Page 117 - 4090-BOOK2
P. 117

In 1911, he went on to become a special
officer in Harris County and then rejoined
the Rangers in 1915 to once again patrol
the southern Texas border from the Big
Bend to Brownsville. Based on Frank Jr.’s
assessment provided in his aforementioned
affidavit, his father carried his SAA early in
his law enforcement career that began with
the Texas Rangers and “finally wore this gun
out by use” around the time he became a
special officer with Harris County. Political
corruption, labor unrest, gambling and the
unintended consequences of prohibition
all converged to create the perfect storm
for a rise in violent crime in Texas at the
dawning of the 1920s, and Hamer was in
the middle of it. Texas Governor Pat Neff
recalled, “Texas was being swept by the
greatest crime wave in her history. Cold,
cruel, calculating crime was of the established industries of the State.” In 1920, for instance, Texas reported more lynchings than any other state (see Mike Cox’s “Time of the Rangers: Texas Rangers From 1900 to the Present,” page 106). Hamer did his part by assisting in bringing law and order to the oil boom towns of Mexia and Borger. In the late 1920s, Hammer exposed the heinous consequences of the $5,000 reward the Texas Bankers’ Association offered “for dead bank robbers—noy one cent for live ones.” The result was the killing of framed innocent individuals, so that their “capturers” could collect the reward money. Hamer’s relentless investigations and public exposure put an end to the practice.
Hammer retired in 1932 with nearly 27 years with the Rangers. In 1934, he was appointed special investigator for the Texas prison system in the hunt for notorious public enemy number one era gangster couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. The Texas prison system was
        involved in the chase because the gang broke into a state prison, freed a fellow gang member, and killed a prison officer. Following a three month search, Hamer’s posse ambushed Bonnie and Clyde on a rural road
near Gibsland, Louisiana. The Texas and Louisiana law enforcement officers showered the couple’s V-8 Ford with 150 rounds of bullets, resulting in a thunderous sound that caused locals to believe loggers had used dynamite to bring down a tree. The killing of Bonnie and Clyde made national headlines and instantly made Hamer
a celebrity of the gangland era. Hamer received a U.S. congressional special citation.

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