In the passage of less than two years, a lot can happen—considering a new party had swept into office with the most recent election.
With the 1897 disposal of the “Reform Candidate,” Chauncey Oakley, the new (yet vaguely familiar) Fort Wayne mayor, Henry P. Scherer was now free to see that fellow Democrats were appropriately advanced in service.
Perhaps that was the incentive convincing police captain William Borgman to make a surprise announcement that he was resigning his post to, um, launch a new business venture.
The newspapers, however, made big to-do over the suddenness of his resignation. According to the Fort Wayne Sentinel,
The first intimation the members of the police force or the public had of the proposed action of Mr. Borgman was at 1:45 this morning when the patrolmen came to the station to go off duty. The captain told them that he had served his last day as their superior officer and admonished them to be as faithful in the performance of their duties in the future as they had been during his captaincy....
The Fort Wayne Morning Journal bluntly captioned the event, “Borgman Retires,” and noted the move “created a feeling of surprise” and surmised that the Captain “arrived at this decision hastily.”
Whatever the reason for Captain Borgman to relinquish his position—he was, after all, well respected by the line staff “who have warm feelings for Mr. Borgman, whose conduct towards them has always been of the kindest,” as the Journal put it—it was not a move made in isolation.
Like one great cascade of dominoes pieces, William Borgman’s move set in motion that cumbersome political machine which processes men’s futures. At the same time that Captain Borgman moved from his seven year tenure at the police department, his brother August gained a toe-hold in the department, by virtue of the vacancy created by the officer who was appointed to fill the slot of the sergeant who was promoted to replace the outgoing captain.