Political Convention Security Measures 1908

The Democratic National Convention, Denver 1908: Heightened Security in 1908 Equaled Sixteen Extra Officers (and Some Help from Tammany)

In Charlotte, NC, they are taking security for the 2012 convention very seriously, adding heavily to the police force and working closely with the Secret Service and the FBI.  A look back at security for 1908 is illuminating: The Denver Police hired sixteen additional officers to help out at the DNC in Denver that year. But perhaps they could do with less staff because because in 1908, it was not uncommon for men to take security issues into their own hands. The Denver Post (July 7, 1908) reported that the Tammany delegation, traveling by rail from New York to Denver, was angered by a pickpocket who lifted from one of their men a wallet containing $500 and train tickets. Once the theft was realized, an alert was sent out, and all passengers and crew on the train were searched. The wallet was recovered, and the owner received the return of his $500 and the train tickets as well as $8.35 in silver, a Waterbury watch, and the gold fillings in the thief’s teeth.

The train was passing through Ohio when the transgression occurred, so the Tammany fellows held on to the crook until the train had reached a point in the wilderness about eighty miles from anywhere and then they threw him into a river. The Denver Post reporter concludes: The next time that a pickpocket starts out to rob a delegation of prominent Democrats he will skip the men from Tammany Hall.

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