Our Police Protectors
History of New York Police
Chapter 11, Part 2

By Holice and Debbie


The total number of arrest for nine years, from 1860 to 1868, both inclusive, is eight hundred and five thousand one hundred and forty-nine, being an average year of eighty-nine thousand four hundred and sixty-one.

This year, 1868, the station house and prison accommodations for the use of the force were considerably improved. In the Tenth precinct, the new station house and prison, Nos. 87 and 89 Eldridge Street, were completed and occupied.

In the Eighth, Twenty-first, and Thirty-second precincts, the buildings were completed and occupied. The station house in the Fifth Precinct, Nos. 19 and 21 Leonard Street, was in course of construction. A contract had been made to enlarge and repaid the station house and prison of the Third Precinct. The Seventh Precinct had been renovated and made comfortable and commodious. The twentieth Precinct Station House had contracted for the erection of a prison and lodgers' rooms in a separate building in the rear of the station house. A plot of ground 50 X 100 feet had been purchased on the south side of One Hundredth Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, for a station house and prison for the Thirty-first Precinct. The Nineteenth Precinct had undergone extensive and thorough repairs and improvements. The First Precinct Station House consisted of two warehouses situated on New Street. The premises were leased in 1865, on a ten years' lease, at a rental of three thousand dollars per annum.

The total time lost by sickness in the whole force for the year 1868, was twenty-six thousand sic hundred and sixty-one days. At which fifteen thousand four hundred and ninety-eight were paid, and eleven thousand one hundred and sixty-three unpaid, being one thousand six hundred and thirty-four days more then for the preceding year. the amount paid for lost sock time was fifty-one thousand and seventy-six dollars and thirty-five cents. The time lost by sickness during the year was equivalent to the loss of one year's time for seventy-three men. The number of deaths was thirty-three, in a force numbering two thousand six hundred and sixty-eight, which is inclusive of Brooklyn, Richmond County and Westchester County.

The aggregate force of the Metropolitan Police, for the year ending November 1, 1868, was two thousand one hundred and fifty-nine, inclusive of thirty-four Captains, one hundred and thirty-two Sergeants, and seventy-three Doormen. These were apportioned among thirty-two precincts, Court, Sanitary and Detective Squads, Special Detailed, and House of Detention.

By act of the Legislature, April 27, 1869, the term of each Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police was made to consist of eight years.

By Act of May 12, 1869, the Police commissioners of the Metropolitan Police were entitled to receive a salary of three thousand dollars in addition to their regular salary.

The Board of metropolitan Police was re-organized in 1869. Mr. Thomas C. Acton, after nine years of honorable service, resigned, and on the same day, April 29th, Mr. Henry Smith was duly elected in his place. At a meeting of the Commissioners, held on the nineteenth day of May, 1869, Joseph S. Bosworth was selected to act as President of the Board. Commissioner Brennan rendered his resignation as Treasurer which was accepted, take effect on the fifth day of June following: where up Henry Smith was selected to be Treasurer of Police, on and after the date of Mr. Brennan's resignation.

During this year (1869) the Third Precinct Station House was put in thorough repaid and enlarged: the Fifth Precinct was completed: a prison and lodging rooms had been added to the premises of the Twentieth Precinct Station House: new first-class buildings were erected for station houses and prisons for the Twenty-ninth Precinct (Nos. 137 and 139 West Thirtieth Street) and for the Thirty-first Precinct (West One Hundredth Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues). The new station houses of the Fifth, Twenty-ninth, and Thirty-first Precincts, in dimensions and arrangements, were a decided improvement upon those hitherto built. They were designed to meet the future as well as the present wants of the precincts, and were planned with a view to afford to the Police force comfortable quarters, special regard having been paid to sanitary conditions. In the Eleventh, Fourteenth, Twenty-third, and Twenty-eighth Precincts, the station house accommodations remained in the same condition as previously, notwithstanding the fact that better accommodations were much needed in those precincts. Objection was made to the rooms occupied as a station house by the force of the Eleventh Precinct, that they are situated over a public market. The station house of the Fourteenth was old and dilapidated and quite too small; the Twenty-third and Twenty-eighth were on leased premises. The lease of the former expired on the first of May, 1870, and the latter on the first of may, 1871. None of these station houses furnished sufficient or appropriate accommodations. They were poorly ventilated, imperfectly drained, badly arranged and insufficient for the business of the precincts. In the following precincts, the property occupied as station houses and prisons belonged to the city: The Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twentieth, Twenty-first, Twenty-second, Twenty-sixth, Twenty-seventh, Twenty-ninth, Thirty-first, and Thirty-second. In the following precincts, the station houses were leased: First, Twenty-third, Twenty-fifth, Twenty-eighth, and Thirtieth.

