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A most efficient and trustworthy officer is Henry C. Baker, chief of police of Racine, who was called to his present position in 1907. He was born in Madison, Wisconsin, February 7, 1865, a son of Henry and Christina (Meyer) Baker, both of whom were natives of Germany. In the year 1847 they left the fatherland and came to the United States, establishing their home upon a farm near Madison, Wisconsin, where Mr. Baker carried on general agricultural pursuits until after the outbreak of the Civil war, when he put aside the work of the fields and other business and personal considerations to join the army as a member of the Seventeenth Wisconsin Infantry, with which he served for three years in defense of the Union cause. Both he and his wife have now passed away.
Henry C. Baker obtained a public school education and afterward learned the printer’s trade, working in the office of the Madison Democrat and of the State Journal at Madison. In May, 1897, he was made chief of police in the capital city. in which position he continued until January, 1907, when he was appointed deputy United States marshal. He served in that office for six months and then resigned to come to Racine as chief of police at the request of the police commission and of the mayor. A. J. Horlick. During his incumbency in this office he has reorganized the police department and instituted many modern improvements in equipment and in service. He has installed an automobile ambulance, an auto patrol wagon and a police alarm system and the force has been increased from twenty-one to thirty-five men. He demands the most thorough efficiency on the part of patrolmen and under his regime the amount of crime has been lessened and public safety promoted.
On the 26th of June, 1889, Mr. Baker was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Betts, of Madison, Wisconsin, a daughter of John and Katherine Betts. Her father was for many years in the employ of the state at Madison and he was also a Civil war veteran.
Mr. Baker has long been interested in military affairs and has served as adjutant of his regiment in the Wisconsin National Guard with the rank of captain. He has been very active and instrumental in securing the building of the new armory in Racine and at the time of the Spanish-American war he held the rank of first lieutenant in the First Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, which was attached to the Seventh Army Corps. He was the organizer of Battery C, Wisconsin National Guard, and was offered the captaincy, but declined because he did not have sufficient time to devote to that work. Mr. Baker is also prominent in the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and is a past exalted ruler of the lodge at Madison and also of the Racine lodge, and in both cities was chairman of the building committee when the Elks building was erected, and he has served as a delegate from both the Madison and Racine lodges to the grand lodge of the state. He is likewise connected with the Knights of Pythias, the Foresters, the Woodmen, the Royal Arcanum and the Eagles and he has membership in the Commercial Club, while his wife is a member of the Congregational church and in its work takes a very active and helpful interest. Mr. Baker is also connected with the International Association of Chiefs of Police and is a member and for five years was president of the Wisconsin Association of Chiefs of Police. In politics he has always maintained an independent attitude. He never allows partisanship or any other thing to interfere with the faithful performance of his duty and he has ever regarded a public office as a public trust.