Our Police Protectors
History of New York Police
Chapter 12, Part 2

By Holice and Debbie

 

William Jameson joined the Crystal Palace Police in 1835 as Drill Inspector for two hundred men. The uniform consisted of a blue dress coat, black buttons, military collar. After the appointment of the first Police commissioner, Inspector Jameson was made Drill Master, and used to drill the men in the Old Arsenal in Elm Street. When the Police were withdrawn from the Crystal Palace, they were amalgamated with the regular Police, and Inspector Jameson detailed as First Drill Instructor to the Police Department. Mr. Jameson, although quite a young man, had seen active service in the Mexican War and Civil War. In 1868 he was transferred to the First Precinct, and when Inspector Leonard died, in February, 1870, he was made an Inspector, and was detailed to Police Headquarters. In April, 1972, after nineteen years honorable service, he was tried and dismissed from the department on a charge of being absent without leave for three hours from the office.

An Act in relation to the cleaning of streets (Chapter 677, May 14, 1872), charged the Board of Police with the duty of causing all streets, avenues, lanes, etc., to be cleaned. The Board was vested with full power to supervise the execution of the agreement for cleaning the streets in the city of New York, which agreement was entered into on June 9, 1865, between the Mayor, Aldermen and commonalty of the city of New York, of the first part, and John L. Brown, William H. Devoe and Shepherd F. Knapp, contractors, of the second part. Whenever said contract was canceled, the Board of Police were to forward and do the work of cleaning the streets. The Board was, furthermore, authorized to contract for the sale of street manure, dirt, sweepings, ashes, etc.; to appoint such officers, agents, and employees to clean the streets; after exercising such authority for thirty days the Board was required to make an estimate of the sum of money necessary to defray the expenses during the year 1872, and, on or before the first of

December, 1872, should make an estimate of the amount required for 1873 and subsequent years.

In 1872 the new building for a House of Detention of Witnesses was completed. In this year, there were in the House of Detention, detained as witnesses, two hundred and eighty-two persons, who were imprisoned an aggregate of fourth thousand six hundred and eighty-eight days, and, strange to say, there was no fixed period to their imprisonment, and no legal process of which they could avail themselves (being unable to secure bail) to hasten or fix a day when they might claim that personal liberty, which is supposed to be the constitutional right of every innocent person.

The following table shows the number of innocent persons imprisoned as witnesses in the House of Detention, since 1858 to 1872:

 

.

No.Persons

No.Days

Feb. 9, 1858 to Oct. 31, 1858

292

7,421

Nov. 1, 1858 to Oct. 31, 1859

419

10,662

Nov. 1, 1859 to Oct. 31, 1860

380

6,609

Nov. 1, 1860 to Oct. 31, 1861

471

8,634

Nov. 1, 1861 to Oct. 31, 1862

632

9,480

Nov. 1, 1862 to Oct. 31, 1863

269

4,035

Nov. 1, 1863 to Oct. 31, 1864

282

4,230

Nov. 1, 1864 to Oct. 31, 1865

229

3,3436

Nov. 1, 1865 to Oct. 31, 1866

410

6,150

Nov. 1, 1866 to Oct, 31, 1867

262

4,139

Nov. 1, 1867 to Oct. 31, 1868

264

3,852

Nov. 1, 1868 to Oct. 31, 1869

239

3,873

Nov. 1, 1869 to Oct. 31, 1870

100

1,347

Nov. 1, 1870 to Oct. 31, 1871

283

4,618

Nov. 1, 1871 to Oct. 31, 1872

282

4,688

Total

4,814

83,173

 

From this table it appears that the total number imprisoned was four thousand eight hundred and fourteen. The aggregate imprisonment was eighty-three thousand one hundred and seventy-three days; equaling an imprisonment of one person for a period of two hundred and twenty-seven years and three hundred and eighteen days. Of the two hundred and eighty-two persons thus imprisoned (April 5, 1871, to April 5, 1872), five were confined less than fifty and over ten days each; one hundred and sixty-seven were confined ten days and under.

There had occurred in the history of the House of Detention repeated instances of the imprisonment of innocent witnesses, while the accused person against whom they were held as witnesses were granted their liberty on bail. This, too, notwithstanding the Constitutional provision that "Witnesses shall not be unreasonably detained," and the further like provision that "No person * * * * shall be deprived of * * * liberty * * * without due process of law."

Against this oppressive system of arbitrary and unnecessary imprisonment of innocent persons, the Board protested, characterizing the system as "neither just nor necessary," and contending that it "aught to be immediately replaced by some process of law more in accord with the common ideas of humanity and justice."

The total of the rank and number of the force for the year are as follows: Roundsmen, one hundred and three; Patrolmen, assigned to patrol duty, one thousand six hundred and twenty; Patrolmen, assigned to special duty, two hundred and sixty-one; Doormen, seventy-four. Grand total, 2,232.

It appears that the number of arrests made by the force during the year for all causes was eighty-four thousand five hundred and fourteen. Males, sixty thousand one hundred and seventy-nine; females, twenty-four thousand three hundred and thirty-five; an excess over the number of arrest for the year last preceding of eighty thousand eight hundred and twenty-two.

Table of arrest for a series of year from 1859 to 1872:

 

.

Year

Total

No. Patrolmen

Average per Officer

New York

1860

65,809

1,414

46

.

1861

71,130

1,806

39

.

1862

82,072

1,783

46

.

1863

61,888

1,711

36

.

1864

54,751

1,805

30

.

1865

68,873

1,806

38

.

1866

75,630

1,789

42

.

1867

80,532

1,848

44

.

1868

78,451

1,921

41

.

1869

72,984

1,922

38

" from Nov. 1m 1868 to Apr. 5, 1870

 

27,218

1,996

14

.

1,871

75,692

2,075

36

.

1872

84,514

1,984

42

Totals

 

899,544

23,886

38

 

During the preceding year, with a total force numbering two thousand two hundred and thirty-two men, there occurred two thousand nine hundred and eighty-three cases of sickness and injury, which were treated by the Surgeons of the department. Four hundred and five of the above mentioned cases were caused by injuries, and four hundred and thirty were the result of intermittent fever, contracted from the opening and grading of so many new streets and boulevards in the upper precincts, while the reaming two thousand one hundred and forty-six resulted from general causes.

The time list to the department by the above named sickness and injury amounted to seventeen thousand six hundred and thirty-two days, being a decrease over the preceding year of five thousand and eighty-three and a half days.

The comparatively small number of casualties and cases of sickness resulting from the exposure of the force during the riot of July, 1871, is to be attributed to the efficient handling of the men by their officers, as well as to the superior discipline of the force under this command.

Table of lost children for a series of years, from 1860 to April 5, 1872:

 

.

Year

# Lost Children

Number Foundlings

New York City

1861

7,201

----

.

1862

9,800

----

.

1863

7,380

----

.

1864

7,204

48

.

1865

5,732

153

.

1866

5,912

149

.

1867

5,979

176

.

1868

5,970

162

.

1869

5,923

90

.

From Nov. 1, 1869 to April 5, 1870

1,570

25

.

1871

5,933

161

.

1872

5,082

37

Totals

 

73,461

1,004

Average Year

.

6,678

.

 

Next

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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