Jacob Aldolphus Bryce (December 6, 1906 – May 12, 1974), also known as Delf A. ‘Jelly’ Bryce, was an Oklahoma City policeman and an FBI agent, active from 1928 to 1958. He was significant for being an exceptional marksman and fast draw, and for his dress sense.
In 1927 Bryce became a Oklahoma State game agent, but resigned, intending to pursue college. Following this and during a shooting competition at Shawnee, Oklahoma, Bryce’s marksmanship was noticed by an Oklahoma City Police Department night chief who suggested that he should join his police department, which he did in 1928 at age 22, the youngest detective in the department. On his second day with Oklahoma City police Auto Theft Bureau Bryce confronted a thief trying to hot-wire a car. He identified himself as a police officer, after which the suspect drew a pistol; Bryce then drew his and wounded the criminal. Later he rescued a fellow officer from a moving car who was fighting off three criminals; he jumped on the running board and shot two of the criminals. When confronted, one of the dying men said, “I can’t believe I was killed by a Jelly Bean like you.” A jelly bean was a slang term for a debonair dresser, and the nickname ‘Jelly’ stuck.
During his first year, while patrolling in a police car, he confronted two thieves attempting to break into furniture store premises. After Bryce demanded their surrender they both fired pistols; Bryce then drew and fired twice, killing both men. Also while with the Department he attempted to apprehend a wanted gangster who drew his gun and opened fire. Bryce drew his gun in reply and wounded the criminal, who managed to escape into a nearby theater where he later died.
On July 18, 1934, Bryce, with other officers, was searching for Harvey Pugh (a cop killer and criminal associate of Clyde Barrow), and his accomplices Ray O’Donnell and Tom Walton. Bryce’s information put them at the Wren Hotel, run by Merle Bolen. Led to a room by the female proprietor’s mother, Bryce found Walton, and O’Donnell in bed with Bolen. O’Donnell faced Bryce pointing a Colt 1911 in each hand. Bryce drew his gun and killed him. Following this incident, Bryce was recruited by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a Special Agent.
While in the FBI, he was assigned to different locations, including as Special Agent in Charge (SAC) at the El Paso field office in 1941, and SAC at Albuquerque, New Mexico, but spent most of his career in Oklahoma City, becoming Oklahoma City FBI agency head in 1956. He also demonstrated and taught his shooting methods at the FBI Academy. His life and policing style was featured in magazine articles: Life in 1945, and Look in 1946. Following his retirement, he filed as a Democrat for the Governor of Oklahoma, but he fought as an independent, failing to be elected. Afterwards he became a farmer near Mountain View and participated in shooting exhibitions.