Wednesday, April 03, 2024

How I met Jimmy Hoffa

Chicago, IL—It was late in 1967.  I was just nineteen years-old.  I lied about my age and was hired by the Cook County Sheriffs Police when the background investigator failed do the math for my birth year.  After training, I was assigned to the prisoner, transportation and fugitive warrants division.  Captain James “Packy” Walsh was the boss.  

For some reason on that day, I had no partner and was the odd man out.  I was sitting in the squad room wondering what I’m going to do that day. It was a general policy that prisoners were simply not transported by a single officer.  

Sergeant Conway approached me and said that they need me to transport a prisoner as a courtesy to the United States Marshall’s Office.  They had nobody available to transport a prisoner from the federal tier of the Cook county Jail to the Dirksen Federal building for a court appearance.  The Metropolitan Federal Correctional facility had not yet been built.  

I brought my Ford econoline prisoner van to the receiving room of the old County Jail.  There I left my weapon with a jail guard for safe keeping and entered the secure area.  My prisoner was sitting in a bull pen cell with other prisoners, they gave me a mittimus document and had me sign a receipt for the prisoner.  I was also given a wrapped baloney sandwich for my prisoner.  

The prisoner was none other than Teamsters President, Jimmy Hoffa!  They brought him out to me, and as was the custom and requirement then I handcuffed him with his hands in front.  We did not use leg irons.  I walked Hoffa outside and I retrieved my weapon.  I walked Hoffa to my van opened the door and locked him inside.  in those days, there were no seatbelts and he sat on a bench at the front of the van.  

Hoffa was a gentleman in every respect.  He was in a jovial mood and we talked as I drove him to the Dirksen Federal Building.   Hoffa was concerned about the time and was hoping we’d arrive before noon.  

When I arrived at the federal building, I drove down the ramp to the lock up area and I was greeted by a deputy federal Marshall .  I handed him the mittimus paper and I opened the door to let Hoffa out of the van.  Hoffa and deputy Marshall greeted each other with warm platitudes.  They knew each other from previous court appearances.  I handed him the mittimus and I took the handcuffs off Hoffa.

I learned that Hoffa had ordered a catered lunch for all the Deputy Marshalls!  I was invited to stay for lunch.  I picked a delightful tunafish sandwich from the assortment and ate with the Marshalls and Hoffa.  Afterwards, I left returning to my squad room with quite a memory.  

It was several months later when I was drafted into the army, Captain Walsh found out I was not 21 years old as required by the law .  Normally, they could’ve gotten me out of the draft, but since I was under age they had no choice, but to reduce me to a civilian working in the civil process division until I reported to the Army.  

After two years in the army upon discharge, in June of 1970 I was immediately returned to the sworn position.  They put me back in my old unit working with the same guys that were there when I left.  

Later, I joined the Chicago Police Department. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another great story from the always interesting and entertaining Officer Huebl! 👍👮🏻‍♂️