Our Police Protectors
History of New York Police
Chapter 10, Part 4

By Holice and Debbie


 Thus, during the year, the jurisdiction of the Board of Metropolitan Police was potentially extended over the rural districts above named.

These proceedings, as is usual and natural in the beginning, met with considerable opposition from a portion of the population.

Other towns in the vicinity of the metropolis wee so infested with bad characters, and so depredated upon by robberies and thieving that they began to consider how to defend themselves and re-establish the quiet and safety which they had been accustomed to enjoy informer years.

On the fourteenth of April, 1866, the legislature passed "An Act to regulate the sale of intoxicating liquors within the Metropolitan Police District," being Chapter 578 of the Laws of that session. This Act, in effect, constituted "the Metropolitan Police District, excepting and excluding the county of Westchester," into an excise district, and provided that the Commissioners of the Board of Health be a Board of Excise for such district. By the law creating a metropolitan Sanitary District and a Board of Health therein, the Commissioners of Metropolitan Police were made members of the Board of Health, and were therefore members of the Board of Excise above referred to.

The Board of Excise, constituted in the manner above mentioned, organized in pursuance of the Act on the first day of May, and immediately entered upon their duties. The duty of investigating the character and antecedents of the applicants for licenses necessarily devolved upon the commissioners of Metropolitan. Police.

At the date of entering upon their duties, there were, in the cities of New York and Brooklyn, over nine thousand two hundred and fifty places where intoxicating liquors were publicly sold. Of this vast number, but seven hundred and fifty-four pretended to have licenses, leaving about eight thousand five hundred open and admitted violators of the law. The statutes of the State, as they had existed for many years, prohibited the ale of intoxicating liquors on the Sabbath.

Prior to the enactment of this law there had existed for a number of years a Board of Excise, charge with the power and duty of granting excise licenses.

Under the auspices of that board, in 1860, the revenue contributed to the treasury of New York City by license fees amounted to fifty-four thousand five hundred and eighty thousand dollars which was about equal to the proceeds of one thousand eight hundred and nineteen licenses at thirty dollars each, which was the maximum rate; while in 1864, the revenues had dwindled down to twelve thousand four hundred and fifty dollars, equal to the proceeds of four hundred and fifteen licenses, at the same rate. What was the actual number issued and rates charged in these years is not known to the Police Department.

The total number of licenses issued and delivered under the new law was five thousand six hundred and ninety-seven. Of this number, three thousand five hundred and ninety-six were of the first class, paying two hundred and fifty dollars each; two thousand and ninety-eight were of the second class, paying one hundred dollars each.

The total amount of revenue arising from license fees was one million, one hundred and eight thousand nine hundred and twenty-four dollars and ninety-eight cents, and was contributed as follows:

County of New York


County of Kings


County of queens


The old City Armory or Arsenal is situated at the junction of Elm and White streets, extending eighty-four feet on Elm Street, and thirty-one feet on White street. the style of the architecture is a kind of Gothic, with castellated towers.

The population of the city had greatly increased during the past five years, and its trade and wealth had increased in greater ratio than the population. The tendency of vicious classes to resort to the metropolis, not only from our own but from other counties, the increase of crimes of grave character, with other considerations, indicated the propriety of a moderate increase of the force in the city of New York.

Brooklyn, in this year (1866) had but three hundred and seven Patrolmen, which was less than one to one thousand two hundred of population; its territory requiring Police surveillance was equal to New York. This great extent of territory was divided into ten precincts, each of large extent. The extremes of the precinct were so remote from the respective station houses as to consume a large portion of the time of the Patrolmen in going to and returning from their tours of duty. The law, the commissioners contended, should be amended so as to allow the division of the territory of Brooklyn into a larger number of precincts, and that the welfare of the city demanded a considerable increase in the number of Patrolmen.


The location of station houses in New York City was:


--54 New Street


--49 Beekman Street


--160 Chambers Street


--9 Oak Street


--49 Leonard Street


--9 Franklin Street


--247 Madison Street


--126 Wooster Street


--94 Charles Street


--Essex Market


--Union Market


--One hundred and Twenty-sixth Street, near Third Ave.


--Attorney Street, corner of Delancey


--53 Spring Street


--221 Mercer Street


--156 West Twentieth Street


--75 First Avenue, corner Fifth Street


--163 East Twenty-second Street


--118 Fifty-ninth Street, between Second and Third Avenues


--352 West Thirty-fifth Street


--120 East Thirty-fifth Street


--545 and 547 West Forty-seventh Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues


--East Eighty-sixth Street, corner Fourth Avenue


--Police Steamboat, No. 1


--300 Mulberry Street


--City Hall


--99 Liberty Street


--550 Greenwich Street


--34 East Twenty-ninth Street


--Manhattanville, corner of Bloomingdale Road and Lawrence Street


--Broadway, near West Eighty-sixth Street (Bloomingdale)


--One Hundred and Fifty-second Street, corner Tenth Avenue (Carmansville)


--(Sub.) Tremont


--Central Park Arsenal

The laws creating the Board of Health, the Board of Excise, the registry and Election law, and the law for licensing boats, had greatly increased the labors, duties and responsibilities of the Police force, and especially of the officers of the force. These new and additional duties had been performed without neglecting any of the customary duties of the Police.

As early as the fifteenth of June, 1866, the work was begun of selecting two thousand one hundred person, who would be recognized by all good citizens as proper men in all respects to discharge the responsible duties of inspectors of registry and election, canvassers, and poll clerks; the Board taking care to divide the selections equally between the two political parties. Not a few prominent citizens who were duly notified of their selection, responded in terms like the following:

"I have neither time nor inclination for anything but attention to my own business."

Many gentlemen whom the board would have taken pleasure in appointing, excused themselves, and thus, the labor of making selections correspondingly increased.

The amount obtained by requisition on the comptroller for expenses of registry and elections was as follows:

For the general election and registry prior thereto


For the charter election and registry prior thereto




Of this sum nearly seventy thousand dollars was required to pay the inspectors, canvassers, poll clerks, and lessors of polling places, the compensation being fixed by ordinance. In the remaining expenditures a saving of nearly nine thousand dollars was effected, as shown by comparison with the report of the Department of Finance of 1865.



Our Police Protectors, History of the New York Police, Published for the benefit of the Police Pension Fund, by Augustine Costello, Published by Author, 1885.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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