Our Police Protectors
History of New York Police
Chapter 14, Part 2

By Holice and Debbie


The Superintendent and each Captain within his precinct, shall possess powers of general Police supervision and inspection over all licensed or unlicensed pawnbrokers, venders, junk-shop keepers, junk boatmen, cartmen, dealers in second-hand merchandise, intelligence office keepers, and auctioneers, with the said city; and in the exercise of, and in furtherance of said supervision, may from time to time empower members of the Police force to fulfill such special duties in the aforesaid premises as may be from time to time ordained by the Board. The said Superintendent, and each Captain within his precinct, may, by authority in writing empower any member of the force, whenever such member shall be in search of property feloniously obtained, or in search of suspected offenders, or evidence to convict any person charged with crime, to examine the books of any pawnbroker, or his business premises, or the business premises of any licensed vender, or licensed junk-shop keeper, or dealer in second-hand merchandise or intelligence office keeper, or auctioneer, or boat of any junk boatmen. Any such member, when thereto authorized in writing by the said Superintendent, shall be authorized to examine property alleged to e pawned, pledged, deposited, lost or stolen, in whosesoever possession said property may be; but no such property shall be taken from the possessor thereof without due process or authority of law. Any willful interference with the said Superintendent or Captain, or with any member of the force, by any of the persons hereinbefore named in this section, whilst in official discharge of his duty, shall be punished as a misdemeanor.

The Superintendent and Captain and persons acting by their, or by either of their orders, if they deem it necessary, when in search of stolen property, and any person having in his possession a pawnbroker's ticket, shall, when accompanied by a Policeman, or by an order from the superintendent or Captain, be allowed to examine the property purported to be pawned by said ticket; but no property shall be removed from the possession of any pawnbroker without the process of law required by the existing laws of this State, or the laws and ordinances of the city regulating pawnbrokers. A refusal or neglect to comply in any respect with the provisions of this section, on the part of any pawnbroker, his clerk or clerks, shall be deemed a misdemeanor, and be punishable as such.

If any member of the force, or if any two or more householders shall report in writing under his or her signature, to the Superintendent, that there are good grounds (and stating the same) for believing any house, room or premises within the said city, o be kept or used as a common gaming house, common gaming room, or common gaming premises, for therein playing for wagers of money at any game or change, or to be kept or used for lewd and obscene purposes or amusements, or the deposit or ale of lottery tickets or lottery policies, it shall be lawful for the Superintendent to authorize, in writing, any member or members of the Police force to enter the same, who may forthwith arrest all persons there found offending against law, but none others; and seize all implements of gaming, or lottery tickets, or lottery policies, and convey any person so arrested before a Magistrate and bring the articles so seized to the office of the Property Clerk. It shall be the duty of the said Superintendent to cause such arrested persons to be rigorously prosecuted, and such articles seized to be destroyed, as the orders, rules, and regulations of the Board shall direct.

It shall be the duty of the Superintendent of Police to detail, on each day of election, at least two Policemen to each election poll. It shall be the duty of the Police force, or any member thereof, to prevent any booth, or box, or structure, for the distribution of tickets at any election, from being erected or maintained within one hundred and fifty feet of any polling place within the city, and to summarily remove any such booth, box or structure, or close and prevent the use thereof.

The annual salaries and compensation of the members of the force who become member of such force before May 29, 1880, shall be as follows: of the Superintendent, six thousand dollars; of the Inspectors, thirty-five hundred dollars each; of Police surgeons, twenty-two hundred and fifty dollars each; of the Captains, two thousand dollars each; and of the Sergeants, sixteen hundred dollars each; the pay of Patrolmen shall be at the yearly rate of twelve hundred dollars each; and that of Doorman at the rate of nine hundred dollars per year each. The salary attached to either of the following positions shall not exceed the sum here designate as the maximum salary of such position when held by any person appointed to the said Police force on or after May 29, 1880, to wit: For an Inspector, three thousand dollars; for a Captain, eighteen hundred dollars; for a Surgeon, fifteen hundred dollars; for a Sergeant, twelve hundred and fifty dollars. The members of the uniformed force of the Police Department, appointed to said force after May 29, 1880, on their appointment, become members of what shall be known as the third grade, at a salary of eight hundred dollars per year; after two years of service in such third grade, they shall, if their conduct and efficiency have been satisfactory, be advanced to what shall be known as the second grade, at a salary of nine hundred dollars per year; after two years service at such grade, they shall, on like conditions, be advanced to what shall be known as the first grade, at a salary of one thousand dollars per year. But no member of such uniformed force shall be so advanced, as aforesaid, except after examination by and approved of the Said Board of Police, of his record, efficiency and conduct. The salaries and pay aforesaid shall be paid monthly to each person entitled thereto, in modes to be prescribed by the rules and regulations, subject to such deductions each month from the salary or pay of members of the force, as the Treasurer shall make (and which deductions he is hereby authorized to retain) to satisfy fines imposed on any member of the force by way of discipline of punishment, as prescribed by the rules and regulations of the Board.

