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Paul Richard Friedrich Köttig

Following a Law study in Leipzig, Köttig joined the Dresden police service in 1883 as trainee lawyer. Some years later, he became government councilor, a position he held until he was appointed Head of the Dresden police Criminal Department in 1894. In that function, supervised by police president Albin le Maistre, he made an important mark in the modernization of the Dresden police, including the development of scientific policing. From the start of his appointment, the Dresden police conducted experiments with the Parisian Bertillon methods for identification and registration which were introduced shortly after. Köttig envisioned a role for his department as Central Bureau for the German Empire, or at least for the southern states. Dresden was appointed the central anthropometric bureau for Saxony in 1896, and suggested to hold an empire-wide conference on the matter. The idea was taken over by Prussia, and the Berlin police presidium organized the conference to discuss the introduction of the Bertillon methods in the empire in June 1897. As an expert, Köttig was the natural representative for Dresden. Subsequently, he maintained contacts with Rotterdam, Vienna, and German authorities, and exchanged photographs and intelligence on border-crossing anarchists. In 1903, Köttig organized a special exhibition during the German Municipal Exhibition, held in Dresden. His exhibition focused, among other things, on illustrations of anthropometry, and he inquired contributions by various police forces of Europe. Most probably, the British delegates presented the methods of dactyloscopy, identification by finger prints. Before the end of the year, the methods were introduced in Dresden and the entire state of Saxony, as the first authority in the German Empire. Roscher (Hamburg) and Voormolen (Rotterdam), who attended the exhibition, were equally convinced by its value over the Bertillon system. Belgium and Austria gained interest as well. Under Köttig’s command, moreover, the Dresden recognition service turned into a model for other states. In 1904, Köttig was promoted police president of Dresden, a position he held until retirement in 1919. Since 2013, the Paul Koettig Prize for outstanding achievements in the field of criminalistics and forensic science is awarded by Saxony’s Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter.

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