The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

The Beall Report
Excerpts from the 171-page 1951 "Police Department Survey" on modernizing the Medford, Oregon police department, prepared by William P. Beall, Jr. Copies of the survey are available at the Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library, the Jackson County Library and at Washington State University.

Chapter II
The Police Problem of the City of Medford, Oregon
    The city of Medford, Oregon, with an estimated population of 18,000, is presently the fourth largest city in the state of Oregon. It is the commercial and social center of the Rogue River Valley, with a suburban population of approximately 45,000 to 50,000. Economic life is largely dependent upon agriculture, lumber and the recreational attraction of the nearby mountains and Rogue River resorts.
    In the opinion of many people, major crime is not presently a serious problem to the community. Traffic accidents and congestion, on the other hand, are believed to be serious, and present a problem of constantly growing public concern.
    Two factors that influence the police problem in Medford are the nearby veterans' camp [the Camp White Veterans Domiciliary] and the seasonal influx of agricultural workers. Members from the camp contribute to the high arrest rates for intoxication, while a seasonal increase in petty thefts and other offenses follows the migrant farm help. [page 1]

    At this time, it is almost impossible to measure accurately the amount of crime in Medford. Some indication of the extent of major crime exists in monthly summary reports to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Copies of these reports are available in the Police Department files starting with the year 1944. A record of known major offenses should provide a reasonably accurate measure of major crime in the city of Medford each year. It has not done so, for the following reasons:
    1. All crime reports are not being recorded.
    2. Rules of the uniform crime report are not followed. The Police Department does not even possess a uniform crime reporting handbook, which is the guide and rule book for all crime reporting under the national uniform code reporting program.
    In May of 1950, the first serious attempt was made to record crime information. much valuable help was provided by the Oregon State Police in the installation of a system for recording complaints and arrests. This has resulted in a more accurate measure of the problem. However, the complaint information is still so incomplete that the extent of the crime remains largely a matter of conjecture. [page 3]

Total No. Offenses
Crimes Against Person 1945-1951
Homicide 2
Negligent Manslaughter 3
Rape 8
      Aggravated Assault 3
    If the available records reflect a reasonably accurate picture of the frequency of crime in the above categories, recurrence is so infrequent that further discussion would be pointless. Their occurrence seems to be largely a matter of chance. The infrequency of these crimes against the person suggests that the people of Medford and the valley represent a mature and settled social community. Further, it suggests a homogeneity in background, race, customs and beliefs. The people of Medford enjoy the benefits of urban life in a rural environment, and they are not suffering from the effects of congestion and crowding. The situation in regard to crimes against property is quite different, however, from that of crimes against the person. [page 6]

    There is, however, considerable value in comparing one city's major offense rate from one year to the next as an indication of crime trend.
    Burglary: Reference is made to Chart I, which indicates that burglary has increased approximately twenty-two percent from 1945 to 1950. If the trend for 1951 continues at its present rate, the burglary frequency will be about twenty-seven percent higher than in 1950, and almost double that of 1945. On a comparison basis with other cities, Medford's burglary rate (reference to Chart III, number of burglaries per 10,000 population) for the year 1950 was lower than the burglary rates for all cities in the United States, all Pacific Coast cities, and eighty-four cities of the Pacific Coast in the same population group as Medford. It was higher than the burglary rate of 635 reporting cities of the same population group in the United States.
    Robbery: Reference is made to Chart I, which indicates that robbery, in the past, has not been a problem to the city. With only one robbery reported for the year 1950, there is no practical value in comparing robbery rates. However, there have been four robbery reports in the first six months of 1951. This six-month total equals the total number of robberies for the highest year, 1947, in the past six years. Robbery is not as yet a serious problem in Medford. If it continues to increase, it can easily become one.
    Larceny-Theft: Reference is made again to Chart I which, under larceny-theft, includes all types of theft regardless of the value of the property stolen, except auto theft. Theft cases have increased almost one hundred percent in the past six years. The trend for 1951 indicates that theft reports will remain about the same or slightly lower than in 1950. Medford's larceny-theft rate (Chart III, number of larceny-thefts per 10,000 population) for 1950 was lower than similar rates for all reporting cities of the Pacific Coast, regardless of size, and of the eighty-four Pacific Coast cities in the 10,000 to 25,000 population group. It was considerably higher than the national theft rate for all cities, and all cities in the 10,000 to 25,000 population group. As indicated above, all of the reportable larcenies have not been included in the Medford reports; consequently, the larceny-theft rates are in fact higher than the chart indicates.
    Auto Theft: Reference is made to Chart I, which reveals that auto theft has increased about thirty-two percent in the period 1945 to 1950. The trend for 1951 is sharply down. If auto thefts continue at the present rate, 1951 will record the lowest auto theft rate in the past six years. Medford's auto theft rate (Chart III, number of auto thefts per 10,000 population) for 1950 was high; in fact, it was higher than the national rate for all cities, all cities in the 10,000 to 25,000 population group, all Pacific Coast cities, and all Pacific Coast cities in its same population group.
    Total Major Crime: The major crime trend in the city has increased approximately sixty-nine percent in the past six-year period. If the trend for 1951 continues at its present rate, total major crime reports in Medford will remain at about the 1950 level. [pages 7 and 11]