The Commissioners of Police may designate some person to take charge of all property alleged to be stolen or embezzled, and which maybe brought into the Police office, and all property taken from the person of a prisoner, and all property or money alleged or supposed to have been feloniously obtained, or which shall be taken into the custody of any member of the Police force, or criminal court in the city of New York, or which shall come into the custody of any Police Justice, or officer, shall be, by such member or Justice, or by order of said court, given into the custody of and kept by the Property Clerk of the Police. All such property and money shall be particularly registered by said property Clerk in a book kept for that purpose, which shall contain the name of the owner, if ascertained, the place where found, the name of person from whom taken, with the general circumstances, the date of its receipt, the name of the officer recovering the same, the names of all claimants thereto, and any final disposition of such property or money. The said Commissioners may prescribe regulations in regard to the duties of the Clark so designated, and require and take security for the faithful performance of the duties imposed by this section.

Whenever property or money shall be taken from persons arrested, and shall be alleged to have been feloniously obtained, or to be the proceeds of crime, and whenever so brought, with such claimant and the person arrested, be fore some Magistrate, for adjudication, and the Magistrate shall be then and there satisfied from evidence that the person arrested is innocent of the offense alleged, and that the property rightfully belongs to him, then said Magistrate may thereupon, in writing, order such property or money to be returned, and the property Clerk, if he have it, to deliver such property or money tot he accused person himself, and not to any attorney, agent, or clerk of said accused person.

If any claim to the owner of such property or money shall be made on oath before the Magistrate, by or in behalf of any other person than the person arrested, and the said accused person shall be held for trial or examination, such property or money shall remain in the custody of the Property Clerk until the discharge or conviction of the person accused.

All property or money taken on suspicion of having been feloniously obtained, or of being the proceeds of crime, and for which there is no other claimant than the peson from whom such property was taken, and all lost property coming into the possession of any member of the said Police force, and all property and money taken from pawnbrokers as the proceeds of crime, or by any such member from persons supposed to be insane, intoxicated, or otherwise incapable of taking care of themselves, shall be transmitted as soon as practicable to the Property Clerk, to be registered and advertising in the City Record for the benefit of all persons interested and for the information of the public, as to the amount and disposition of the property so taken into custody by the Police.

If [property stolen or embezzled be not claimed by the owner before the expiration of six months from the conviction of person for stealing or embezzling it, the officer having it in his custody must, on payment of the necessary expenses incurred in its preservation, deliver it to the Commissioners of Charities and Corrections, to be applied for the benefit of the poor of this city. All other property and money that shall remain in the custody of the Property Clerk for the period of six months without any lawful claimant thereto, after having been advertised in the City Record for the period of ten days, shall be sold at public auction in a suitable room to be designated for such purpose, and the proceeds of such sale shall be paid into the Police Life Insurance Fund.

If any person or money placed in the custody of the Property Clerk shall be desired as evidence in any Police or other criminal court, such property shall be delivered to any officer who shall present an order to that effect from such court. Such property, however, shall not be retained in said court, but shall be returned to such Property Clerk, to be disposed of according to the previous provisions of this chapter.

