Commissioner Jay C. Newman
The first Commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety was retired FBI Agent Jay C. Newman. Newman joined the FBI in 1925 and had an extremely colorful career which spanned two and one half decades. Perhaps the most exciting action in which he participated took place the night of April 23, 1934, when he and other FBI Special Agents attempted to apprehend members of the notorious John Dillinger gang in their hideout at the “Little Bohemia Lodge” near Rhinelander, Wisconsin. The gang had taken over the lodge, mounted a machine gun on the roof, and had held the owners hostage for three days when the lawmen attacked.
Forced to retreat from their stronghold, the gangsters escaped on foot through the forest along the lakeside, the only route which had not been blocked. A short time later, Newman, a fellow agent, Carter Baum, and a deputy sheriff approached a man entering a commandeered automobile, some two miles from the lodge. Seeing the officers approaching, the man immediately opened fire, killing Baum, wounding the deputy and shooting Newman in the forehead. Although dazed by the grazing shot, Newman was able to return fire. The gunman was able to escape and was later identified as the infamous George “Baby Face” Nelson – one of the most dangerous criminals of that gangster era. For the remainder of his life, Newman bore the scar inflicted by “Baby Face” Nelson, which nearly took his life.
Special Agent Newman was promoted to Agent in Charge of the Denver office in 1934. While serving in this capacity, he received a telephone call from an unidentified man who requested him to come to a certain room in a local hotel, promising that the meeting would be worth his time. At the hotel, Newman found a known Chicago fugitive waiting for him. The fugitive stated that he wished to give himself up. He stated that gangster “Doc” Moran had once told him that should he ever decide to surrender, he would be smart to go to Newman who “would treat him fairly.” The fugitive, a male nurse who had assisted Moran in changing the fingerprints of members of the Karpis-Barker Gang, was taken into custody by Newman and returned to Chicago for prosecution.
For the next 18 years Newman served as Agent in Charge of offices at San Francisco, St. Louis, Detroit and Salt Lake City, where he retired in 1952 after 26 years of distinguished service with the FBI. Commissioner Newman oversaw the Department of Public Safety until his retirement in 1964. He also served as President of the Utah Peace Officers Association from 1955 to 1956.