A likable guy, he had connections with the Mafia, Purple Gang, and other underworld elements in the Detroit area. He was also associated with many military and political figures, both in Michigan and Washington. Harry was perfect for Ford and placed in charge of personnel. He developed a service department. It was staffed with a blend of mobsters, fighters, athletes and tough guys. The department was known as the police force of the company.
The department also handled Ford’s personal security needs and anything else that required the staff’s special skills. Harry got things done even without Ford having to ask.
The service department was brutal. It monitored employees at work, beat or eliminated those with union sympathies, and even broke into workers homes on Sunday to make sure they went to church.
Probably the most noted event with Harry’s service department was the 1937 Battle of the Overpass outside of Gate 4 at the Dearborn Rouge Plant. Walter Reuther and several union leaders were passing out leaflets to a large group of supporters. Harry’s thugs arrived and started beating Walter and the others, including the women.
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