KANSAS CITY MISSOURI POLICE DEPARTMENT
I had the pleasure of meeting several members of the Thompson Collectors association during the NRA convention held this year in Kansas City, Missouri. Since I live in a suburb of Kansas City, it was like being on vacation but never leaving home. Our group had a knockout display and as you all know we were given an award for "Best Educational Display". I don't know about the rest of the participants who manned the display, but I had the time of my life! Meeting Mr. and Mrs. Eickhoff and Mr. Payne was something I will treasure for the rest of my life. Having my picture taken with Mr. Eickhoff and Mr. Payne while holding their father's presentation guns was more than I had ever dreamed.
Having read everything I could get my hands on concerning the Thompson submachine gun, especially Tracie Hill's book, prepared me for my tour of duty when manning the display booth. I think I may have left the booth for a total of only about 30 to 40 minutes during the entire convention. This paid big dividends, as I met several people with stories to tell concerning Thompsons. I met people who owned them as well as veterans of WWII and Korea who had used them during their tour of duty while fighting to keep our country free.
Once such person I met was Police Officer Christopher Sicoli of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department. He shared with me the story of the Thompson submachine guns owned by the Kansas City Police Department when the Union Station massacre occurred in Kansas City. Officer Sicoli was a young looking man, but must be something of a history buff and a dedicated employee. The story he told was quite interesting and included many details that one would think only a retired veteran of 30 plus years of service would know. He said the history of the department was passed on through the ranks when hired on to the force. It was his opinion and belief, that all officers were expected to know the history of the Kansas City PD.
The Kansas City Missouri Police Department currently has three Thompson Submachine guns in their possession. All three guns were purchased by the Department in 1932. It is unknown if these guns were ever registered per requirements of the National Firearms Act of 1934. It is believed these are the only Thompsons the department ever owned.
These guns have an indirect connection with the Union Station Massacre in Kansas City.
Back in the 20's and 30's, Kansas City was run by Thomas J. Pendergast and known as a "safe town". Although Pendergast was not an "elected" official, be was the "boss" in Kansas City, Missouri. Criminals could come to Kansas City, pay their dues and respect to Pendergast and they would be left alone. For this reason, several of the more famous gangsters of the 20's and 30's visited Kansas City. Vern Miller was one such visitor.
In 1933, Kansas City Police Department had two "radio cars." These cars were touring type (now called convertibles) vehicles equipped with radios. It is assumed that the topless feature was chosen for better radio reception. During patrol duty, the Thompsons were normally kept in these cars. Approximately two weeks before the transfer of Frank Nash through Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, all three Thompsons were mysteriously missing from the radio cars and remained unaccountable. Approximately two weeks after the massacre at Union Station, the Thompsons once again magically reappeared in the possession of the Kansas City Police Department!
It is my understanding that these three Thompsons have not seen the light of day for some time. They have remained locked in the gun vault for as long as anyone can remember. Access to the Thompsons is severely limited and only to those individuals responsible for the armory. The serial numbers of the guns are 4346, 6564 and 6803 and all are Model 1927. 1 have visited with the Public Affairs officer for KCPD about inspecting the guns to further assess their condition and configuration. No luck to date.