paid by the city. In December 1920 Charles Harden left the force. Robert Clark left in February 1921. Charles Kapp was selected for one vacancy in March but Clyde Bennett resigned in the same month and the force was then two men under full strength.
Hugh J. McNally was appointed as a night sergeant on May 2, 1921. McNally was a retired Chicago police officer. John L. Osborne was appointed patrolman December 5, 1921 replacing DeLester Gardner who left because of illness. Sergeant McNally left in May 1922 and Carl Arnold returned to the department in July.
The acting-chief was authorized by the Council on September 4, 1922 to purchase six traffic signals and to install them where he deemed them necessary.