Traffic Unit: The Corner Men, Part 1

In 1921 the Cleveland Plain Dealer introduced to their readers the Cleveland Police Officers assigned the difficult task of directing vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the city each day.  They featured a photograph and brief personal information of 76 Officers who were referred to as “Corner Men,” working in the rain, snow and sunshine to keep people safe. 

The Cleveland Public Library Photograph Collection staff researched their archives and were able to locate 35 of the original photographs from this series.  We present a few of those Officers:

“The Plain Dealer, through the medium of the Picture Page, is going to introduce its readers to members of Cleveland’ traffic force.  The have real jobs.  Swinging the semaphore, of course, isn’t so hard.  But that is a small part of the job.  Answering questions is the task.  A semaphore sentinel has to be a human city directory.”

For more information on police semaphores, visit:

For more information on Cleveland Public Library’s photograph collection, visit:

John A. Orgel #522, Appointed 05/01/1918 and pensioned 08/15/1939. End of Watch 09/13/1956.

Patrolman Robert Andrew Kern, #560. Appointed 3/2/1912 and resigned 7/2/1923. End of Watch 02/20/1985.
Patrolman Walter J. Van Uum, #613. Appointed 4/5/1913 and resigned 1/16/1922. End of Watch 04/22/1970.

Patrolman Frank J. Finkes, #417. Appointed 7/12/1910 and pensioned 8/1/1956. End of Watch 06/04/1978.

Patrolman John J. Passicek, #483.
Appointed 9/7/1906 and pensioned 10/01/1931. End of Watch 10/31/1952.

Patrolman Joseph Janiak, #483.
Appointed 1/11/1911 and pensioned 4/1/1944. End of Watch 04/11/1949.

Patrolman Albert F. Cerny, #16.
Appointed 5/1/1918 and pensioned 1/1/1962. End of Watch 03/13/1965.
Patrolman August Dittman, #513.
Appointed 2/20/1907. End Of Watch 6/20/1924

Patrolman Joseph J. Jares, #582.
Appointed 3/2/1912 and pensioned as a Lieutenant 5/16/1938. End of Watch 03/01/1942.

Written by Cleveland Police Historical Society and Museum volunteer Commander Robert Cermak, Ret.

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