KANSAS CITY'S CROSSING SQUAD. ~ A Fine Appearing Body of Men.

June 13, 1909

A Fine Appearing Body of Men.


It doesn't take the oldest inhabitant to remember the time when the crossing squad, which now numbers twenty-nine men, was limited to one or two members. At one time Sergeant James Hogan was the whole squad himself with the exception of a patrolman who has been stationed at the Junction for more than twenty years. Kansas City cannot boast of the largest squad in the country, but its members are noted for their general efficiency.

In the mind of the ordinary person the crossing man leads a life of ease. In fact, the majority of the police department envy the crossing men until they have been given a trial. Then it is found that a man must know the location and name of all the office buildings, the streets in every section of the city, the routes of the different street cars and most of the public men.

"Can you tell me the way to the depot?" is a question heard every five minutes.

"Where is the nearest shoe store?" asks a woman.

"Do you know Charley Smith?" asks a farmer who feels hurt when the crossing man shakes his head. "You see he was a great feller to make acquaintances in our town, and I was sure you would know him."

Answering questions, directing the careless drivers who persist in driving on the wrong side of the street and dodging street cars on his own account, are only mere incidents. The constant strain on the system is generally the cause for a man's departure from the squad. Some men ask to be relieved in less than a week.

When the cable cars formerly ran on Ninth street and when some one was injured nearly every week as the cars swept around the corner at high speed, a patrolman was always stationed at that particular spot. The second patrolman to be placed at a crossing was James Hogan, who commenced patrolling the corner at Eleventh and Walnut streets, just eleven years ago.

Four years ago the crossing squad was increased from eight members, who worked from 8 o'clock in the morning until about 7 o'clock in the evening. Patrolman Hogan on account of his seniority and his general knowledge was made a sergeant of the squad.

Two years ago the squad was increased to fourteen members and more crossing were included in the list. But the hours were long and the men asked to be relieved. At last the problem of long hours was solved by Sergeant Hogan, who recommended that the squad be doubled and the hours shortened. Fourteen of the men now go to work at 8 o'clock in the morning and are relieved at 1 o'clock in the afternoon by the other division. After six hours of rest they report at police headquarters and are assigned to the parks and theaters. On the following day the second squad are given the same hours and report at 8 o'clock in the morning, as did the opposite squad on the previous day.

Sergeant Hogan, who has been on the force for nineteen years, probably has a better general knowledge of Kansas City than any other man. One glance through an information guide can tell him whether the pamphlet is up to date or not.

"I don't see the name of the Sharp of finance building," he informed a book dealer the other day when his opinion was asked in regard to the reliability of a guide recently issued. He also knows the name of every street in both Kansas Citys and places of general interest. With such a leader it isn't any wonder that the crossing squad is rated as highly efficient.

Names of the officers, from left to right:

First row -- Crowley, Kennedy, Quayle, Darnell, Rogers, Kincaid.
Second row -- Kearns, Keys, Madigan, Harkenberg, Doman, Nichols.
Third Row -- Lillis, O'Roark, Noland, McCormick, Briden, Jackson.
Fourth Row -- Roach, Coffey, J. T. Rogers, Ryan, McFarland, Hoskins.
Fifth Row -- Hodges, Koger, Sergeant Hogan, Zirschky, Wilhite.