Abstract: Report of Commission to Examine Charges Against W. Walker Clarke, Chief of Police, Saint John, 1914

For the third time in less than a decade and a half, W. Walker Clarke was the subject of a commission of enquiry. Earlier commissions looking into Clarke's conduct were held in 1901 and 1903.

Though the commission was ostensibly to look into the conduct of the Chief of Police, Commissioner William Botsford Chandler was less concerned with Clarke personally than he was with the state of the Saint John Police Force. For instance, one area in which Chandler was particularly interested was the apparent lack of discipline on the force. He reported that was was not an uncommon practice among police officers to "loaf in Hotels" during the night. On some nights, five or six police officers could be found in the same hotel, according to his report.

The report went on to suggest that there was little if any instruction given by Clarke and other high ranking officers to those who served under them. Amazingly, Chandler reported that very few policemen "seemed to have any clear idea as to the laws by which [they] were governed or as to making arrests &c."

In the end, Clarke was judged to be inefficient in the discharge of his duties as Chief of Police. The report argued that his deficiency sprang from two sources: Clarke's age, which at the time of the commission was seventy-two, and his poor relationship with the Commissioner of Public Safety. In the pursuit of a Police Force with "stricter discipline and greater energy", Chandler recommended that Clarke retire, or if need be, be retired.


William Botsford Chandler

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