Business as usual or meet the lone gunman(UA-66627984-1)

Elmo T. Cunningham.



Elmo T. Cunningham, Lt., Forgery Bureau in Larry Sneed’s No more Silence, gives a few good insights into Fritz’s M.O.: “There was always a problem between Will Fritz, captain of the Homicide and Robbery Bureau, and the chief of police ever since I was in the department. Fritz would usually make the announcements to the press as to where an investigation stood and whether or not he had a suspect in custody or one in mind. This was not information that usually went to the chief. Every morning, on workdays at 9:OO o’clock, the chief would hold a staff meeting during which the chief of detectives, patrol, vice, and different commanding officers would brief the chief on what was going on. Fritz sometimes let the chief of detectives know where he stood, but not in any detail. The chief would call Fritz about a case and he’d say, “Well, we’ve got a suspect,” or “We’ve got a man in custody,” or “We’ve filed him on the case,” that type of thing. But it was always brief. Most of the information they got I suspect came from the newspapers as to what Fritz was doing. Fritz was not a great man for writing reports or letters. He didn’t believe in writing, and his reports on the investigations were usually very brief. He would make up some of the case reports we filed with the district attorney which would contain a very minimum of information such as: “E.L. Cunningham can testify that he arrested the suspect and had him identified in the line-up,” or something of that nature. That was about the extent of it. So all the district attorney could do was to talk to me and find out what I could testify to; it wasn’t on the report.


Elmo T. Cunningham in Larry Sneed’s No More Silence.


“As a general rule, the chiefs left Fritz alone. In fact, I suspect that he liked Curry and got along better with him than any other chief that he served under because Curry left him alone. Before Hansson was made chief, there was a lot of support to make Will Fritz chief because a lot of people liked him. He had a lot of publicity because he had cleared some difficult cases and some big cases which had gotten nationwide publicity which no one thought would be cleared. But Fritz wasn’t an administrator. He was an outstanding investigator and a super interrogator, but he was not an administrator in any sense of the word. He told me that he didn’t particularly want to be chief, but he said, “Now these people that’s passed the word around that I turned it down are wrong. I wasn’t offered the job. If I’d been offered the job, I’d have probably taken it.” To my way of thinking, Fritz was absolutely, beyond any question of doubt, the greatest interrogator I’ve ever heard talk to a person. He was a thorough, good investigator, and a good man. He was also a hard man and an unforgiving man. There was a saying that, once you got on his list, you stayed there. But if he liked you, there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for you. If he liked an officer that was working for him, and he thought that that officer was doing the best that he could, there was no way that he would ever fail to stand behind him. Now if he thought the officer was not doing his best, he got rid of them, and he did it himself. He wouldn’t put the man down in front of or to anyone else, but he would handle it personally. I think a lot of the techniques he used in interrogation just came naturally, and some of them he developed himself. For instance, when he was talking to a man or woman, he never let his eyes stray away from their faces. He looked them right in the eye and right in the face the whole time he talked to them so that he noticed the least little quiver of a lip and raising or lowering of the eyelid and so on.”