Category: Public Safety

BIRNS, ALEX "SHONDOR" (21 Feb. 1905-29 Mar. 1975), a notorious criminal, was involved in rackets, PROSTITUTION, theft, assault, and murder from the days of Prohibition until his death. Born to Herman and Illon Birn, the family immigrated to Cleveland from Austria-Hungary in 1907.

BLACK, HILBERT NORMAN (3 Oct. 1929-25 Nov. 1981) earned a reputation as one of the top police reporters in the city's history during his 29-year career with the CLEVELAND PRESS. He was a native of St. Louis, Mo., the son of Robert and Mary Black. After service with the U.S. Army, he earned a journalism degree from Bowling Green State University in 1952.

The BLINKY MORGAN CASE, one of Cleveland's more notorious crimes, began on the night of 26 January 1887, when a well-known gang headed by "Blinky Morgan" (Charles Conklin) robbed downtown's Benedict and Ruedy store of a large quantity of valuable furs. Several weeks later one of the gang members, Harry McMunn, was captured in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania.

BLIZZARDS (snowstorms with constant winds over 35 mph) do not occur frequently in Cleveland, though heavy winter snowstorms are normal because of the proximity of Lake Erie and "lake effect" snows. In Cleveland, the worst blizzards listed in the National Weather Service records since 1871 occurred 9-11 Nov. 1913, 23-28 Nov. 1950, and 26-27 Jan. 1978.

CELEBREZZE, FRANK D. (May 12, 1899-August 21, 1953), assistant county prosecutor, parks director, safety director, and municipal court judge, was born in Cleveland, son of Rocco V. and Dorothy (Marcogiuseppe) Celebrezze (Cilibrizzi). The family returned to Italy in 1908 to find employment and Frank attended Italian schools. After they returned to Cleveland in 1912, Frank enrolled in Brownell School.

The CENTRAL VIADUCT STREETCAR ACCIDENT occurred on the dark, foggy night of 16 November 1895. CLEVELAND CITY RAILWAY CO. streetcar No.

CIVIL DEFENSE IN GREATER CLEVELAND can be divided into two distinct periods. It was first activated after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 to protect the local area from enemy air raids, although it was not probable that German or Japanese bombers would reach America's industrial heartland.

The CLEVELAND CLINIC DISASTER (also known as the CLINIC FIRE) occurred on 15 May 1929 and cost the lives of 123 people, but stimulated the development and enforcement of safety regulations in U.S. hospitals.

The CLEVELAND FIRE DEPARTMENT evolved from the village's first firefighting organization, the Live Oaks No. 1 volunteer fire association, organized in 1829. Its equipment, obtained in 1833, was a hand-operated fire engine—an improvement over the cisterns and buckets used prior to that time. The city's first regularly organized firefighting company followed in 1834, when the volunteer company Eagle No. 1 was established.

The CLEVELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT was formed in 1866 under the auspices of the Metropolitan Police Act enacted by the Ohio general assembly. Prior to 1866 police services had been provided by an elected city marshal assisted by a small number of constables and volunteer night watchmen.

The CLEVELAND POLICE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, INC., AND MUSEUM was founded in 1983 when a group of Cleveland police officers and interested citizens began meeting as a steering committee with the purpose of creating a police museum.

COACH, RICHARD J. (22 July 1866-4 July 1922) founded the R.J. Coach Detective Service Co., which was based in Cleveland for 23 years and had offices in 15 major cities in the U.S. Richard was born in Galveston, Texas, the son of Jacob and Charlotte Pole Coach both of whom had come to this country from Austria.

CRIME. Although crimes were committed in Cleveland almost immediately after the arrival of the first settlers, it is hard to find criminal acts documented in any of the social or intellectual histories of the city or the WESTERN RESERVE.

The CUYAHOGA RIVER FIRE (22 June 1969) dramatized the extent of the river's pollution and the ineffectiveness of the city's lagging pollution abatement program. The fire, which witnesses reported reached as high as 5 stories, began at 12 P.M. and lasted about 20 minutes before it was brought under control.

CZOLGOSZ, LEON F. (1873-29 Oct. 1901), the assassin of Pres. Wm. McKinley, was born in Detroit to Polish immigrants. The family settled in Cleveland in 1891.

DAY, WILLIAM L. (13 Aug. 1876-15 July 1936), lawyer, U.S. district attorney, and federal judge, was born in Canton to William R. and Mary E. (Schaeffer) Day. He attended Williston Academy in E. Hampton, Mass.,and received his LL.B. degree from the University of Michigan in 1900. He was then admitted to the Ohio bar and practiced law in the firm of Lynch, Day & Day in Canton.

DELANEY, JOHN (JACK) F. (3 Oct. 1913-4 Feb. 1990), Cleveland policeman (See CLEVELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT) for 41 years, Delaney organized the department's ports and harbor unit and wrote the city's first Water Traffic Code. He was born in Cleveland, the son of John and Gertrude (Dahm) Delaney and attended East Technical High School.

The EAST OHIO GAS CO. EXPLOSION AND FIRE took place on Friday, 20 Oct. 1944, when a tank containing liquid natural gas equivalent to 90 million cubic feet exploded, setting off the most disastrous fire in Cleveland's history. Homes and businesses were engulfed by a tidal wave of fire in more than 1 sq. mi. of Cleveland's east side, bounded by St. Clair Ave. NE, E. 55th St., E.

EXECUTIONS of convicted criminals sentenced to die were carried out at the local level in Ohio prior to 1885, when the state legislature moved all executions to the state penitentiary. Between 1812-85, 9 convicted murderers were executed by hanging in Cuyahoga County; the last execution occurred in 1879. The first execution in Cleveland was the only public hanging in the city.

FITCH, JABEZ W. (1823-5 April 1884), son of Gurdon and Hannah (Peck) Fitch, was a native Cleveland attorney who served as commandant of Camp Taylor in Cleveland during the CIVIL WAR. In 1852 Fitch served as Cleveland fire chief; he was appointed U.S. marshal in 1855 when the seat of the Northern District of the U.S. Federal Court was established in Cleveland.

FRAZEE, JOHN N. (3 Sept. 1829-21 Jan. 1917), a volunteer CIVIL WAR officer and law-enforcement official, was born in Wyantskill, N.Y., came to Cleveland in 1850, and took a job as a west side patrolman with the Cleveland police. Following a reorganization of the department, he was appointed acting superintendent of police on June 2, 1866 with the rank of captain.

The GLENVILLE SHOOTOUT (23-28 July 1968) was a violent episode that began the evening of 23 July as an action against CLEVELAND POLICE by an armed, purposeful black militant group, which resulted in casualties on both sides.

The GREATER CLEVELAND PEACE OFFICERS MEMORIAL SOCIETY was founded in 1985 to honor peace officers who have given their lives in the performance of service to their communities and the nation, especially those from the Greater Cleveland area. The GCPOMS was originally established as the Peace Officer Memorial Day Parade Comm. by two members of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Assn. following the death of a fellow officer in 1984.

The GREATER CLEVELAND POISON CONTROL CENTER, which was established in 1957, is the oldest such countywide facility in the U.S. The Center has provided a twenty-four-hour emergency telephone hotline for both health-care professionals and the public, and poison-prevention materials, exhibits, and education programs for community groups.