    Drunkenness: The arrest records of the Medford Police indicate an unusually high drunk arrest rate. Eight hundred forty-nine arrests were reported for the one-year period July 1, 1950 to June 30, 1951. Of the 849 arrested for drunkenness, 275 gave their residence address as nearby Camp White. There are undoubtedly many chronic offenders who have contributed more than their share to the high rate. It is suggested that the city attempt to work out an agreement with the camp administrators to control or restrict the worst offenders. [page 16]

    The serious traffic problem of the city is reflected in the accident rate and downtown congestion. Accident statistics, like all statistics, are vulnerable to criticism; however, the available statistical information suggests that the accident problem in Medford may not be as serious as many people believe. . . .
    Prior to the present city administration, there was a serious misdirection of the traffic control program within the Police Department by the municipal government. That situation has left its mark on the Police Department and the traffic problem of the city of Medford. There is, at present, no satisfactory program for placing responsibility and coordinating traffic engineering, enforcement and education. . . .
    The juvenile problem of the city of Medford, like so many other problems, is intangible and difficult to measure. Again measurement depends upon accurate reporting and recording procedures. The problem at best can only be estimated from the present records. The one-year survey of records indicate that about eight percent of all major crime reports involved juveniles as responsible persons or victims. In conversations with departmental personnel, it was estimated that probably less than half the juvenile cases handled by the police become a matter of record.
    Files of the Medford Police Department indicate that seventy juveniles were involved with the police (seventy cases in which reports were made) during a one-year period, August 1, 1950 to July 31, 1951, and of the seventy cases, forty-five were involved in some way (victims or responsible persons) in reports of major crimes. Though there is evidence that the problem is somewhat greater than many believe, at the very worst it still does not appear to be a serious situation.
    The analysis of spot maps prepared for location studies of delinquency failed to reveal a concentration of such areas within the city. Homes of juvenile offenders were well distributed throughout the city.
    The only constructive police activity with juveniles has been a junior traffic control program, which has recently suffered a lack of administrative enthusiasm and has apparently been sliding for lack of interest; and a bicycle licensing program which amounts to nothing more than the purchase of a license from the Police Department. A more complete analysis of the juvenile program and police responsibility is discussed in the chapter entitled "Juvenile Control."
    The vice problem represents, to most city governments and municipal police departments, one of the most serious of police problems. Vice control is the enforcement of those offenses involving prostitution, narcotics, liquor and gambling. Vice in many cases is the weak spot in the city government and represents the means by which government and law enforcement may, and frequently do, become corrupted. It can best be described as the ever-present threat to good government and police service. . . .
    There is no question that vice interests are continually directing feelers toward the city of Medford, a fact which simply emphasizes the necessity for a vigorous public policy of watchfulness and prevention if the city is to maintain a high level of integrity in its Police Department and city government.
    Prior to World War II, several houses of prostitution existed within the city. During the war, these houses were closed, and they have not been permitted to reopen. There is no indication of a narcotic problem in the city at this time. As a matter of municipal and police activity, organized prostitution, narcotics and liquor law violations are prohibited. There is evidence of some gambling activity in violation of state and local laws. This appears to be an accepted part of the social life of some small groups in the community. There is no evidence that this activity has affected the integrity of the municipal government and the Police Department, but the continued existence of tolerated violations is always a threat to the integrity of the Police Department and local government. [pages 17-20]

