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Henry G. Pratt

Henry G. Pratt

Major and Superintendent (November 1931-October 1932)

Following the retirement of Superintendent Hesse, the Board of Police Commissioners appointed Assistant Superintendent Henry Pratt to the position of Major and Superintendent. Superintendent Pratt had risen through the ranks, joining the Police Department in 1896, and worked as patrolman in the Seventh Precinct.

He was a Virginia native and attended the Bethel Military Academy prior to becoming a police officer. He was later assigned to the Detective Bureau and attained the rank of Detective Sergeant, until the United States entered World War One and then Detective Sergeant Pratt was granted leave to attend officers training at Fort Myer. He was then transferred to Military Intelligence and then to the post of Port Intelligence Officer in New Port News, Virginia. He remained in the Military Intelligence service conducting investigations into graft and corruption in the District of Columbia until 1920, when he returned to the Metropolitan Police Department and was reinstated at his previous rank in the Detective Bureau.

In 1922, based largely on his previous aforementioned military and government experience he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent and placed in charge of one of the two Inspection Districts.

Superintendent Pratt began his tenure in 1929 as Chief as the country fell into the Great Depression.  The two recently added precincts were closed and consolidated with adjoining precincts and the Department’s horse mounted unit was disbanded.  Superintendent Pratt unfortunately became involved in a Police Trial Board where he accused a Captain of the Eight Precinct of insubordination. The publicized trial became an embarrassment when the Police Trial Board found the Captain to be innocent of the charge.

Although he served admirably, Major Pratt retired in 1931, at the urging of the Board of Police Commissioners who went on to select an even shorter lived Major and Superintendent.