POLICE WILL PATROL RIVER IN LAUNCHES. ~ Mounted Men Guard Flooded Wholesale District -- Peril of the East Bottoms.

June 12, 1908

Mounted Men Guard Flooded Whole-
sale District -- Peril of the
East Bottoms.

Chief of Police Daniel Ahern and Captain Walter Whitsett yesterday afternoon drove through the flooded East and West bottoms. Complaint had been made that sightseers and others had been breaking into unprotected houses and stealing.

Last night mounted men were stationed all over the West bottoms with orders to patrol the flooded district carefully. If the water goes any higher police will be placed in launches to patrol. Now an officer on horseback can reach the most important part of the wholesale district.

It was also reported to the police that in the trees near Harlem many dead cattle, horses and hogs have become lodged. The citizens in that vicinity fear the result if the animals are left there after the flood goes down. Today police in motor boats will be sent over the river to dislodge any dead stock and see that it gets into the current.

Near the Kelly mills in the East bottoms twenty-five or thirty men are at work night and day watching to see that the water does not break through the dike formed by the embankment of the Kansas City Southern railway.

"That is really the key to the East bottoms," Captain Whitsett said. "If the water once gets through there it means lots more trouble, especially for truck gardens, Currents would be quickly formed and all of that loose rich soil would go down the river as it did in 1903."

Wednesday night and last night fifteen or twenty families, by special permission, slept on the hillsides below North Terrace park. In the day the people go down and watch their property.

William Mensing, 10 East Fourth street, called at police headquarters last night and offered five or six furnished rooms for the benefit of the flood sufferers. In 1903 Mensing had a rooming house at Fourth and Main streets. While his rooms could have been rented at good prices, Mensing gave up a dozen or more to poor families and even took two families into his home.

"These rooms I have are not for men who can hustle for themselves," he said last night. "As before, I prefer to let women and children occupy them."

Mayor Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr., chairman of the police board, informed the department yesterday that tents could be secured at the Third regiment. They are to be used for poor and needy families if the worst comes.

Today two gasoline launches will be placed in commission for use of the police. They will be expected to patrol the river below the Hannibal bridge and render aid to people on both sides of the river if the emergency calls for it.

The crowd on the Intercity viaduct last night -- most of the people were sightseers -- was so great that Captain Whitsett stationed four men under Sergeant Robert Greely at the entrance. Their business was to be on the lookout for crooks and to keep the people moving. Three patrolmen were placed at the Mulberry street pay station to keep order and see that no one used the "center rush" method to get through the crowd without paying.

Last night several police were patrolling the river bank from the foot of Grand avenue east. It had been reported that thieves had been breaking into wholesale houses through windows, loading their boats and landing further down the river

The police were asked last night to be on the lookout for Antonio Travesse, 6 years old, an Italian boy living at 410 Holmes street. His father, Carlos, greatly excited, reported the missing boy. He said that when last seen his baby was going toward the river.

Harlem could not be reached by telephone last night. In the afternoon it was said that the water there had flooded the only remaining stores. Last night's report from there was that the river was getting lower, and that most of the wise citizens over there, who had passed through the terrible 1903 flood, will save all of their household goods and stocks of merchandise. Some were moved to this city and some of the stocks are still there, very high up with the counters and shelves nailed down.