City of Bettendorf, Iowa

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The first Officers charged with upholding the law were Marshals (an appointed position), Constables (an elected position) and Sheriff's Deputies.

In 1928 Bettendorf was equipped with its first police communications system. The system was a series of red lights placed at five intersections on State street. If a police officer was needed, the lights would be activated and the officer would return to the station to determine the need.

The first "Active" Police Department for the City of Bettendorf was inaugurated in 1948 with an acting Chief of Police and three fulltime officers. One car was used for patrolling with a motorcycle for traffic duty during the daytime. There were two telephone operators from 5 P.M. until 8 A.M. each night. The City Clerk's office handled calls during the week day. The only contact with the car was through the Davenport Police Department Radio.

By 1958 the Department grew to an authorized strength of six officers with two cars, four telephone operators and their own radio transmitter.

By 1968 the Department had 16 fulltime officers, seven dispatchers and an identification technician. Below is a timeline of those who served as Marshal and Chiefs of Police.

Chief Phil Redington Since 1992
William Shell 1991-1992
Decker Phoehn 1986-1991
Keith Chandler 1981-1986
Steve Tometich 1949-1981
Ed Ludwig 1948-1949
Herman Giese 1928-1948
Elmer Clifton 1920-1928
John Boland 1919-1920

In the early 1900's Bettendorf was a very diverse community comprised of immigrants who migrated from Armenia, Germany, Mexico and many other countries. During that time a diverse community known as "Holy City" was located south of State Street and adjacent to the Mississippi River. The community was comprised mostly of tar paper shanties and wooden shacks. It is rumored that there were many stabbings, shootings and drunken brawls and that local law enforcement did little to intervene, basically allowing the community to "police its own".

The following is excerpts from an article that appeared in the July 27th, 1919 copy of the Times Democrat (Now known as the Quad City Times)

"BETTENDORF OFFICER SHOT DOWN"

"Gun play in the Holy City, Bettendorf's foreign settlement, snuffed out another life Saturday afternoon." Eva (Peoria) Cooper, 33, deputy constable, was shot and killed by Deputy Marshal Mike Azizian, 25. Constable W.C. Collins and Mike Ogospian were spectators. Town Marshal John Boland was less than a block from the scene of the crime. After the murder Azizian held Constable Collins at the point of his revolver, while he backed from the room. He surrendered to Marshal Boland.

The shooting occurred while Constable Collins and his deputy were searching Ogospian's rooming house on a John Doe Search Warrant. They had unearthed two jugs of whiskey when Azizian appeared in the doorway and fired. Cooper sprawled over one of the jugs with a bullet through his spine. Azizian fired again at Collins, missing, before backing from the room. Azizian is alleged to have owned part of the whisky.

He used a .32 caliber automatic revolver in the murder shooting steel jacketed bullets. He is now confined to the County jail. Saturday's murder has an interesting angle in that both men were regularly appointed officers of the law. It is no secret in Bettendorf that there is hard feeling between Marshal Boland and Constable Collins. That the murdered man should have been a deputy constable and the murderer a deputy marshal throws an unusual angle into the otherwise sordid tragedy. There is much rumor rife on the streets of the little town as to the real cause of the shooting. Constable Collins story is clear and concise:

I was handed a warrant sworn out before Justice of the Peace W.J. Sanders. The warrant was for a certain house in the Holy City, and was instructed to look for whisky which was believed to be concealed there.

I at once attempted to get in touch with sheriff Kuehl, but he was out on another case at the time. There was not time to lose and the first man I met was Peoria Cooper, I told him to accompany me and I deputized him. We went to the house in the Holy City which is a boarding house conducted by Mike Ogospian.

In the presence of County Attorney Henry H. Jebens, Sheriff Henry A. Kuehl and Constable W.C. Collins four hours after the murder, Mike Azizian made a complete confession, pleading self defense. The Armenian was even anxious to make a clean breast of the whole affair, reciting in detail his acquaintance with the murdered man and the events which led up to the fatal shooting.

After a brief personal history, Azizian took up the turn of the events which culminated in the murder. He said in part as follows: Cooper and I went to Rock Island at 11 P.M. on July 23 enroute to Peoria to get some whisky. We remained in Peoria until July 24 and after purchasing two jugs of whisky for $66.00 we returned to Bettendorf, arriving at 10 A.M. on July 25. Cooper handed the whisky to a man by the name of Agopoff living in the Holy City. Cooper then demanded $80.00 from me for hauling the whisky to Bettendorf. I told him that was too much. He told me if I didn't pay he would have me pinched. I was scared and I gave him $75.00. The next time I saw Cooper was on July 26 when Cooper in company with Constable W.C. Collins passed me in the road in Collins auto. The Armenian told in detail how he returned to his home only to discover Cooper and Constable Collins searching the room. When I saw Cooper put his hand on his hip pocket and I thought he would shoot me. Then I shot him. My reason for shooting was because Cooper said he would shoot me if I did not give him the $80.00 on the forenoon of July 26. Cooper told me he had a gun. I never saw a gun. Azizian is 25 years of age, married, father of two daughters. His wife and children are in Armenia He came to America on Dec. 25 1913, and has taken out his first naturalization papers. This article appeared in the July 27, 1919 Sunday Morning edition of the Times Democrat.

The Bettendorf Police Department has tasked its Honors Committee with assisting in the preservation of historical information on the Bettendorf Police Department.

Contact Us

Phil Redington,
Police Chief

1609 State St
Bettendorf, IA 52722
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  • Phone: (563) 344-4015
  • Fax: (563) 344-4133
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  • Office Hours:
    Dispatch: 24 Hours
    Records: 8am-4pm Monday-Friday

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