On August 28, 1967, Ann Tapp retired from the police department. She was one of the department's first policewomen, but was assigned to administrative duties. Ms. Tapp did carry a firearm and for years was the second best shooter in the police department. Her nickname was “Annie Oakley”, due to her skill with her firearm.
Also retiring in 1967 was Captain Hank Murray, who had been with the department for 28 years. Captain Murray was known as an excellent interrogator and handled many investigations during his 28 years. One interesting case occurred when he tackled the Shah of Iran, who had been arrested for a traffic violation while in Ann Arbor. The Shah had been taken to the police department and was incensed that he had been arrested. He bolted out of the front door to the police department and Captain Murray ran after him. Captain Murray had been a amateur boxing champion and quickly caught up to the Shah and tackled him to the ground. The Shah was taken back to the police department where the matter was then disposed of, since the Shah was a diplomat.
When Captain Murray retired he stated, “If I was 21 again, I'd do it all over. There were some heartaches, some disappointments along the way, but for the most part I enjoyed every minute of it. I liked the law, I liked to enforce it. And I liked helping people when I could. If a man can do what he likes best for most of his life, what more can he ask for.”
The department's police explorers scout post was started in January of 1968. The purpose of the explorer post was the hope it would lead to a cadet program. Chief Krasny wanted the explorer post to be a training ground for future cadets. He was particularly interested in attracting teen-agers from minority groups in the community. Chief Krasny thought the explorer post was the “first and logical” step toward a cadet program.
Under this plan, the cadets would do work such as taking reports at the front desk. It was thought that the cadets would be from 18 to 20 years of age and when they reached their 21 birthday, they then would be hired as police officers. The first advisor for the explorers was Officer Robby Robinson, who was assigned to the Youth Bureau. While the explorer post did not turn into a cadet hiring process, it provided training and guidance to many local youth, many ofwhom went on to become officers.
The explorers post is still in existence and is guided by Officers Jamie Adkins and Renee Bush.
Mace is Issued
In February of 1968, the department issued mace to 21 patrol officers on an experimental basis. According to a newspaper article, “This new defensive weapon may make service revolvers and nightsticks obsolete.” Chief Krasny stated, “Police executives with whom I have talked, tell me this product is the best defensive weapon ever produced for an officer under physical attack.”
City Councilman H. C. Curry requested a study of possible ill effects to humans that were sprayed with mace. Curry had heard that the mace could be harmful if sprayed on an open wound. City Administrator Guy Larcom initiated an investigation and three independent doctors investigated and found the product to be safe.
The use of mace was short lived, due to an incident which originated from a traffic accident which occurred on March 17, 1968. When this incident was over, four arrests had been made, mace had been used three times and Officer John Bodenschatz had a bloodied and ripped uniform.
The incident began when a vehicle was traveling west on Summit near Main and made a right turn. The vehicle veered out of control and struck a utility pole. The impact injured the driver and his two passengers. Officer Bodenschatz was sent to the scene and called for an ambulance, while a crowd of 50 people gathered to watch the events.
The owner of the car had lent it to a friend. The owner was called and told his car was in an accident, so he came to the scene. The vehicle had split the pole in half and was being supported by the wires and the vehicle. The owner began to push the car away with the help of his friends but he was told by Officer Bodenschatz to leave the car alone. The owner refused to listen and was told numerous times to leave the vehicle.
The owner continued and Officer Bodenschatz stepped between the vehicle and its owner. The owner grabbed Bodenschatz by the arm and the two began to fight. Officer Bodenschatz and the owner fell to the ground while the crowd gathered around them. Bodenschatz was kicked and punched by the crowd, while other officers attempted to free him. Corporal Don Johnson waded through the crowd and squirted his mace at the owner of the vehicle, who was still fighting with Officer Bodenschatz. The owner of the car was subdued and placed in a patrol car. The crowd attempted to free him, but were fought off by the officers.
The crowd dispersed but went to St. Joseph's Hospital, where the occupants of the car had been taken. Hospital authorities called the police due to this crowd, which was gathering in the emergency room and overflowing into the x-ray room.
When the officers arrived they ordered the crowd to leave, but were greeted by obscenities. Arrests were then made and the use of the mace again had to be used. At the station, mace was again used in security as the prisoners were fighting with the officers.
Chief Krasny was livid about the incident and the attack on the officer. He issued a stern “get tough” warning stating, “Everyone who may be involved better get one thing straight right now. We're not going to tolerate attacks on police officers, like this one last night. We intend to enforce the law. We're going to stop fights and violence in the streets and public disturbances. We're going to use the weapons and the means available to us and we are not going to back down to mob rule or mob violence.”
This incident sparked concern within the black community. The NAACP questioned the safety of mace and the appropriateness of it. It was believed by them that the mace could cause serious health effects on those who it was used against. Due to their concerns, doctors studied the effects of the mace at the university and found no ill side effects from exposure to it. This did nothing to quell the outcry against its use, however.
On March 19, 1968, Chief Krasny decided to suspend the department's use of mace due to the controversy. The city council was debating it's use at a scheduled council meeting, when Chief Krasny entered and made the announcement that he would end the use of mace. Council had been debating whether or not to order Chief Krasny to suspends its use.
Chief Krasny stated to the council members, “If it's a difficult decision for council to make, then we'll make one. We'll suspend the order to use mace and leave it at that.”
Prior to giving the order, Chief Krasny was asked by Mayor Wendell Hulcher if he would suspend the use of mace voluntarily. Chief Krasny stated, “If you can assure me that the people won't fight my men at every turn, then I'll suspend the use of it.”
“Who can give these assurances?” Hulcher asked. “That's the problem,” the chief replied, “no one.”
The department would be without mace for the next twenty years.