It shall be lawful for the Police commissioners, whenever they shall be notified in writing by the Metropolitan Association of Amateur Oarsmen that a regatta is to be given under its auspices on the Hudson River, opposite Washington Heights, New York City, to keep the course used for any such regatta free and clear of all boats and vessels of every description during the actual time of the regatta, which shall not exceed six hours in any one day; provided that there shall not be more then five regattas in any one year. 2. That the course selected for such regatta shall be above Seventy-second Street; and far enough up the river so as not to interfere with any line of ferry-boats ruining on their regular course, and trips. 3. That said regatta course shall not exceed in breadth more than one-fourth with width of the river from either shore, nor shall it exceed more than three miles in length.

The course selected for any such regatta shall be plainly marked out by buoys or boats, and anchored; such buoys or boats shall have a flag placed upon them so that they may be readily seen. No boats, vessel, or steamboat of any description shall be allowed on said regatta course during the actual time of any regatta, except by the consent of the officers in charge of such regatta. Any person rowing a rowboat, or pilot of a sailboat, sailing vessel or steamboat, willfully going upon such regatta course, and thereby interfering with the regatta, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable to a penalty of not less than one hundred dollars, or imprisonment in the County Jail for a time not to exceed three months, or to both penalty and imprisonment. The fine or penalty to go to the Police Fund. It shall be the duty of the Police commissioners to furnish a sufficient number of Police to keep said regatta course clear, and they shall have power to arrest any person or persons going upon such regatta course during the time of the regatta in violation of this or the preceding section.

Nothing in this or the preceding section contained shall apply to, or to be so constructed as to interfere in any way with sailing vessels actually engaged in commerce while proceeding on their course. The Board of Police, upon the requisition of the Board of Health, shall detail to the serve of the said Board of Health, for the purpose of the enforcement of the provisions of the acts relating to tenements and lodging houses, not exceeding thirty suitable officers and men of experience of at least five years' service in the Police force, provided that the Board of Health should pay monthly to the Board of Police a sum equal to the pay of all officers and men so detailed. These officers and men shall belong to the Sanitary Company of Police, and shall report to the President of the Board of Health. The board of Health may report back to the Board of Police, for punishment, any member of the said Company guilty of any breach of orders or discipline, or of neglecting his duty, and thereupon the Board of Police may detail another officer or man in his place, and the discipline of the said members of the Sanitary Company shall be in the jurisdiction of the Board of Police; but a t any time the Board of Health may object to the efficiency of any member of said Sanitary Company, and thereupon another officer or man may be detail in his place. The Board of Police shall have the power, and it shall be their duty, to fill all vacancies in the Police force of the city caused by the detailing of said officers and men upon the requisition of the Board of Health.

Upon the application of any person residing within the precinct, it shall be the duty of the Captain, or other officer at the desk, to register in a book kept open for that purpose, the name or address of any person desiring or needing medical attendance, with the name or address of the person making such application, and without delay to select and notify of such application one from the list of physicians who have registered in the paid precinct as thereby pledging themselves to respond to any call for medical attendance, and who have been certified by the Registrar of Vital Statistics of the Board of health as being in good and regular standing, and it shall be the duty of the Captain or other officer at the desk, in the absence of any expressed preference by the applicant, to select and notify from the list of physicians thus registered, the name of the physician residing nearest to the residence of the said patient in whose behalf application is made.

It shall be the duty of the Captain, Sergeants, or other office at the deck, in such Police precinct as before specified, upon registry of any application as described in the preceding section, immediately to detail an office who se duty it shall be to call upon such physician without delay, and to conduct him to the residence of the patient, also to verify by personal inspection or inquiry, the name and address of such patient as registered by his superior officer. Every officer thus detailed as messenger shall be furnished with a blank certificate, upon which the name and address of the physician responding to the call, the name and address of the patient attended, and the date and hour of the visit, shall be written by him after he has conducted the physician to the patient's residence and verified the genuineness of the application. Such certificate shall be signed by him and given to the physician, and shall specify upon its face therein named, is entitled to the sum of three dollars from the public funs upon presentation thereof to the proper officer, and endorsement thereof in writing with the name of the Captain of the precinct. But it shall be the duty of the physician making such visit to present such certificate to the patient or his or her agent, and to request payment of the said sum specified; and in case of such payment being made, said physician shall surrender such certificate to the person or persons making it, and it shall cease to be a claim upon the public treasury. In default of the immediate payment of the said fee specified in the said certificate, by the patient or his or her attendant, it shall be the duty of the Captain of the Police precinct in which the visit was made to endorse it with his name; and thus endorsed it shall be the duty of the Cashier of the Board of Health to pay at sight the fee aforesaid, and to enter the payment in a book provided for that purpose, and take up the certificate. And all certificate thus redeemed shall be valid debts to the amount therein named, against the patients therein named, or their guardians, which the said Board may order collected by due process of law, provided that no prosecution shall be instituted in cases where it is satisfactorily shown that the patient is without sufficient means for the payment thereof.

