Local news

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane police patrolman R.F. Pelkey was hauled before the city’s Civil Service Commission after a photograph surfaced of Mrs. Lizzie Ortman, his lady friend, wearing Pelkey’s police uniform and hat.

At the hearing, Ortman testified that it was all her fault.

She claimed that she borrowed the uniform without Pelkey’s knowledge and had the picture taken as a joke because she thought it would amuse her brother. Pelkey also told the same story.

However, the “photo studio girl,” Miss Mary Masters, testified that they came to the studio together and that Pelkey gave her his uniform jacket and hat to wear while he waited in his shirt-sleeves.

The commission also did some investigating of its own.

They discovered that the studio books showed that Pelkey’s official police portrait was taken on the same day. In other words, Pelkey sat for his official portrait and then, on a lark, he handed his uniform jacket and shirt to Ortman for a novelty photo.

The commissioner of public safety was not amused.

“Police officers cannot use their regalia of office and stars for the entertainment of their women friends,” he said.

Then the commission fired Pelkey.



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