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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago: Ex-Spokane police chief to take reins of the Emerald City

UPDATED: Mon., Dec. 11, 2017

 (Spokesman-Review archives)
(Spokesman-Review archives)

Joel F. Warren, formerly of Spokane, was named Seattle’s “Moses.”


That’s how the Spokane Daily Chronicle put it, in reporting that Warren was named Seattle’s new police chief.

“It will be his task to lead the state’s largest city out of the wilderness of vice, graft and crime where it has been wandering and floundering,” said the Chronicle.

The “huge, cool, nervy Spokane pioneer” was Spokane’s former police chief, and the Chronicle had nothing but over-the-top praise for him.

“Nearly 30 years ago, Spokane chose this handsome young man to be its first chief of police; in these 30 years no man boasts of having bluffed him, bribed him or rattled him,” said the Chronicle. “ … A man of steadfast nerves, always ready for a good joke or a gun fight on 10 seconds notice; the head of a detective agency; a deputy United States marshal in Alaska; a tireless trailer of ‘bad men’ … a friend of every old timer, man, woman or child in or around this city.”

Warren’s task would be to clean up Seattle, which had acquired such a bad reputation that the commanding officer of Camp Lewis (Fort Lewis) had declared Seattle off-limits to his soldiers.

From the war beat: Military recruitment in Spokane reached an all-time high, with 380 men enlisted in one day.

The throngs of recruits were so big that the door to the Navy recruiting station had to be locked for half-hour periods to keep out the crowds.

Washington Water Power had to operate special streetcars at half-hour intervals to transport the recruits to Fort George Wright.

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