Chapter III
Summary of Principal Recommendations
    1.* The Police Department to be reorganized according to a logical plan consistent with recognized procedures. (Chapter IV)
    2.* The work of the Police Department to be divided into two principal divisions:
A. The primary or operational division, which will be known as the Patrol Division.
B. The secondary or auxiliary division, which will be known as the Services Division. (Chapter IV)
    3.* The present traffic division to be abolished and traffic enforcement handled as part of the job of all officers of the department.
    4. The Chief to assume the position of administrator of the Police Department. (Chapter IV)
    5. The Chief to turn over all operation of the department to officers to whom he will delegate authority and responsibility for the performance of the City's law enforcement task.
    6.* All police operational activities, including crime investigation, traffic, juvenile and vice control, to be placed under the direction of the patrol lieutenant, who will function as the commanding officer of patrol activities. (Chapters IV, V, VI, VII)
    7.* All police auxiliary activities including records, equipment, property quarters, jail and communications to be placed under the direction of the services sergeant. (Chapter IV)
    8.* The city to be divided into patrol beat assignments, both auto and foot. (Chapters IV, V)
    9.* Patrol officers to be responsible for the handling of all police problems on their beats, including crime, traffic, juvenile control, investigations and services. (Chapter IV, V)
    10.* A complaint record system to be created at a central location for receiving and recording all complaints. (Chapters IV, IX)
    11. A police personnel program to be organized for the improvement of personnel procedures and welfare. (Chapters IV, XIII)
    12. The City to develop a planned program for traffic control. (Chapter VI)
    13. All traffic engineering activities to be taken out of the Police Department and placed in the office of the Director of Public Works, including the installation and maintenance of meters, signs, signals and traffic painting. (Chapters IV, VI)
    14.* All traffic enforcement activities to be the exclusive responsibility of the Police Department. (Chapter VI)
    15.* Traffic education to be the joint responsibility of the Police Department, the public schools and the Medford Safety Council. (Chapter VI)
    16. A city traffic planning committee to be formed for the purpose of developing a city-wide traffic program. (Chapter VI)
    17. The position of a detective sergeant to be established for the purpose of supervising and following up investigations of all serious crime. (Chapters IV, V)
    18. Candidates for employment to provide a personal history application and submit fingerprints. (Chapter VIII)
    19. A background investigation to be made of each applicant at the time of employment. (Chapter VIII)
    20. Personnel records to be separated from all other records and to be the responsibility of the patrol lieutenant. (Chapter VIII)
    21.* A written set of police rules and regulations to be adopted as departmental policy for officers' personal and official conduct. (Chapter VIII, XIV)
    22. A job rating system to be considered as a means of grading officers' work and ability. (Chapter VIII)
    23. All promotions to be made on a provisional basis until regular promotional examinations can be given. (Chapter VIII)
    24. Police record activity to be three types: complaint, arrest and identification. (Chapter IX)
    25.* An arrest card to be made in duplicate for all arrests except traffic. (Chapter IX)
    26.* All police activity to be recorded. (Chapter IX)
    27.* Daily summary reports to be made each morning summarizing all police activity for the past twenty-four-hour period. (Chapter IX)
    28.* Monthly and annual summary reports to be prepared providing comparative information over a two-year period. (Chapter IX)
    29.* A follow-up system to be installed. (Chapter IX)
    30.* All found property to be the subject of numbered reports. (Chapter IX)
    31. The Police Department to require a receipt record of all private property returned. (Chapter X)
    32. All property in the custody of the Police Department to be tagged, enveloped or labeled for identification. (Chapter X)
    33. All firearms or other weapons to be locked in the property room or (when they are available) in officers' lockers. (Chapter X)
    34.* A daily bulletin of all police activity to be prepared to provide current information and assignment of work. (Chapter IX)
    35.* All patrols to be one-man patrols. (Chapter V)
    36.* Officers to be assigned to beats on a permanent basis. (Chapter V)
    37.* Officers to be assigned the responsibility of all police duties on the respective beats during their shifts. (Chapter V)
    38. Officers to be required to call into the station from a different police call box at least once every hour. (Chapter V)
    39. The present practice of holding juveniles arrested at night time in the city jail to be discontinued. (Chapter VII)
