100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Police Officer Accidentally Shot And Killed By Partner In Illinois

Peoria, Illinois was one of the earliest settlements in the state settled by French explorers in 1680. Lewis and Clark built Fort Clark there in 1813. Their first Police Chief was appointed in 1837. It is the largest city on the Illinois River. In 1912 the city has 87 police officers and the force is as up-to-date as they could be. Peoria installed the most sophisticated and complete signal and alarm system that had been installed in any city up to that time, the “Flash-lite Gamewell Police Signal and Alarms System” with an automatic gong and flashing bulls-eye signal lamp on each call box. From headquarters, the operator could summon the best officer for a call or message. The first motorized ambulance and patrol wagon which were manufactured in Peoria by Glide Manufacturing Company was introduced. The Henry System of Fingerprinting Identification replaced the Bertillon System.

Flash-lite Gamewell Police Call Box with light

On July 13, 1912 Sergeant James Skinner was shot and killed by Patrolman Harry Soper while the two were making an arrest. Skinner and Soper were arresting a man for shooting at his wife. As the officers were handcuffing the suspect a struggle ensued and Soper’s handgun discharged, striking Sergeant Skinner.

Sergeant Skinner was survived by his wife and children.

Sergeant James Skinner

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