Josiah Flynt's "Notes of an Itinerant Policeman"

Josiah Flynt's "Notes of an Itinerant Policeman"

Author: 
Josiah Flynt

This book is a collection of vignettes of interactions with tramps and thieves during Flynt's stint as a railway patrolman. This work differs substantially from his others because he presents himself as an authority figure, instead of as a fellow outcast.

Book Excerpt: 
For a number of years it had been a wish of mine to have an experience as a police officer, to come in contact with tramps and criminals, as a representative of the law. Not that I bore these people any personal grudge, or desired to carry out any pet policy in dealing with them; but I had learned to know them pretty intimately as companions in lodginghouses and at camp-fires, and had observed them rather carefully as prisoners in jails, and I was anxious to supplement this knowledge of them with an inquiry in regard to the impression they make on the man whose business it is to keep an official watch over them while they are in the open. I desired also to learn more concerning the professional offender than it had been possible for me to find about him in tramp life. If one has the courage to go and live with professional criminals as one of them, he can become even more intimate with them than in a police force, but it is very difficult to associate with their class long and not be compelled to take an active part in their criminal enterprises, and my interest in them was not so great that I was prepared to do this. I merely wanted to know how strong they are as a class, in which sections of the country they are the most numerous, whether they have peculiar characteristics differentiating them in public thoroughfares from other types of outlaws, how they live, and what is the general attitude toward them of our police and prison authorities. Partial answers to these questions I had been able to get in Hoboland, but I was anxious to fill them out and get any new facts that would throw light on the general situation.
Year of Publication: 
Mon, 1900-01-01
Rights Information: 
L.C. Page and Company
City of Publication: 
Boston