    40. The municipal court to be given a regular office and to hire a full-time employee to handle the affairs of that office. (Chapter XIV)
    41. The traffic court to be held separately from regular court. (Chapter VI)
    42. The collection of fines and bail to be taken out of the Police Department and placed in the City Treasurer's office during periods the office is open to the public. (Chapter VI)
    43. Collecting money from persons arrested to be standardized and bail schedules to be followed as set forth by the court. The Police Department should immediately stop taking less than the stipulated bail as a requisite for release. (Chapter X)
    44. The City to enter into a contractual arrangement with ambulance and towing services. (Chapter V)
    45. Property receipts to be given for all property taken from the person of another. (Chapter IX)
    46. The services sergeant to keep records of property including the assignment of equipment to individual officers. (Chapter IX)
    47. Equipment inventory forms or ledgers to be maintained to provide a record of all Police Department-owned equipment. (Chapter IX)
    48. Equipment to be inspected regularly for safe and efficient operation. Unsafe equipment shall be taken out of service until it has been repaired. (Chapter XIV)
    49. The present Police Department safe to be moved into the property room and all valuable evidence or property to be locked therein. Only the Chief, lieutenant and services sergeant to handle property placed in or removed from the safe. (Chapter X)
    50. All jail incidents involving accident, injury, violence, attempts to suicide or escape, etc., to be the subject of numbered police investigation reports. (Chapter XII)
    51. No prisoner to be placed in the city jail if he is believed to be injured or ill without first being examined and passed by a licensed physician. (Chapter XII)
    52. Dirty mattresses and blankets to be removed from jail as soon as practical. (Chapter XII)
    53. The jail to be washed down regularly. (Chapter XII)
    54.* A manual of jail operations to be used for the safety of officers and prisoners alike. (Chapter XII)
    55.* The present accident file to be consolidated with the complaint file. (Chapters VI, IX)
    56.* The present complaint, accident and arrest indices to be consolidated into a single alphabetical file. (Chapter IX)
    57.* An accident location index to be established as an aid to accident analysis. (Chapter VI)
    58. State accident forms to be used for accident investigation. (Chapter VI)
    59. The present traffic arrest tag to be revised to conform with recognized traffic citation forms. (Chapter VI, IX)
    60. The parking meter program to be revised as follows:
A. The Police Department to be responsible for meter enforcement only.
B. The traffic sergeant position now used for meter repair to be placed back into the Police Department and used for police work.
C. Meter enforcement officers to be used for traffic meters, downtown traffic enforcement and control.
D. Meter officers to be relieved of serving delinquent fine notices. (Chapter VI)
    61. The City to provide return-addressed franked envelopes for people receiving meter tags. (Chapter VI)
    62. The traffic meter enforcement fine to be increased from fifty cents to one dollar. (Chapter VI)
    63. The Police Department to reactivate the junior safety patrol and bicycle programs as soon as practical. (Chapter VII)
    64. Selected personnel to be permitted to visit other communities and observe their methods. (Chapter VIII)
    65. A recruit training program to be established and qualified members of the Police Department to participate as instructors in training program. (Chapter VIII)
    66. A regular in-service firearms training course to be established on an annual or semi-annual basis. (Chapter VIII)
    67. Officers to be assigned to attend all local police schools conducted by the League of Oregon Cities. In addition, officers should be selected to attend larger police training schools whenever they are held. (Chapter VIII)
    68. Roll call training to be considered as part of the in-service training program. (Chapter VIII)
    69. A system of incentive training to be established to encourage self-improvement for the job. (Chapter VIII)
    70. The City of Medford to send one man to the National Police Academy at Washington D.C. when time and funds permit. (Chapter VIII)
    71. The Police Department budget to provide funds for the services of a competent private investigator if such services are within the interests of the Department and City. (Chapter V)
    72. The Police Department to prepare a single budget report for submission to the Council instead of the present practice of preparing a police budget and a police traffic budget. (Chapter IV)
    73. Consideration to be given to the future building of an identification record system. (Chapter IX)
    74.* The Chief of Police, patrol lieutenant, sergeant of service and other officers, as may be needed, to comprise the administrative staff of the Police Department. (Chapters IV, XIII)
