Original Document
Original Document
Governor John Tener praises his "Cossacks," 1911.

Two members of the Pennsylvania state constabulary are worth a whole company of the finest militia in the United States," said Governor John K. Tener, of Pennsylvania, who arrived in Detroit from Harrisburg, Pa., with his wife, Thursday morning. They will stay until Saturday at the home of Mrs. Tener's mother, Mrs. Clarence E. Miller, 24 Webb avenue, where Governor Tener had his Thanksgiving dinner.

In praising the Pennsylvania state police, it's not because I come from that state, nor do I say that the militia is not an efficient, well-drilled body of military," Governor Tener went on. "From what I heard of the trouble in the Michigan copper country I believe that this state has an excellent militia. But militiamen never like strike duty: their motive in becoming militiamen is patriotic. Most of them are in industrial life themselves. They can hardly be expected to do police duty.

Many Were Soldiers

Our state constabulary is composed of more experienced men than our militia. Every member of the state police force is a picked man, and most of them have smelled powder where the smelling meant danger. Most of them are ex-soldiers, with at least one full period of service in the regular army behind them.

An incident which occurred at Erie, Pa., while the recent strike troubles were in progress, goes to show the kind of stuff in our state police. Things had been going quietly for weeks in the molders' strike-and then trouble started. That brought in some of the constabulary.

In a street near one of the mills a mob formed one evening and things looked bad. A body of state constabulary rode up on their horses and started to disperse the crowd. Most of the strikers and the sympathizers fell back before the mounted police.

Striker Wouldn't Move.

One huge striker stood alone. He refused to budge-evidently he had not heard about the constabulary. The officer in charge of the troops rode up to this man and ordered him to move. Still the striker stood his ground.

Then the state policemen began to crowd the stubborn fellow with his horse. The striker lifted a heavy shovel and brought it down on the policeman's head. Then he turned and fled, while the officer was still dazed by the blow. Several of the striker's friends hustled him into a small real estate office.

In a moment the state policeman rode up to the real estate office. He didn't even stop to dismount-he rode his big horse through the door.

He "Got His Man."

A moment later the state policeman reappeared, still mounted. Across the saddle in front of him lay the striker. You see, there's a code among the members of the state constabulary, just as it is with the Canadian Northwest mounted police-'get your man.'

Suppose there is trouble in one of the Pennsylvania coal mines, or perhaps some miner has committed a crime and fled into a mine, where he is apparently safe from the law under the protection of his comrades. Send a dozen members of the militia down into that mine. When they come back to the surface they'll be a badly beaten bunch, perhaps, but they'll come up without the man they went after.

Send just two members of the state constabulary down into that mine, determined to get the man they're after. Let them go any place in the mine and among any number of friends of the miner they're after-and not a finger will be lifted against them.

Methods Not "Gentle."

And when they get back to the surface they'll have with them the man they went after.

It's simply this-the state constabulary has a reputation for absolute fearlessness. They'll fight at the drop of the hat. Every man of them is physically perfect, and during strike troubles the man who is slow in obeying an order given by a state policeman will be struck down by the butt end of a revolver of a trooper's baton. Methods of the state constabulary are quick and sometimes harsh, but it's all according to law and has made the Pennsylvania state constabulary one of the most efficient bodies of police in the world. We pattern them after the constabulary in Ireland.

Each man is paid from $80 to $100 a month, according to rank and period of service. He lives at the expense of the state, and in times of quiet in Pennsylvania each man has a territory to patrol, with the result that every spot in Pennsylvania is well protected all the time. There is no such thing in Pennsylvania as a crime being investigated by a rural sheriff or a town constable.

Credit: "Tener, Here on Visit, Praises His 'Cossacks," (Newspaper article), 1911, Pennsylvania State Archives
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