It shall be the duty of every physician thus called to the medical assistance of any person within the Police Precinct in which he is registered, to transmit to the Registrar of the Board of Health, within twenty-four hors after the call shall have been answered, a full and accurate statistical exhibit of the case; specifying therein the age and sex, and the employment, profession, or business of the patient, the nature of the disease, and the hours of the attack when practicable; the date, and the Police Precinct and Ward in which the case occurred; the same shall be signed with the full name and address of the physician rendering it, but the name and address of the patient shall always be omitted. And it shall be the duty of the Board of Health to provide all physicians thus registered for night medical service with appropriate blanks for the safe purpose on their application therefor.

Any Policeman who shall be detained as messenger according to the provisions hereinbefore specified, shall, in the absence of preference expressed in the application, call the physician nearest and most convenient to the patient's residence, or, in the absence of or refusal from any cause, of the latter, the physician next nearest, and so on, and there shall be no delay or wailing for such physician to return; and any member of the force neglecting to comply with this provision shall be subject to trial and fine, or dismissal from the service by the Board of Police in the same manner as for other offenses cognizable by the said body. And any physician thus registering who shall twice refuse or neglect, without reasonable excuse, to answer a call made according to the provisions of the three preceding sections, shall be subject to have his name erased from the list, upon proper evidence thereof submitted to an executive officer who shall be appointed by the Registrar of Vital Statistics of the Board of health, and shall be under his immediate supervision.

The Captain of the several Police precincts shall cause the names and addresses of such physicians as have been duly certified by the Registrar of Vital Statistics to be plainly and legally written or printed on a bulletin provided for that purpose, which bulletin shall be placed at a convenient place near the Captain's desk, and kept open tot the inspection of all persons within the precinct desiring to see the same. They may, if it in their judgment it shall be necessary to the public convenience, cause the bulletins of physicians here in specified to be posted in the hotels and district telegraph offices within their respective precincts, but any applicant applying at such hotels or telegraph offices , or desiring the service of any messenger other than a member of the Police force detailed for the purpose, shall employ such messenger at his own expense, and shall be liable for any expenses incurred in communicating with the Police Precinct.

The period during which the aforesaid physicians shall be held to be subject to call shall be between the hours of ten in the evening and seven in the morning, from October 1 to March 31, inclusive, and between the hours of eleven in the evening and six in the morning from April 1 to September 30, inclusive.

Next follows an exposition of the law in relation to the Police Pension Fund, which will be treated of in a separate chapter. The Act then continues to define the duties and powers of the Police Department, as follows:

Every owner of a steam boiler or boilers in use of the city of New York shall, annually, and at such convenient times and in such manner and such form as may by rules and regulations to be made therefor by the Board of Police be provided, report to the said Board of the location of such steam boiler or boilers, and thereupon, or as soon thereafter as practicable, the Sanitary Company, or such member or members thereof as may be competent for the duty herein described, and may be detailed for such duty by the Board of Police, shall proceed to inspect such steam boiler or boilers, and all apparatus and appliances connected therewith; but no person shall be detailed for such duty except he is a practical engineer; and the strength and security of each boiler shall be tested by hydrostatic pressure; and every boiler or boilers so tested shall have, under the control of such Sanitary Company, such attachments, apparatus, and appliances as may be necessary for the limitation of pressure-lock, and secured in like manner as may be from time to time adopted by the United States Inspectors of Steam Boilers, passed July 25, 1866, and they shall limit a pressure of steam to be applied to or upon such boiler, certifying each inspection and such limit of pressure to the owner of boiler inspected, and also to the engineer in charge of same; and no greater amount of steam or pressure than that certified in the case of any boiler shall be applied thereto. In limiting the amount of pressure, wherever the boiler under test will bear the same, the limit desired by the owner of boiler shall be the one certified, but all steam users, manufacturers, or corporations possessing the guaranteed certificates unrevoked in full life of any fire insurance company now incorporated or hereafter incorporated or of any company organized or thereafter organized, for the purpose of making guaranteed steam boiler inspections, and they shall have complied with the insurance laws of the State, having duly filed a statement with the Superintendent of Insurance or other authorized officer, of its condition, and duly paid license fees and taxes, shall be exempt from such inspections.

