I have two pre-teen memories of the Amsterdam Police Department that might have inspired the late great Norman Rockwell to bring his easel, canvas and paint set to this City to capture both. The first was of APD traffic officer Eddie Miller wearing his trademark white gloves, standing in the middle of the old Market and Main intersection conducting his elegantly styled traffic management magic.
The second was of today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant, Vince DeRose, riding his old three-wheel APD service motorcycle at the front of every parade and funeral possession that used to traverse the streets of our City.
DeRose, who was born on September 26, 1913, was appointed to the Rug City police force in August of 1946 after serving in the US Navy for two years on the crew of a minesweeper stationed in the Caribbean. His twin brother Joe joined the Amsterdam Fire Department two years later.
In addition to his well known role on that motorcycle, DeRose had a hand in breaking a famous counterfeiting case back in the summer of 1950. A young high school couple named Zoerbst had eloped from Massachusetts and began creating fake ten-dollar bills, which they spent all over the northeast and midwest. When the young and pregnant Mrs. Zoerbst showed up at the old Star Bakery on Amsterdam’s Market Street and paid for a thirty cent cookie purchase with a counterfeit ten, the bakery’s clerk, Mrs. John Pikul thought the bill looked funny and went to the front door and summoned officers DeRose and Duncan Fiebka from their nearby traffic posts to investigate. The young woman was brought to the Amsterdam police station, where about an hour later her husband showed up and eventually confessed his crime. A huge eventually took sympathy on the both of them and suspended their prison sentences.
Vince DeRose passed away in 2001.