February 27, 1909


Mr. Middlebrook Is to Serve Until
the Time When He Can Be Ap-
pointed to Board of Elec-
tion Commissioners.

R. B. Middlebrook and Thomas R. Marks were yesterday appointed by Governor Herbert S. Hadley members of the police board. In making the announcement, the governor gave out the following statement:

"I have offered the positions of police commissioners of Kansas City to R. B. Middlebrook and Thomas R. Marks and they have somewhat reluctantly consented to serve. Neither was an applicant for the position. I have given almost as much time to the selection of police commissioners in Kansas City as to all of my other appointments.

"The question has not been the selecting of two commissioners, but the selection of a commissioner that would meet the requirements of the situation. In my effort to secure such a commissioner I have offered the appointments to R. C. Meservey, D. J. Haff, Henry M. Beardsley, Eugene H. Blake, Clyde Taylor, Thomas H. Reynolds and John H. Thatcher. None of these gentlemen felt that they ought or could accept the position.

"I feel that in Mr. Middlebrook and Mr. Marks, I have finally secured two men who are familiar with the conditions existing in the police department in Kansas City, and know how a good police department ought to be conducted. I feel confident that they will meet my expectations and the requirements of the situation."

Mr. Middlebrook is to serve as police commissioner only until there is a vacancy on the board of election commissioners, when he will be appointed to fill it.

Both of Governor Hadley's appointees to the Kansas City board of police commissioners were of the opinion yesterday that the announcement of any particular brand of reform would be presumptuous as well as premature. Neither was inclined to go into generalities concerning the duties of the members of the board, but even with the short notice on which their appointments were made, each had a number of ideas that promise much in the way of curbing criminal activities.

"I have no swamp-root remedies or sweeping reforms to proclaim," said Thomas R. Marks last night at his office in the First National bank building. "I have a well-imbedded idea that the police service should become one of the military arms of the state, with its efficiency raised to the highest possible degree by the enforcement of discipline and promotion for the men, based on merit alone. It should be the alm of the police department to win the confidence of respectable citizens and not submit to the machinations of a lot of political gangsters.

"It appears to me that the published reports of an epidemic of crime are not exaggerated. Of course, you can't put down crime with a theory, and I hope I'm not a crank on such matters, but it seems to me that the problem can be boiled down to this: Law enforcement."

"Will a chief of police be appointed from within or with the force?" Mr. Marks was asked.

"Personally, I would much prefer that a head of the department be selected from those attached to it, provided a man who can meet the qualifications can be found. On the other hand I should not hesitate to go outside of the force for a chief, if I thought it were for the benefit of the service. This same applies to other appointments to be made by the board./

"Governor Hadley called me up this afternoon and told me I simply must accept the appointment," said Robert R. Middlebrook last night at his residence, 1800 Linwood boulevard. "It could not but militate against good taste for me to make any statement as to reform," Mr. Middlebrook went on. "The trouble with most so-called reformers," he said, "is that they do not preserve the rotundity of the law as they would have it enforced. They vigorously enforce the statutes against certain classes of criminals, while other classes, not so conspicuous perhaps, go unchecked. That is lop-sided reform. I am for a clean, orderly administration, with the explicit understanding that the compensation fixed by law shall be the only remuneration. In other words -- no graft."