The Camden Police Department purchased six Colt Model No. 27A in 1928. Gordon Herigstat had accounted for three of them, #4390, #5239, #5286, but not their original purchase dates.
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Chief of Police James E. Tatem arranged for the purchase of the Colts back in February. 1928 and a month later, Mayor Winfield Price fired Tatem and replaced him with Chief Stehr. The firing might have stemmed from the following newspaper account of this transaction.
Camden Courier-Post - February 4, 1928
POLICE INVITE BANDITS
TO NICE SHOOTING PARTY
But Yeggs Must Leave Gats at Home While Cops Practice
With Camden's new Desperado Eliminators
Wanted: Targets for Camden’s new desperado eliminators. Bandits, burglars, snipers and their ilk are requested by Chief of Police James E. Tatem to apply at police headquarters Monday morning at 10 o’clock, when a practice shooting party will be held.
Chief Tatem said today Camden’s bandit-chasing squad is “just rarin’ to go” with six new automatic rifles guaranteed to shoot full of holes the toughest bandit in less time than it takes to say “Aligoop.”
For the further enlightenment of the bandit fraternity, Chief Tatem announced detailed instructions on how to use the new carbines will be given this afternoon at 3 o’clock to bandit chasing police by Captain Arthur Colsey and Herman Engle, a representative of Stein Brothers, this city.
The rifles arrived at police headquarters yesterday afternoon. They will be distributed in each of the city’s three police districts in the campaign to rid the city of desperadoes.
The weapons can fire a magazine of 20 shots in a few seconds. They will be mounted in the three red bandit chasing coupes used by the district squad members. One of the coupes is now being used by Archie Reiss and Vernon Jones in South Camden, while two others are expected to be delivered within a few days, according to Chief of Police James E. Tatem. They will be assigned to Walter Smith and Joseph Carpani, First district detectives and Louis Schlam and Richard Donnelly in the East Camden district.
Swivel attachments make it possible to fire the guns from a fixed point in an automobile. Detached they may be fired from the shoulder. Besides firing a magazine of 20 shots without stopping, they can be adjusted to single fire, using .45 caliber cartridges.
Instruction in the adjustment and use of the weapons will be given today by a representative of the company that sold them- at $175 each— to the city.
Camden Courier Post February 6, 1928 photo showing the above mentioned "red bandit chasing coupes used by the district squad members."
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Board members currently own #5239 (as seen in Nelson's "The World's Submachine Guns with WWII grip) and #5286 (with property tag)
Colt 1927A 5239 Camden P.D. pic from 1963 World's SMG.JPG 122.16K 21 downloads
Camden P.D. Colt 1921A #5286 property number 320.jpg 121.29K 31 downloads
Owners have stated that they retain their original semi-auto only parts. This is relevant when considering press reports of the Camden police firing their "submachine guns" during shootouts including the well-publicized Howard Unruh "Walk Of Death" in September, 1949. Described in this newspaper account.
Camden P.D Howard-Unruh-Kelly-Hance.jpg 156.07K 27 downloads
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Same officer as seen in first picture on roof with Colt 1927A
LEO with Colt TSMG on roof Howard-Unruh-arrest-a.jpg 40.46K 15 downloads
"As neighbors milled about, more than 50 officers surrounded the two-story stucco building, and began blasting away at the apartment with machine guns, shotguns, and pistols, even though some in the crowd, estimated to be a thousand people, were in the line of fire."
And this Cleveland Plain Dealer August 25, 1931 account:
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While AOC might have figured there was a law enforcement and penitentiary market for the Thompson Semi-Automatic Carbine (presumably because some officials did not trust their people to handle submachine guns), the distinction was lost on the press. The more things change, the more they stay the same.