The following are some photos of the Miami Police
Department from Crews' scrapbook, and some information about the
Some Notable Officers: 1925-1945
H. Leslie Quigg
became Chief of the Miami Police Department in 1921.
The former boxer, and reputed hypnotist, was faced with
the problem of growing the size of the police department
to match the rapid growth of Miami's population at the
time. Quigg was removed from his job in 1928, when
he and a number of other local law enforcement officials
faced corruption charges. He was eventually cleared
of the charges, and regained his job as Chief in
1937. By the time he left the force in the
late-1940's, the Miami Police Department had gone from
being a small town constabulary to a major metropolitan
|William J. McCarthy, known to his fellow officers
as "Smiling Mac," rose through the ranks of the Miami
Police Department during the 1920's, and became the
department's Traffic Inspector during the 1930's. As
Inspector, McCarthy pressed the city government to
strengthen traffic laws and penalties for traffic
violations, in response to the high death toll each
year from traffic accidents. On September 10, 1941,
while serving as acting Chief of Police, McCarthy suffered
a heart attack while on duty, and died in his office at
the police headquarters. His funeral was one of
the most elaborate in Miami's history up to that
||Forrest Nelson was a senior
Miami Police supervisor from the 1920's through the
1940's. He served as Assistant Cheif of Police under
Leslie Quigg during the late-1920's and held the rank of
Inspector during the 1930's, until he was demoted to
Captain when Chief of Police Sam D. McCreary eliminated
most of the Miami PD's Inspector posts as part of an
effort to streamline the department.|
Sergeant Leaston G. "Red"
Crews served with the Miami PD's motor division, was
Captain of the Miami Police Department's Pistol
supervised firearms training for all Miami PD officers
during the 1930's.
The Miami Police Department Pistol Team:
The Miami Police Department Pistol
Team was formed by Miami Police officers in 1932. The
team's purpose was to compete in local and national
competitions, and to promote the importance of proper firearms
training in the department, which was lacking at the time.
The team's members practiced on their own time for competitions,
and would go on to be one of the best police pistol teams in the
country. One of its members, Officer Patrick Baldwin, set
world records in pistol shooting in both national and
Members of the Miami Police Department's Pistol Team, cir. late-1930's. The
officers in the photo directly below are (from left) Sergeant
James Otto Barker, Officer Gerald Baldwin, Sergeant D.G.
Reynolds, Officer Charles Stanton, Officer Patrick Baldwin,
Sergeant Leaston G. Crews.
of the pistol team taken in 1940, this time in their competition
Members of the Miami Police Department pistol team
in competition at the Miami Police Pistol Team's range.
In 1939, the Pistol Team posed for a set of
photos with local bathing suit models as part of a publicity
campaign to drum up public donations for the team.
The Pistol Team's practice range, located just
east of N.W. 22nd Avenue near 106th street.
Pistol team members pose with their trophies and
medals earned in competitions. Photo taken cir. 1940.
The Miami Police
Department's Motor Division: 1925-1940
Under the leadership of Captain Melville
Tibbits, the Miami Police Department's motor division became one
of the best police motorcycle units in America.
"The motorcycle division has had its ups and
downs. In 1925-1926, we had 65 motorcycle men. This
number was decreased at different times, getting as low as
10. However, we have found that motorcycles are absolutely
indispensable in controlling traffic today, and we fully intend
increasing the number as rapidly as finances permit. There
are now 22 men in this
---Lt. Melville A. Tibbits, "Motorized Police",
American City, December, 1937, Pg. 15.
At the time of the publication of Tibbit's
comments, the Miami Police Department motor division was
equipped with 22 Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Of those, 15
were brand new at the time.
Note: The photo to the left is not of
Tibbits, but of "Red" Crews. I have no individual photo of
Tibbits available at this time.
Members of the Miami Police motor division being
reviewed by Chief H. Leslie Quigg (officer in darker uniform)
and Capt. Melville Tibbits (to Quigg's right). Photo taken
in front of the Miami Police headquarters in 1939.
(above set of photos) Miami Police motor
officers hot-dogging with their bikes in 1928.
Miami Police Encounters
With The Famous and Infamous (1928-1940)
(officer on left) and another unidentified officer escort Al
Capone (center) to the Miami jail in 1928. The standing
order was for Capone to be arrested as "a public nuisance" any
time he entered Miami's city limits.
The three Miami
Police officers who tackled Giuseppe Zangara in Bayfront
Park when the latter attempted to assassinate President-elect
Franklin Roosevelt on February 13, 1933. The officers are
(from left) N. Arthur Clark, Raymond H. Jackson, and
Leaston G. Crews.
(center), would-be Presidential assassin, is photographed at the
Dade County Jail with Officer "Red" Crews (right) and Dade
Country Sheriff Dan Hardie (left). Zangara would later be
convicted of the muder of Chicago Mayor Anton Cermack and be
executed in Florida's electric chair. (Photo from Florida
State Archives-Florida Memory Project)
Miami Police Department receives the gratitude of
first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (center) for protecting her husband
from an assassin's bullet. Officers are (from right)
Leaston G. "Red" Crews, Fitzhugh Lee, and Raymond H.
grainy image shows pistol team Captain "Red" Crews being
presented a trophy by Cuban leader Batista after a competion
held in Cuba.
In Memorium: the Following Active Duty Officers of the
Miami Police Department Died While on Duty Between
Officer John D.
Killed in on-duty traffic accident at East Flagler
Street and Bayshore Drive, February 16, 1926
Officer Samuel J.
Killed in on-duty traffic accident at West Flagler
Street and 12th Avenue, January 10, 1927
Officer Jesse L.
Shot by crazed gunman in Overtown, July 8, 1927
Officer Albert R.
Accidentally shot at N.W. 27th Avenue and 20th Street,
September 25, 1927
Detective James Franklin
Shot by bootleggers at N.W. 6th Ct. and 54th
Street, February 3, 1928
Officer Augustus S.
Killed in on-duty traffic accident on S.W. 27th Avenue
during a pursuit, September 25, 1928
Officer Sidney Clarence
Shot by prisoner during an escape attempt at
the City Jail, April 24, 1929
Motor Officer R.L. McCormack
Killed in fall from second story balcony, October 3,
Detective Robert Lee "Bud"
Shot by bank robbers in front of what is now
the Seybold Building in downtown Miami, November 12,
Motor Officer John Brubaker
on-duty traffic accident at West Flagler Street
and 16th Avenue, March 31,
Officer Samuel D.
Killed by drunk driver, August 9,
Motor Officer Patrick H.
Killed in on-duty traffic accident on N.W.
36th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, March 29,
William J. McCarthy
Died of heart attack while on-duty at
Miami Police Headquarters, September 10, 1941
Motor Officer Wesley F.
Killed in on-duty traffic accident during a
pursuit on Southwest 3rd Avenue between 21rst and 22nd
Road, September 18, 1941
|Sources of Information:
Forgotten Heroes: Police Officers Killed in Dade
County by William Wilbanks and Miami
Herald articles in the L.G. Crews
Photos in this section
came from Florida State Archives-Florida Memory
Project, except for those of McCormack and McCarthy, which
came from L.G. Crews