DEPARTMENT HISTORY

In 1905, when Boonville was officially changed from a town to a city, Mayor John F. Heinzle appointed four men to be city policemen:  Laurence Lerch, James Clark, Sherman Small and John Vincent.  Small was named Police Chief at a salary of $10.00 a month, while the others received $8.50 a month.  Reportedly, Small’s biggest aggravation was women riding bicycles around the Boonville Public Square.  Thinking that they got in the way of more important traffic such as the horses and buggies.  He arrested as many women on bicycles as he saw fit.

There were actually some 15 to 20 saloons on or near the Boonville Public Square during the early 1900’s.  Transient coal-miners and prospectors provided excitement as “free-for-alls” and shootings took place in the saloons.  In 1906, police officer Robert Williams (pictured below) was shot while attempting to break up a fight at the Yellow Dog Saloon at the corner of 3rd and Locust Streets.

Shot sm

Others who served as Boonville City Police Officers Full-Time During this era were: John Kinder, Levi Scales, Ed Fisher, Dello Roberts, Christ Bufkin, Oliver Houghland, U.G. Broshears, James Newby, William Jeffries, William Julian, and Frank St. Clair.

Between the years of 1915 and 1925, a very solid and active Ku Klux Klan organization was in Warrick County.  Boonville City Police Officers Luther Stambush, Ed N. Bell, John Vincent and F.D. Gowen were often enlisted by Sheriff Earl M. Spradley to help disperse gathering mobs and to raid the illegal “moonshine stills” in the area. 

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