The Patrolmen numbers (in New York) two thousand, or one Patrolman to five hundred inhabitants; while in Brooklyn, the number of Patrolmen was three hundred and sixty-eight or about one Patrolman to one thousand inhabitants.

The length of open streets and piers in New York demanding patrol service was over for hundred and fifty miles, and in Brooklyn at least three hundred and fifty miles. In New York, the average length of night posts was sixty-three one hundredth of a mile, and day tours over a mile and a quarter; while in Brooklyn the average length of night posts was two and fifty-fourth one-hundredth miles, and day posts five and eight one-hundredth miles. In each city there were posts of even greater length. Owing to necessary concentration of the force in the more densely populated districts of both cities, where a turbulent population abounded, a portion of the night posts were of such extent that the Policeman's call could no be heard from the centre to the extremes of the posts; while in Brooklyn the Patrolmen were so far apart that they were not within supporting distance of each other.

It appears, by the report of the Board of Surgeons, that the amount of time lost by sickness and injuries in the whole force for the year was twenty-two thousand seven hundred and sixty-four days. Payment of salary was allowed for thirteen thousand one hundred and sixteen and three-quarter days; payment of salary was disallowed for none thousand seven hundred and forty-seven and one-quarter days, equal o twenty-two thousand seven hundred and sixty-four days. Though the number of the Police force was greater than in the preceding year, the amount of time lost by sickness was considerably less. In 1868, the sick time was 2.77 per cent of the whole time. In 1869, it was 2.3 per cent of the whole time. In 1868 the total amount paid for sick time was fifty-one thousand and seventy-six dollars and thirty-five cents. In 1869, the total amount was forty-three thousand one hundred and twenty-four dollars and forty-six cents. Difference in favor of 1869 seven thousand nine hundred and fifty-one dollars and eighty-nine cents. Nevertheless, this was a serious item in the public expenditure, and represented a sum ,pore then equal to the combined salary of thirty-five Patrolmen. The reduction in the proportion of sick time was attributed by the Board in some degree, by the members who were broken down in health being induced to resign and accept pensions. The improved sanitary conditions of the station houses, also it is believed, contributed to improve the health of the force

Besides the regular force, Patrolmen were assigned to do duty in special department or bureaus.

During the year ending October 31, 1869, the value of lost or stolen property delivered to owners at the several precincts, and by the Detective and Court Squads, was estimated and valued by the owners thereof at one million seven hundred and forty-three thousand seven hundred and six dollars and eighty-four cents. The value of like property delivered to owners, for the same period, from the Property Clerk's office was one million, two thousand one hundred and eighty-seven dollars and eighty-one cents. The total proceeds of unclaimed property, sold in pursuance of law, was three thousand two hundred and fifty-nine dollars and ninety cents; unclaimed cash, one thousand two hundred and sixty-six dollars and fifty-five cents; total value, two millions seven hundred and fifty thousand four hundred ands twenty-one dollars and ten cents; returned to owners, two millions seven hundred and forty-five thousand eight hundred and ninety-four dollars and sixty-four cents; total loss to owners, four thousand five hundred and twenty-six dollars and forty-five cents.

