My spy novel writing partner, Holmes, wrote a two-part guest post for historical mystery writer and blogger, K.B. Owen, today. I’m inviting you to drop by K.B.’s blog to discover the larger-than-life Oklahoma City policeman and FBI agent, Jelly Bryce. Hollywood can’t make up stuff like this.
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Jelly Bryce, image from gutterfighting.org
Supercop Jelly Bryce
In Hollywood movies and television, we often see crime genre episodes that present a policeman or policewoman who possess special instincts and the ability to shoot the bad guy before the bad guy shoots them. In real life, most police department employees never fire their weapons in anger, and few of them ever get the chance to solve an interesting, high profile case. But one law enforcement legend, Delf A. “Jelly” Bryce, was an exception to this rule, and had a career that read more like a movie script than a typical real life story.
Delf A. Bryce was born In Mountain View, Oklahoma in 1906. According to legend, his father would unload his pistol and let baby Bryce teethe on it. The story sounds like an exaggeration, but Bryce’s older sister claimed it was factual.
Bryce was known in law enforcement as a legendary quick draw whose first shot never missed. Shooting accurately takes some talent and a lot of practice. Shooting fast takes a little talent and a lot of practice. Being the fastest shot and being very accurate while being fast requires a lot of talent and tons of practice. Bryce had both the talent and the practice.
image from texashideout.tripod.com
Supercop Jelly Bryce, part two: the FBI and after
In 1934, at the Union Station in Kansas City, an FBI agent apparently accidentally killed four of his own agents while attempting to defend them against a sudden ambush with a borrowed shotgun. The agent had apparently never fired a shotgun before. Until then, FBI agents did not routinely carry firearms and had little or no training in their use unless they had learned to handle them from military service, as a personal hobby, or from service in another law enforcement agency. After the aforementioned infamous “Kansas City Massacre” the federal government finally realized that it was ridiculous to expect FBI agents to investigate criminal cases without the benefit of firearms training and decent weapons.
The controversial FBI Director, J Edgar Hoover, had done a good job of cleaning up the lethargic and corrupt FBI by hiring well-educated and talented young attorneys and accountants to raise the level of professionalism in the previously anemic FBI. Hoover realized that the bright and enthusiastic Ivy League agents needed help with “street skills.” The FBI went on a nationwide talent search for the best, experienced police detectives. Delf “Jelly” Bryce and Clarence Hurt were both hired as FBI agents.
You can chat with Holmes about this amazing man in the comments below, or over at K.B.’s blog.
All the best to all of you for a week of straight shooting.
Piper Bayard–The Pale Writer of the Apocalypse