Any company referred to in the last preceding section which has complied therewith, shall, at least once in six months, and the file returns, under oath, with the Board of Police, of all inspections made by them of steam boilers and of all certificates issued by them; and those at the time of making said return either in full force unrevoked o canceled. Each and every company so authorized and making insurances and failing to make such returns as aforesaid, shall pay the penal sum of fifty dollars for each and every failure or neglect to make and file said returns, the same to be recovered by suit to be brought by the Board of Police.

The Board of Police shall preserve in proper form a correct record of all inspections of steam boilers made under its direction, and of the amount of steam or pressure allowed in each case, and in cases where any steam boiler or the apparatus or appliances connected therewith shall be deemed by the Board, after inspection, to be insecure or dangerous, the board shall prescribe such changes and alterations as may render such boilers, apparatus and appliances devoid of danger. And in the meantime and until such changes and alterations are made, and such appliances attached, such boiler, apparatus and appliances may be taken under the control of the Board of Police, and all persons prevented from using the same, and, in cases deemed necessary, the appliances, apparatus or attachments for the limitation of pressure, may be taken under the control of the said Board of Police.

Any person applying or causing to be applied, to any steam boiler, a higher pressure of steam than that limited for the same in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, and any person violating the provisions of the last preceding section, shall be guilty of misdemeanor. In case any owner of the last steam boiler in the said city shall fail or omit to have the same reported for inspection as provided by law, such boiler may be taken under control of the Board of Police, and all persons prevented from using the same until it can be satisfactorily tested as hereinbefore provided for, and the owner shall, in such case, be charged with the expense of so testing it.

The Board is hereby authorized, in addition to the Police Force now authorized by law, to appoint a number of persons, not exceeding two hundred, who may be designated by any company which may be operating a system or signaling by telegraph to a central office for Police assistance, to act as Special Patrolmen in connection with such telegraphic system. And the person so appointed shall in and about such service hall all the powers possessed by the members of the regular force, except as may be limited by and subject to the supervision and control of the Board of Police. No person shall be appointed as such Special Patrolman who does not possess the qualifications which may be required by the Board of Police for said special service, and the person so appointed shall be subject in case of emergency tot he duty as part of the regular Police Force. The Board of Police shall have power to revoke any such appointment or appointments, at any time, and every person so appointed shall wear a badge and uniform, to be furnished by such company and approved by the Board of Police. Such uniform shall be designated at the time of the first appointment under this section, and shall be the permanent uniform to be worn by the said Special Police. The pay of such Special Patrolmen and all expenses connected with their services, shall be wholly paid by such company or companies, and no expenses or liability shall at any time be incurred, or paid by the Board of Police for, or by reason of the services of the persons so as aforesaid appointed.

An Act was passed on April 21, 1884, amendatory of the Consolidation Act, the leading features of which are: The Treasurer to appoint a Deputy Treasurer; in case of absence or inability to perform his duties, the Treasurer to be responsible for the acts of the Deputy; the Board of Police to deduct and withhold pay for absence for any cause, absence without leave, sickness or other disability, etc., not to exceed one-half, except in cases of absence without leave. No leave of absence exceeding twenty days in any one year, to be granted, except that the member waived and released not less than one-half of salary. The salaries of members appointed on and after January 1, 1885, to be as follows: Superintendent, six thousand dollars; Inspectors, three thousand dollars; Surgeons, one thousand eight hundred dollars; Captain, two thousand dollars; Patrolmen, appointed on and after January 1, 1995, known as third grade, one thousand dollars; after one year's service in such grade, if conduct and efficiency have been satisfactory, such Patrolman to be advanced to the second grade, and receive an annual salary of one thousand one hundred dollars; after one year's service in the second grade, on like conditions, to be advanced to the first grade, at one thousand two hundred dollars.



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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