The Sanitary Company had examined during the year three thousand five hundred and three stationary steam boilers, and tested by hydrostatic pressure three thousand an thirty-five. During the year eight hundred and thirty-five person applied for certificates to authorize them to take charge of boilers or engines. Of that number, after examination, four hundred and forty-four were granted certificates, and three hundred and ninety-one denied, as not possessing the requisite degree of skill.

In nine years, from 1861 to 1869, inclusive, the number of poor and unfortunate persons who had applied for, and been furnished lodgings at the station houses had been eight hundred and eighty thousand one hundred and sixty-one, making an average of ninety-seven thousand seven hundred and ninety-six per year.

During the same space of time (1861 to 1969 inclusive), the aggregate number of lost children take charge of by the Police, and restored to parents or otherwise disposed of, was seventy-three thousand and eighty-one, to which may be added seven hundred and seventy-nine foundlings. The annual average for the nine years was eight thousand one hundred and twenty.

The total number of arrests from 1860 to 1869 inclusive, was eight hundred and ninety-eight thousand four hundred and eighty-nine. The average number per year was eighty-nine-thousand eight hundred and forty-eight. The largest number of arrests, one hundred and three thousand two hundred and sixty-nine, occurred in 1867. The smallest, sixty-nine thousand five hundred and seventy-one, in 1864. The difference between the highest and lowest number is thirty-three thousand six hundred and ninety-eight.

This is a noteworthy showing, for during 1864--that being the year of the smallest number of arrests, the year in which the armies of the Nation, in the field, were largest; and the largest number of arrests occurred in 1867, after the armies had been fully disbanded. Sine the last-named year the number of arrests had decreased.

The aggregate force of the Metropolitan Police District, on the first day of November, 1869, was: Captains, thirty-four; Sergeants: one hundred an thirty-one; Patrolmen, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-four; Doormen, Seventy-three. Total, two thousand two hundred and thirty-two. This is inclusive of the following: Court Squad, forty; Sanitary Squad, sixty-three; Detective Squad, twenty; Special Detailed, twenty-two; House of Detention, four. The number of precincts was thirty-two, their designation being by number. The number of men authorized by law was:

New York, two thousand; Brooklyn, three hundred and sixty-eight; Richmond County, twenty-six; Yonkers, fourteen; West Farms, eight. Total, two thousand four hundred and sixteen.

When the organization of the force was established with a Superintendent and four Inspectors, the number of Patrolmen was limited to one thousand six hundred men. Since then, from time to time, the force was increased more than fifty per cent, by adding eight hundred and sixteen Patrolmen, and a proportionate number of Captains, Sergeants, and Doormen.

The aggregate number of buildings found open and unoccupied, secured by the Police, for a series of nine years, from 1861 to 1869, both inclusive, was forty thousand six hundred and thirty-nine.

Number of arrest for the year ending October 31, 1867; males, seventy-six thousand five hundred and forty-nine; females, twenty-six thousand seven hundred and twenty. Total, one hundred and three thousand two hundred and sixty nine.

It has been asserted that the Metropolitan Police system was the best ever devised and produced more satisfactory results then any of its predecessors. This, after all, is not very great praise, as, properly speaking New York previously had had no Police force worthy of the name; all being lacking in that efficiency and esprit de corps which spring from discipline, organization and the soldierly instinct produced by the wearing of a uniform. The force, however, was being educated in the practical school of a Policeman, and the results were beginning to be felt and appreciated. In all the satisfactory characteristics named, the Metropolitan Police were undoubtedly superior to their predecessors. This, under the circumstances, was to be expected, as "progress" was the watchword, and Police reforms were being inaugurated with all the dispatch commensurate with sound judgment, ripened by experience.

The number of offences against the person for the year ending on October 31m 1867, was:












Assault & Battery




Assault, felonious




















Contempt of Court




Disorderly conduct




Escaped Prisoners












Intoxication & Disorderly conduct











Suspicious Persons






















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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