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Early Spokane lawman honored

Fri., May 12, 2006

His patrol car was a horse, his attire was regal and his organized groups of law enforcement officers were posses.

James Glispin was one of the Spokane area’s first law enforcement leaders. A special ceremony was held Thursday in Fairmount Memorial Park to dedicate a monument to the “esteemed lawman of the city of Spokane Falls and Spokane County.”

Glispin and his wife, Ella, arrived in the Spokane Falls area in 1883 after Glispin served as sheriff for three terms in Watonwan County, Minn.

Glispin’s posse in Minnesota killed one member of the Jesse James-Younger gang and captured Jim, Bob and Cole Younger, said Susan Walker, Spokane Police Department History Book Committee chairwoman.

“I’m thinking he came out here to get away from that Jesse James gang and relax,” said Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain John Thompson, who spoke at the dedication.

Glispin was elected city marshal of Spokane Falls on April 7, 1885, Walker said. He was appointed deputy U.S. marshal in January 1886, which then was the equivalent to police chief.

In April 1886, Glispin was elected police chief, Walker said. He was the second police chief for the area, but the first one who was elected.

Glispin became Spokane County sheriff on Nov. 4, 1887. He was the eighth sheriff for the county, and the seventh one who was elected.

Among his actions in Spokane County, Glispin was on the posse that captured the area’s first cop killers. Two men killed Officer Robert Rusk.

Glispin died in 1890. He was originally buried at Fairmount Memorial Park, where a modest tombstone marks his grave.

“There are so many people in our history that have been forgotten,” Walker said, referring to the dedication of the monument. “That’s why this is so important.”


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