As a detective, I carried a snub-nosed revolver concealed in a shoulder holster or in my right rear pocket. You quickly learn to carry your change, keys and other things in your left front pocket, and your loose shells in your right-hand pocket. When you need to reload, you don’t have time to fish around and sort out the bullets from the change and car keys. If you are left-handed the process is reversed. My ‘hide-out” was a five shot .38 Sp. Revolver. Revolvers seldom have safety devices. The old western safety was to leave the top cylinder unloaded. That way if the pistol dropped to the ground it could not go off and shoot someone because there would be no cartridge under the hammer. I usually did that, but now and then you load up. Open carry has always been legal in Kentucky, except in a large city where breach of peace laws forbade. It was illegal to carry any firearm concealed and there were no permits to do so. All private detectives broke the law every day. The good news, was the police realized we needed to defend ourselves, and when we were questioned, they would verify our identification, shake hands and go on. Sometimes I was asked to produce my weapon for the officer. I was always sure to remove the cartridges and hand it with two fingers, butt first to the officer. Never hand a loaded weapon to anyone. They could use it on you. Eventually I was deputized by Sherriff Joe Green of Jefferson County, becoming a special deputy. We did little police work beyond directing traffic and martialing crowds, and even that was rare, but it allowed me to legally carry concealed without penalty. And, I could make arrests.
My first case was a child custody suit which involved a former police officer that had been sentenced to prison for several years over some malfeasance. He was released and dating a girl who lived in an apartment building where they thought she kept her technically, kidnapped baby hidden from the court awarded guardian. It was a job for the police, but due to court actions, a civil suit, and other complex issues, a detective agency was employed. The problem with her boyfriend was because he was used to the authority he held when a policeman, and because of that, was considered dangerous and a threat. I was to drive to her apartment building, check the parking lot and if his car was not there, go upstairs knock on her door, and ask for a certain name. The name I was to ask for was that of the previous renter, which would be an easily explained mistake and should not arouse suspicion. While there, I was to check and see if I could hear or catch sight of the baby. From then on, I was to park a certain place across a wide drainage ditch, and watch the door with binoculars logging times and descriptions of people going in and out. A husband and wife team would relieve me. The husband was a Jefferson County police officer. It didn’t take long before fireworks commenced.
(See how this case ends as soon after it begins next week)