Hampton Voters Asked to Curb Noted 'Singing Cop'

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Hampton Union, March 3, 1937

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

"Bill" Elliot, "The Singing Cop"
c. 1930s-40s

HAMPTON, March 3, 1937 -- Steps may, be taken by Hampton voters to prevent "Bill" Elliot, who has gained fame all over New England as the "singing cop of Hampton Beach," from using his police officer's uniform with badge, and insignia for commercial profit, according to an article inserted in the town warrant.

The radio singer's recent try at town politics brought to the fore the controversy over his appearance in full police uniform at out of town entertainments. Although the uniform itself is his own personal property, he is sharply criticized for wearing the police badge on his coat and the insignia on his hat as a means of carrying on his private business.

For a number of years "Bill" has served on the summer police force at the beach but in the winter months he devotes himself to his singing and original poems. Last Thursday he was defeated by Selectman Elroy G. Shaw in a four-sided contest for selectman at the Republican town caucus.

Selectman Shaw is also involved in the article that is aimed at Elliot. For two summers he has been employed as a full time police officer in addition to his duties as selectman and during the past winter he has substituted one night a week for Officer Percy Annis at the beach station. In regard to this situation the article states: "Be it resolved, that no selectman shall be appointed a police officer while serving as selectman and that the Hampton police uniform be respected and restricted from any use other than official duty,"

Limitation of the political activities of police officers is sought in another article in the warrant. The proposed resolution orders "the selectmen to forbid, under pain of dismissal, all police officers whether regular or special whose names appear on the town payroll to spend any portion of their time or use their automobiles or automobiles belonging to the town for the purpose of bringing voters other than members of their immediate families to the polls to vote for any candidate, for any office either local, county, state or national, or to vote for any other purpose."

Rising to his own defense, Chief Jerome F. Harkness insists that he has always used the sedan of one of the selectmen to bring voters to the polls and that he has taken his regular day-off on Tuesdays for this purpose. It is his contention that he has the same privilege as any other citizen to participate in political activities when off duty and not in uniform.


Hampton Union, March 21, 1939

HAMPTON, N. H. -- An article in the town warrant at today's town meeting, believed aimed at Bill Elliot, widely known as the "singing policeman ('Singing Cop') of Hampton Beach" and designed to prevent him from wearing his uniform and badge when filling singing engagements was voted indefinitely postponed. The portion of the article referring to this was: "Be it resolved; that the Hampton police uniform shall be respected and restricted from any use other than official duty."

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