One of the most treasured possessions of Juan Franco, retired city detective, is a faded picture of 12 men, El Paso's entire police force in 1897, that patrolled the town when it was Known as one of the "toughest" in the southwest.
With, scowls on their faces, their hair reached back in the style of the day, and most all of them wearing sweeping mustaches, the officers in the picture appear formidable enough to make any bad man hesitate.
Lon Lockhart was chief then. The others were: Capt. Tom Bendey, Manning Clements, George Herold, Carl Schmidt, John Denneston, Frank Winkler, Joe Rogers, Bob Roos, Pat Dwyer, George Cole and Franco.
El Paso was a town of many saloons, gambling halls, a licensed restricted district, an army of bad men and some 30,000 persons.
Killings and shooting scrapes were as frequent as automobile collisions are now, Franco says.
Pat Dwyer, who was known as a handy man with a pistol and not to be trifled with, is a member of the Texas legislature now.
Manning Clements, policeman and constable, was slain in the old Coney Island saloon in 1909. Joe Brown, Juarez bartender, was tried for the slaying and acquitted.
John Denneston, Franco recalled, killed Constable Sam Carr. "John was filling a pipe during an argument with Carr," Franco
"Carr fired a shot that cut off John's left finger and broke his pipe. John fired two shots, and one of them killed Carr.
"John always said he didn't mind Carr shooting off his thumb, but he | was angry because the bullet broke his favorite pipe."
Franco chuckled when he recalled an amusing, incident in Schmidt's history.
"A hotel proprietor complained that skunks in San Jacinto Plaza were annoying his guests with their odor," he related.
"Carl hid in the plaza one night to kill some of them. The city had about 500 rabbits in a big corral in the plaza.
"The night was dark, and Carl shot most of the rabbits before he discovered they were not skunks."