Sgt. William F. Higgins

Fallen HeroSgt. William F. Higgins

On this day in Baltimore Police History 8 July 1915 we lost our brother Sgt. William F. Higgins. Sgt Higgins was an assistant to the Superintended at Baltimore Police Headquarters when he died from a heart attack while working. Born on 18 July, 1856; appointed as a patrolman on 18 March, 1885. Sgt. Higgins worked in the Baltimore Police Identification Bureau alongside Sgt. John Casey.

In 1904 Sgt. William F. Higgins was a big part of bringing the Fingerprint system to Baltimore. While his partner Sgt John Casey went to Chicago to learn the new system, Sgt. Higgins stayed back to maintain the work the two had already done to prefect the Bertillon System and prepare for the inclusion of the new Fingerprint Identification System. Having made the Bertillon system a smoother process with a better workflow it was only right that they would have split in preparation for the transition of adding Fingerprinting to their process.

On 26 November 1904, their efforts paid off when Sgt. Casey, Chief of the local Bureau of Identification officially printed a Mr. John Randles, Mr. Randles was being held on a theft charge and had an extensive criminal record when on that day he officially became the first person in the United States to become printed under this new system.

The initial thought was to use both systems side-by-side, but time, cost and accuracy had us dropping all parts of the Bertillon System but the portrait and profile pictures. Before long other agencies followed suit also cutting all but mug shots from their Bertillon System. To this day, fingerprints and mug shots are still the norm for arrests and identifying suspects.

Sgt. William F. Higgins was a big part of Baltimore Police History we thank him for his service and sacrifice and promise his memory will live on. May he continue to Rest In Peace.

More Details

End of Watch 8 July 1915
City, St. Police Headquarters
Panel Number N/A
Cause of Death Heart Attack
District Worked Headquarters

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