Paula Mitchell

Paula Mitchell

POUGHKEEPSIE–By most calculations, the person responsible for wiping out a family of four in 1930 is dead.

The unknown assailant fatally stabbed dairy farmer James Husted Germond, his wife and two children at their home in Stanfordville on the day before Thankgiving.

A colleague curious why Germond hadn’t made milk deliveries the next day stopped by and discovered their bodies, according to the account from the Poughkeepsie Eagle.

The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office investigated and questioned several suspects, but no one was convicted for the Depression-era slaying.

Though the knife was recovered and a suspect charged, a lack of evidence doomed the case, which was dismissed against the prime suspect, a neighbor.

To this day, the slaying once called “Dutchess County’s most brutal crime,” remains unsolved.

“That highlights how law enforcement has changed from the 1930s up to today,” said Capt. John Watterson of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office.

“How crime scenes were handled and how an investigation was done were completely different. If we had the practices that we have available to us now back then, maybe they would have been caught.”

The Germond crime is just one of many that Sgt. Jonathan Hughes will look at during a Tuesday presentation on the 300th anniversary of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office.

The press event will take place at 10 a.m. at the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office training room at  150 North Hamilton St. in Poughkeepsie.

A tour of a museum inside the building will cap it off. Memorabilia like vintage helmets, batons and even a police training child-birth manual are among the items assembled in glass cases.

The agency, formed in 1717, is older than the birth of the nation, and that is a source of pride for Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson and his staff of about 450, including 120 sworn officers, noted Watterson.

“Sheriff Anderson has been here 47 years, and he’s a fantastic sheriff. He does a great job for our office and the community that he serves. He’s very proud of the members that work here and the job his members do, and it’s just a great feeling to be a part of an organization like this.”

Watterson said the sheriff’s office will mark its anniversary with special events throughout the year.

“The strides that law enforcement, in general, has made are great, and specifically back from when we started in 1717. Things were way different than they are today and the services that we provided were way different.”

Attitudes toward the men and women in blue also continue to evolve, Watterson said.

“It changes sometimes by decades, sometimes by year and sometimes by month. It’s just something that we’re used to. It’s unfortunate the way law enforcement and first responders are seen today. It is way different than even when I started and when some of my coworkers started years ago.

“We also feel that it’s getting better. It kind of ebbs and flows. That’s happened over time. We want to see it be a better relationship, and we strive for that and continue to do our job.”




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