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Harry L. Gessford

Harry L. Gessford

Major and Superintendent (April 1920 - December 1921)

Harry L. Gessford, the second man taken from the ranks, was promoted to Major and Superintendent in April of 1920. He was a Washington native and a son of Lieutenant Jas. W. Gessford. Mr. Gessford started as a station keeper in 1881 and was then appointed to Private in 1892. He rose quickly through the ranks and by 1906 he was an Inspector.

Although he had served almost forty years with the police department, his tenure as Major and Superintendent was brief lasting only a little over a year until he retired. It was under his command that the Traffic Division was born. He retired from police work in 1921, as the nation was coming to grips with the fallout from the Volstead Act. This act prohibited the sale, possession and consumption of alcohol.