Chief James Malone

Chief James Malone

Chief from 1909 - 1911, 1914 - 1915, and 1916 - 1918

James Malone was a long-time figure of law enforcement in Lincoln.

Malone was born on December 15, 1858 to Robert and Mary Malone in Peoria, Illinois. In 1884 or 1885, he moved to Lincoln and worked as a hackman for Granville Ensign's baggage line. He later joined the police force for a year and then worked as a detective for the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad.

Malone was a detective in the Lincoln municipal police force at the time of the infamous John Sheedy murder case in 1891. Malone, along with two doctors and officers Kinney, Otto, and Adams arrived at Sheedy's residence Sunday evening, January 11, after hearing a revolver fired in the street. After Sheedy's death, Malone along with Chief of Police Samuel Melick arrested Monday McFarland for the crime. Malone was chiefly responsible for interrogating McFarland, for which his tactics were later questioned. He was accused of not only threatening to turn McFarland over to a lynch mob, but also of promising immunity if McFarland confessed to the murder.

Malone went on to achieve much prominence in Lincoln as the chief of police; at the time of his death, he was serving his third term as such. He also served many years as the chief special agent for the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad and assisted the Nebraska Bankers Association in their long-time battle against bank robbers. Malone developed new criminal foes in this position, the most noted being gang leader "Shorty" Gray who orchestrated bank robberies in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Around 1910, Malone arrested Gray and some of his gang on a small island near Grand Island, Nebraska after chasing them for nearly a week. In 1913, Gray escaped from prison killing four prison guards in the process. However, Malone tracked him down again leading Gray to commit suicide.

Malone first resided in Stover's boarding house but soon after moved into a room on the second floor of the building at 242 North Tenth Street, where he still lived at the time of Sheedy's murder. The police headquarters, where he most likely spent much of his time, were located at the corner of North Tenth and Q streets near his residence.

An outspoken and flamboyant man, James Malone was a fixture around the square, feared, criticized, and admired for his aggressive manner. He was police chief for three terms, a position he held until his death in 1918.

Chief James Malone