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Florian Ries 1885-1888

Florian Ries 1885-1888The accomplishments of Chief Florian Ries were many. He was a cooper, lieutenant in the 7th Wisconsin infantry (Civil War), State Legislator, Common Council Member and a Justice of the Peace for seven terms.

Photographing prisoners began during Chief Ries' term in 1887. Prior to photos, identification was dependent on officers' memories, a formidable task in a city numbering over 200,000 and covering 20 square miles. The growth of the city prompted Ries to request 25 more men in 1887.
Citizens, expected to assisted patrolmen since 1855, were sometimes provided with police alarm box keys so as to summon a patrol wagon if they observed trouble. The Department currently "sported" three horse drawn "paddy" wagons. In addition, modern telephone service began in 1888 with 15 customers throughout the city.
Chief Ries became the last Chief appointed under the old "spoils" system. In 1885, Milwaukee citizens sent delegates to Madison, demanding that the Police Department be removed from political control. The State Legislature, heeding their demands, formed the Fire and Police Commission. This and a new pension fund, began the establishment of police work as a career.


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