State v. Walbridge

Decision Date14 November 1899
Citation54 S.W. 447,153 Mo. 194
PartiesSTATE ex rel. CHAPMAN v. WALBRIDGE et al.
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

1. 2 Rev. St. 1889, p. 2192 et seq., § 6, declares that "policemen" shall hold office for four years, and be subject to removal for cause only. Section 7 declares that the "officers of police," including "turnkeys," shall be appointed by the board of police commissioners for such time as the board shall determine, and be subject to removal for cause. Held, that where relator was appointed "policeman," and before the expiration of four years from his appointment, at his own request, he was reduced to "turnkey," and, after the expiration of four years, he was again appointed policeman, a new term commenced from the latter appointment; and hence the board was not entitled to summarily remove him during his term of four years from the latter appointment.

2. Where a policeman is illegally discharged by the board of police commissioners, he is entitled to a salary for his unexpired term, though he discharges or offers to discharge no duties.

Appeal from St. Louis circuit court; Selden P. Spencer, Judge.

Mandamus by the state, on relation of John N. Chapman, against Cyrus P. Walbridge and others. Judgment for relator, and defendants appeal. Reversed and entered.

B. Schnurmacher and Chas. C. Allen, for appellants. Benj. J. Klene, for respondent.


The appellants are the board of police commissioners of the city of St. Louis. This appeal is taken from a judgment of the circuit court of said city granting a peremptory writ of mandamus commanding the said board of police commissioners to rescind its order of October 22, 1895, dropping relator from the rolls of the police force of said city, to reinstate him as a policeman for the unexpired term of four years beginning July 1, 1893, and to issue to relator a warrant upon the city treasurer for $1,352.79, compensation found to be due him from October 22, 1895, to the day of judgment. The case was submitted and decided in the circuit court on the following agreed statement of facts: "It is hereby stipulated and agreed by and between the relator and respondents herein as follows: That the records of the board of police commissioners show the following proceedings with respect to the employment and service of the relator as a member of the police force of the city of St. Louis, to wit: That on the 11th day of September, 1888, the relator, John N. Chapman, who was `nominated on the force as an emergency special by Mr. Vice President Blair, September 4, 1889, having passed a satisfactory physical examination, and complied with rule 96 of the manual, was called before the board and interrogated. Said Chapman was informed that his appointment was temporary, and subject to terminate at any time at will of board, and that his salary as an emergency special would be fixed at the rate of sixty dollars per month. Said Chapman agreed to accept the appointment upon these conditions. He was on motion appointed an emergency special, sworn in and ordered to be assigned to duty.' That thereafter, on the 19th day of March, 1889. `upon the recommendation of Capt. Saml. J. Boyd, emergency special John N. Chapman, 3d Dist., was promoted to the rank of patrolman, to take effect April 1, 1889.' That thereafter, on January 5, 1892, `on motion and at his own request, patrolman John N. Chapman, 6th Dist., was reduced to the rank of turnkey, to take effect January 5, 1892.' That thereafter, on June 15, 1893, `on motion of Mr. Small, turnkey John N. Chapman, 6th Dist., was promoted to the rank of patrolman, to take effect July 1, 1893,' where he continued to serve until October 22, 1895. That on October 22, 1895, `it was moved that the minutes of the last meeting be corrected as follows: That George H. Chappell, of the 6th district, be reinstated as patrolman, and that John N. Chapman, whose term of service has expired, be not reappointed, and that he be dropped from the rolls, to correct a clerical error.' It is further agreed that since the 1st day of July, 1893, the regular pay of patrolmen has been $83.33 1/3 per month, and that this is the compensation relator was receiving on and prior to October 22, 1895, which was paid him by the treasurer of the city of St. Louis on warrant, duly signed by the president and secretary of the board of police commissioners, which offices are now held respectively by Cyrus P. Walbridge, president, and Wm. O. Keeble, secretary."

The law governing the case is found in article 29 of the city charter (2 Rev. St. 1889, p. 2192 et seq.). By section 6 of that act, authorizing the board of police commissioners "to appoint, enroll and employ a permanent police force for the city of St. Louis," after providing the number of "policemen, * * * exclusive of officers," that shall be employed at the first organization, and that no person shall be "appointed or employed as policeman or officer of police who shall have been convicted of" an infamous crime, etc., it is further provided that: "The policemen shall be employed to serve four years, and be subject to removal only for cause, after a hearing by the board, who are hereby invested with exclusive jurisdiction in the premises. Any policeman whose term of service shall expire, and who, during his appointment, shall have faithfully performed his duty, shall, if otherwise qualified, be preferred by the board in making their new appointments." And by section 7 it is provided that: "The officers of police shall be as follows: One chief of police, who shall give bond, with security in the penal sum of twenty thousand dollars, for the faithful performance of his duties; three captains; three lieutenants; not exceeding twelve sergeants and four turnkeys. They shall be appointed by the board for such time as the board shall determine, and be subject to removal by the board for cause." Section 8 provides: "Each captain shall receive one hundred dollars per month; each lieutenant eighty-five dollars per month; * * * each ordinary policeman and detective seventy-five dollars per month, and each turnkey fifty dollars per month, payable monthly." Section 11 provides that vacancies in any grade of officers except that of chief shall be filled from the next lowest grade, if competent men can be found therein; authorizes the board to make all necessary rules and regulations, not inconsistent with this act, for the appointment, employment, uniforming, discipline, trial, and government of the police force, and the relief and compensation of members of the police force injured in the discharge of their duty, and "the families of the officers or men killed while in discharge of duty," not to exceed twelve months' pay, and that the board shall have power to require "of any officer or policeman bond, with sureties," etc. Section 12 provides that: "No officer of police or policeman shall be allowed to receive any money or gratuity for any service he may render without the consent of said board; and all such moneys as any policeman or police officers may be so permitted to receive shall be paid over to the board," etc.

1. It is manifest from the foregoing provisions of the law that the police force of the city is thereby divided into two separate, distinct, and well-defined classes, viz. policemen and police officers, each class well differentiated from the other. State v. Vallins, 140 Mo. 523, 41 S. W. 887. It is equally clear that, while the former are appointed for a fixed and definite term of four years, and the latter for an indefinite term, neither are removable by the board except for cause. State v. Walbridge, 119 Mo. 383, 24 S. W. 457; State v. City of St. Louis, 90 Mo. 19, 1 S. W. 757; State v. Brown, 57 Mo. App. 199; State v. Board of Police Com'rs, 14 Mo. App. 297; Id., 88 Mo. 144; Mechem, Pub. Off. § 454. It is also evident that the person designated by the word "patrolman," as used in the statement of facts, is included within the term "policeman," and not within the term "police officer," as used in the statute; and that under the statute a "turnkey" is a "police officer," as distinguished from a "patrolman" or "policeman," The contention for the appellants is that the relator...

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