Our Police Protectors
History of New York Police
Chapter 11, Part 1

By Holice and Debbie

 

Page 225

CHAPTER XI--1866--1870--AN ERA OF
ORGANIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT.

New Station Houses Erected and Old Ones Renovated -- Improvement in the Discipline and Efficiency of the Force -- Establishment of a Central Police Office in New York -- Death of John C. Bergen -- Appointment of a Metropolitan Fire Marshal and Assistant -- House of Detention for Witnesses -- Table of arrests for a Series of Years -- Time Lost by Sickness-Re-organization of the Board of Metropolitan Police -- Resignation of Commissioner Acton -- Average Length of Posts -- Amounts Paid for Sick Time -- Value of Lost or Stolen property Recovered -- The Sanitary Company -- Lost Children -- Buildings Found Open and Secured -- Tables of Arrests – Salaries -- location of Station Houses -- An Era of organization and Development -- "The Tweed Charter"-- Death of Superintendent Jourdan

The discipline and efficiency of the force had of recent years been fully maintained, and there was an obvious improvement in the character of the men who presented themselves as applicants for appointment.

An appropriations was made in the tax levy of the sum of ten thousand dollars, to rebuild in part and repair the station house and prison of the Sixth Precinct, which had become unsafe, dilapidated and unhealthy. The work was completed at a cost of about fifteen thousand dollars. There was in the hands of the Comptroller the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars, applicable to the purchase of premises, for a station house for the Tenth Precinct, but this sum had proved insufficient, an additional sum of twenty-five thousand dollars being required to accomplish the desired object. The apartment occupied by the force in this precinct was over the Essex market, and was unsuitable in every respect. The premises devoted to the force of the Eleventh Precinct were over the Union Market, and, like those of the Tenth, were unsuitable. No funds were appropriated for the building of new quarters in this precinct. Provision was made in the tax levy of 1866 and former years, to the amount of thirty-five thousand dollars, to procure a permanent station house for the Twenty-fifth Precinct. In the tax levy of 1865 there was an appropriation of forty thousand dollars to build a station house and prison for the Twenty-ninth Precinct. The place at first resigned for this station house was in a triangular plot of unoccupied public ground, bounded by the lines of Sixth Avenue, Broadway, and fort-second Street. The site named met with a great opposition from the owners of property on the adjoining streets. The lease of the premises occupied by the Thirtieth Precinct having expired, the lease of the building at the corner of Bloomingdale Road and Lawrence Street was secured for a term of five years at a rental of eight hundred dollars for the first year, and seven hundred dollars per year for the residue of the term. The house was fitted up and a prison built.

During this year 1867 one thousand one hundred and twelve candidates for appointment on the force presented themselves for medical examination; of which number five hundred and three were accepted as being sound of body and limb, and possessing robust constitution, and of which six hundred and nine were rejected.

The whole number of days lost by members of the force through sickness and injuries amounted to twenty-five thousand and twenty-seven days, this being five thousand eight hundred and thirty days less than the previous year.

The whole number of cases of sickness during the year amounted to two thousand nine hundred and seventy-one, which made the average time lost by each sick man eight days and a half.

Twenty-four members of the force died during the year. It is not a little remarkable that this is the precise number of deaths each year for three years in succession. This number make son death to one hundred and twenty-three cases of sickness. The death ratio for the year was less than ten in a thousand, less than one per cent--the precise rate being .9797. When the nature of the duties, and the necessary exposure consequent thereupon are taken into consideration, this low death rate is remarkable, and vindicates the rigid method pursued in the physical examination of candidates for appointment.

The act of April 25, 1867 (Chapter 806) established a central office in the city of New York, to be known as "the Central Department of the Metropolitan Police," and in Brooklyn to be known as "the office of Inspector of Metropolitan Police." The Board of Police were likewise authorized to supply any surplus moneys which might remain from the finds contributed by the county of New York to the Metropolitan Police fund, towards procuring such Central Department of Metropolitan Police in the city of New York, the same course being adopted in regards Brooklyn.

The quota of Policemen for the county of New York was placed at one thousand eight hundred, and such additional number as the Board of Police, from time to time, should determine, not, however, to exceed in the aggregate of two thousand men, such increase to be made by unanimous vote of the Board. The Board might procure and use and employ such rowboats and steamboats as should be deemed necessary and proper. In rural districts they might employ horses and equipments. The board had official supervision over theatres and other places of entertainment, keepers of boarding houses, pawnbrokers, junk dealer, vendors, hawkers and peddlers, keepers of intelligence offices, auctioneers, hackney coaches, cabs, public porters, etc. All license fees, all fines imposed as above, were paid into the sinking fund of the city of New York. The board was authorized to spend not more than one hundred thousand dollars out of excise moneys received during the year 1866, for rebuilding and repairing station houses.

The Board of Police was required to keep a book of record, wherein were registered the name, number and description of all boats and vessels for which licenses were issued. The license fee to attend shipping and carrying passengers was ten dollars, and for gathering junk ten dollars. In lieu of any fee hitherto paid to the municipal authorities for nay business not specified in the Act, a license fee of three dollars was imposed. The fee for boats to hire, oyster and fishing boats, pleasure boats or yachts, was one dollar each. The penalty for failing to comply with these regulations was, on conviction, one hundred dollars, or sic months imprisonment, or both.

