Chief of Police Again Refuses to Open Up Strong Box.
Charges to Be Preferred Soon, It Is Expected.
Safe Double Locked By Selectmen
NORWOOD. Sept 29 Following* close on his return from vacation yesterday Chief of Police James W. Lavers was formally suspended by the Board of Selectmen this afternoon. The suspension is the result of recent charges of graft against the chief and his refusal to obey certain demands of the Selectmen, one of which was an order to open the safe In Police Headquarters where the Selectmen expect to find certain papers alleged to be incriminating.
Chairman James A. Hartshorn called on the chief at headquarters this afternoon and presented him with the following formal notice of his suspension, signed by the Selectmen:
“The chief of police of Norwood is suspended for 10 days, without loss of pay, on account of information contained In affidavits in the hands of the Selectmen.”
Later the Selectmen placed patrolman Walter A. Readel in charge during the chief’s suspension. Another lock was also added by the Selectmen to the safe in Police Headquarters which Chief Lavers had refused to open at a meeting with the Selectmen Sunday night.
Acting Chief Readel was then given orders that the doubly locked safe should not be opened and that he would be held responsible in case it was opened.
Chief Again Refuses to Open Safe.
The call of Chairman Hartshorn on Chief Lavers this afternoon was in consequence of an agreement made at a meeting between the chief and the Selectmen Sunday night, at which it was said the police safe would be opened at 3 o’clock this afternoon.
At this Sunday night meeting, Chief Lavers was asked either to give up his keys or to open the safe. He refused to do either and likewise refused to take an extra 10 days’ vacation, with pay, offered him by the Selectmen, during which the charges against him could be considered.
It was then agreed that the safe would be opened at 3 o’clock this afternoon In the presence of the Selectmen. Town Counsel James A. Halloran and J. J. McAnarney, counsel for Chief Lavers.
Only Chairman Hartshorn appeared at police headquarters at 3 o’clock, however, and in the absence of his counsel, Chief Lavers again refused to open the safe or give out the combination to It. He also refused to give up his keys to his desk and left the room.
He had been verbally notified Sunday night of his suspension, In the presence of attorney James A. Halloran and Gaston Boissonault, from a private detective agency, and all believed that he would open the safe this afternoon when the formal notice was given him. But the plan did not work out.
Expect Charges Will Be Preferred.
After placing patrolman Readel in charge of the department the Selectmen directed him to make a formal demand on Chief Lavers to open the safe. Acting Chief Readel was on duty at Police Headquarters this evening.
He stated that Chief Lavers had telephoned him that he would come down to the station and bring the keys, but up to a late hour the chief had not put in an appearance. Neither was the chief at home when a Globe man called.
At the Selectmen’s rooms this evening Chairman Hartshorn stated, in the presence of Selectmen Slattery and Conger, that they expected charges against the chief would be preferred in a few days, but declined to state who would prefer them.
In that case there will be a hearing before the Selectmen and it will probably be public. He also stated that he did not see how anything more could be done till the charges were preferred. He added that if Chief Lavers persists in his refusal to open the safe it will be opened anyway.
30 Sep 1913, Tue The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts)
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