    75. The administrative staff to define, and commit to writing, the authority and responsibilities of the ranks. (Chapter XIV)
    76. Responsibility for performance of work to be assigned in accordance with rank. (Chapters IV, XIII)
    77.* Officers to be assigned to shifts according to measured need. (Chapters IV, V)
    78. The Chief to confine his duties to the field of planning, inspection, public relations and coordination. At the present time, far too much of the Chief's work is at the patrolman's level. The City is paying too high a salary for this type of service. (Chapter XIV)
    79. The lieutenant to be charged with the responsibility of organizing, planning, operational inspection and personnel. (Chapter XIV)
    80. The sergeants to be charged with the responsibility of supervision, training and platoon inspection among their other duties. (Chapter XIV)
    81.* The record-keeping activities of the Police Department to be the responsibility of one person. (Chapters IV, IX)
    82. The principles of sound business procedure to be applied to the Police Department affairs. (Chapter XIV)
    83. The staff to be responsible for the development of written policy for the purpose of creating consistent and uniform methods of operation and procedure. (Chapters IV, XIII)
    84. The personnel program of the Police Department to be the responsibility of the Police Department staff, with the patrol lieutenant in charge of planning. (Chapter VIII)
    85. Salaries to be raised consistent with salaries in industry as rapidly as possible. (Chapter VIII)
    86. The work week to be reduced to forty-four hours just as soon as practicable. (Chapter VIII)
    87. A schedule to be developed permitting each officer to take at least one or possibly two holidays a year, and eventually a compensatory holiday plan to be developed for all legal holidays. (Chapter VIII)
    88. Regular departmental meetings to be held to discuss current problems and create an understanding for administrative action. (Chapter XIV)
    89. When salaries and working conditions have improved to a point where personnel selection becomes a reasonable possibility, the City should consider a civil service merit type of personnel system with the minimum standards such as those set forth in the chapter on personnel. (Chapter VIII)
    90. The municipal court to be completely separated from the Police Department, both in its physical location and the preparation of material preliminary to court proceedings. (Chapter XIV)
    91. The city administration to work out a disciplinary system with the Camp White authorities in an effort to reduce the high arrest frequency of intoxicated members. (Chapter II)
    92. A public relations program to be developed. The Police Department in Medford is particularly fortunate to have the complete cooperation of the local media of public information, such as the press, radio and service clubs. It is strongly urged that the Police Department make every effort to cooperate with the representatives of these groups and to continue the relationship which has proven so beneficial to the community and the Department alike. (Chapter XIV)
    93. The staff to enroll in a course in police administration similar to that given by the International City Managers Association. (Chapter XIV)
    94. The Chief and staff of the Medford Police Department to take the lead in developing a high level of law enforcement throughout the Valley by participation in cooperative law enforcement projects. (Chapter XIV)
    95. The Chief to be provided with office space of his own, outside of the operating quarters. (Chapter IV)
    96. The present police quarters to be completely modernized. Plans and cost estimates are presently being prepared by the City Architect. (Chapter XIII)
    97. Additional police equipment to be purchased. See Chapter XIII, entitled "Quarters and Equipment," for a complete list of equipment.
    98. The jail to be completely renovated. See Chapter XII, entitled "Jail Procedure," for detailed plans.
    99. A police library to be built. (Chapter VIII)
    100. A public pay phone to be located in the lobby outside of the Police Department for public use and the use of prisoners who wish to make toll calls. (Chapter X) [pages 25-35]
*Designates those recommendations which have already been acted upon as part of the survey.

Chapter IV
Organization of the Medford Police Department
    . . . There is much that can be said in compliment to the present organization of the department. It has achieved a certain amount of specialization and some assignment of responsibility, and at the same time has avoided the common error of becoming top-heavy with supervising and commanding officers.
    The reader should never lose sight of the fact that the Medford Police Department as an organization has a reputation for integrity. Its high standards can be directly attributed to the Chief of Police, who has held the office for the past twenty-five years. Too much cannot be said for the Chief and the senior officers of the department. [page 36]

Last revised June 26, 2016