Mail Tribune 100, Feb. 27, 1919

    News from 100 years ago

    The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.

    Feb. 27, 1919


    Speed Cop McDonald is no longer riding on north bound passenger trains looking for smugglers of whiskey from California or professional bootleggers, or boarding trains at the Medford and Ashland depots with the same object in view.

    It is presumed that he ceased his train activities through the protest made by the Southern Pacific officials to the county authorities, in the interest of protecting its innocent passengers from annoyance. It is known that the Southern Pacific officials made a strenuous protest against McDonald’s activities on passenger trains as contrary to railroad rules, and that shortly thereafter McDonald was conspicuous by his absence from the depots and trains.

    Then too, M. J. Buckley, federal general manager of the Southern Pacific railroad, called attention to several instances of where men probably engaged in the bootlegging business and desiring to secure liquor from the baggage of passengers, whom they supposed might have liquor in their possession, boarded trains and made a search of baggage without proper authority. Where they secured liquor from parties who were bringing it in, the railroad company states that no complaints were received by them, but on the other hand, where baggage was searched without finding liquor, several of these cases have been reported to the railroad administration asking protection against such unauthorized action. These instances, of course, were filed away by officials of the company, and according to information received here, these officials have found it necessary, in order to accomplish two objects, first, that of suppressing as far as possible the illegal liquor traffic and, second, to protect passengers from the violation of their constitutional and personal rights — to issue the following orders signed by Mr. Buckley as general manager:

    1. The administration must suppress all illicit traffic in violation of the federal and state laws. Where sufficient information comes to your notice, advise the railroad special agents, state or federal authorities.

    2. Employees shall not permit a search of passengers or their baggage, without the party making the search (being) an official duly authorized to do so. Passengers on trains must not have their personal and constitutional rights violated without the procedure authorized by the law for searches (being) used.

    3. When an officer is duly authorized to search he will have in his possession and disclose to you a warrant authorizing the search, giving the name of the person and description of the place to be searched with reasonable accuracy. The name may be fictitious if the true name of the party be unknown, and the officer should then be guided by the description and the place to be searched, and a “John Doe” warrant authorizing the search should be given. If the officer sees the liquor and knows where it is he may make the arrest without a warrant.

    4. A search without authority renders a party liable to prosecution and damages.

    5. Railroad employees themselves shall not engage in the traffic under penalty of dismissal and prosecution under state and federal laws. All employees will lend their assistance to effect the above purpose.

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