Top 5 Hilarious Excerpts from New Book on How Wild STL Cops Used to Be


The 1950s were a very, very different time for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department -- a wild-and-woolly era when some blueshirts preferred to mete out justice to no-good low-lifes on the sidewalk -- not the courtroom.

To get a taste of this freewheeling world, you might leaf through "Curbstone Justice," written by ex-officer Bill Leahy, who's also a big presence on St. Louis Coptalk, where officers new and old like to bullshit and complain about things. Some highlights:

5) On Harmony
my first partner....was eternally the peacemaker while I leaned toward more lasting solutions. Rodney King asked, "Why can't we all get along?" My answer is that it was never meant to be, and that is why God invented nightsticks.
4) On problem-solving
there obnoxious individual on a street corner who insisted on annoying passersby with his foul mouth...[my partner] Bob tried reasoning with the guy, but was getting nowhere. I asked Bob if I might try, and within a few minutes of quiet discussion the guy went on his way as was suggested.

Bob marveled at my ability to keep the gent's attention and asked what it was I said. I replied that he could hear me better because I was standing on his instep....not in the rulebook, but effective.
3) On Communication
....after nudging the [suspect's] rear end with the barrel of my handgun, I explained in very specific terms what might happen to him should he move.
2) On the demise of an underworld character
Norman "Bosco" Owens, born 9-22-31...died December of 1983. He would be 78 now if he'd just avoided taking that nap in his car trunk...they found his frozen body out at Lambert Airport...fortunately he was in the long term parking so the fees didn't amount to much.
1) On Police-Press Relations
John Aloysius Doherty [a cigar-chewing former boxer] rose to the rank of Chief of Detectives. A tough, no-nonsense enforcer...[he was] feared by the underworld because there were no assurances he was going to play by the rules. And if you were unlucky enough to end up on John's short list of bad guys that needed "coaching," you were in a heap of trouble.

[One repeat criminal offender] was said to have fallen down the steps at a police station and got himself all busted up. [He] sued the police department, and I remember someone in the press asking John Doherty how anyone could get so banged up just falling down the steps.

John just said, "He might have fallen down the steps several times."


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