JOHN G. BERGEN, one of the Commissioners of Metropolitan Police, died on the eighteenth of July, 1867. His death was a serious loss to his associates and tot he public service. The sentiments of his associates, in relation to his excellent character, and his worth as a public officer and citizen, are expressed in the proceedings of the Board, on the twentieth of July, 1867, on which occasion, on the report of commissioner Bosworth, a preamble and resolution were unanimously adopted, as follows:

Whereas, It has pleased Divine providence to remove from the scenes of this world, on the eighteenth of July, 1867, the Hon. John G. Bergen, who held, at the time of his death, the office of Police commissioner of the Metropolitan Police District of the State of New York, and as the surviving members of the Police board, his intimate official associates, desires to express their views of his virtues as a man, a citizen and public officer, as well as their grief for his loss; therefore, the make the following brief record, and adopt the following resolutions.

The deceased was born on the fourth of December, 1814, and has passed his life and died near the place of his birth. His parents were eminently worthy and respectable, and their virtues have been honored by the creditable and useful life of the deceased.

The deceased was an honest man, of sound judgment and practical, discriminating intelligence. He took an earnest interest in upright, economical and efficient management of public affairs. He kept these objects steadily in view in performing the duties of the various offices which he has been selected to fill, whether acting as Supervisor in his native county, or as one of its representative in the legislature of this State, or as a member of the Board of Education of the city of Brooklyn, or as a member of the Police Board, or of the Board of Health, or of the Excise Board of this district, his efforts were alike directed to just results, and to efficiency and economy in producing them.

For a little more than the last seven years of his life, he was a Police Commissioner; and during all that period was treasurer of the Police board except two years, when that office was worthily filled by the Hon. Wm. McMurray. Whatever his confidence in the able assistants who kept the Treasurer's books, he always had a vigilant oversight of the details of that office, and saw that everything was accurate.

The deceased was one of the three Commissioners by whom the building known as the "Central Department of metropolitan Police" was designed, erected and completed. Its adaptation to the wants of the department, its materials and workmanship, and its moderate cost to the public, render it a continuing proof of the value of the public service of the deceased, and of those then officially associated with him.

As a Police commissioners the deceased endeavored to continually elevate and increase the efficiency of the Police force. In appointing members of the force to office, it was his aim to reward merit, and to make this fact so apparent that it should operated at all times as an incentive to duty, upon all the members of the force.

In determining the punishment to be inflicted on Policemen who had violated the rules of the department, or had failed in some duty, he did not forget that they were men, and whenever satisfied that the error was an unintentional failure, he was lenient.

In his personal and official intercourse with the other members of the Board he was frank and free, but courteous in expressing his opinions. He gave to opposing views the consideration to which he thought them entitled. When, upon full reflection, and in light of all the information brought to bear upon any subject, he had formed clear convictions of what was right, he adhered to his convictions with unyielding tenacity. * * * *

His relations as a citizen and as a man were, in all respects, highly creditable, and he enjoyed and deserved the confidence of all classes and interests in the community.

Resolved, that in the death of Hon. John G. Bergen, this Board, the Police Department, and the public, have lost a valuable and efficient officer, and the experience and tried abilities of a capable and honest man.

Resolved, that in the various public offices which he has held, as well as in those he filled at the time of his death, he has displayed uniformly a high sense of justice and regard for what was right, and a conscientiousness and practical discretion in the performance of duty, well worthy of imitation, which endeared him to those who knew him intimately, and which will command the respect and homage of all who shall hereafter become familiar with his useful though unostentatious career.

Resolved, that the surviving members of this Board sympathize with the widow, children and relatives of the deceased in their great bereavement, and with them, appreciate the many virtues of the deceased which have contributed largely to the happiness of the family circle, and the memory of which will soften the anguish of mourning hearts.

Resolved, that this record and these resolutions be entered at length on the minutes of the Board, and that an engrossed copy signed by the surviving members, be transmitted by the President of the Board, to the widow and family of the deceased.

The vacancy caused by the death of John G. Bergen was filled by the legislature, February 12, 1868, by the election of Matthew T. Brennan. The Board then consisted of the following members:

Thomas C. Acton, Joseph S. Bosworth, Benjamin F. Manierre, and Matthew T. Brennan.

The Act of May 4, 1868, empowered the Board of Police to appoint a Metropolitan Fire Marshal and Assistant, to inquire into the causes of fire, to take testimony in such cases, and to report the same to the Board of Police. The Marshal or his Deputy could arrest persons of suspected arson, and compel witnesses to appear. It was a part of the duty of the Marshal to enter and examine buildings.

Table showing the number of persons detained in the House of Detention for Witnesses, for a series of years:

Years

No. Persons

No. Days

1863

269

4,035

1864

282

4,230

1865

229

3,435

1866

410

6,150

1867

262

4,139

1868

264

3,852

Total

1,716

25,841

Equal to seventy years, nine months, and twenty-one days.

 

Table of Arrests for a series of years in New York and Brooklyn:

 

Year

Total

Total

No. Patrolmen

Average Per Officer

New York

1860

65809

.

1414

.

Brooklyn

1860

15334

81143

198

50

New York

1861

71130

.

1806

.

Brooklyn

1861

16552

87682

199

44

New York

1862

82072

.

1783

.

Brooklyn

1862

82072

101469

213

51

New York

1863

61888

.

1711

.

Brooklyn

1863

15324

77212

207

40

New York

1864

54751

.

1805

.

Brooklyn

1864

14820

69571

227

34

New York

1865

68873

.

1806

.

Brooklyn

1865

19482

88355

303

42

New York

1866

75630

.

1789

.

Brooklyn

1866

21957

97587

309

40

New York

1867

80532

.

1848

.

Brooklyn

`867

21078

.

336

.

New York

1868

78451

.

1921

.

Brooklyn

1868

18700

.

368

.

 

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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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