Our Police Protectors
History of New York Police
Chapter 22, Part 1

By Holice and Debbie

 

Page 489

Chapter XXII
SKETCH OF THE POLICE PENSION FUND.

Created by Act of 1857--the Fund made up of the Sales of Unclaimed Property--Police Life and Health Insurance Fund--Beneficiaries of the Act--Metropolitan Reward Fund--Police Life Insurance Fund--The Police Commissioners, a Board of Trustees--The Treasurer of the Board of Commissioners--Treasurer of the Board of Trustees--Receipts and Disbursements--The Late Commission Nichols--Commission McClave--Bookkeeper George P. Gott--Paying Pensioners--Financial Statement of the Police Pension Fund.

The Metropolitan Police Act, 1857, provided of the establishment of a Life and Health Insurance fund, for the benefit of Policemen disabled by wounds, received in service, or, if killed, for the support of their families. The fund was made up of the sales of unclaimed stolen property, of rewards, and of voluntary contributions, and fines collected for violation of Sunday laws. The sums, in the latter part of 1858, received from these sources mounted to two thousand six hundred and twenty-three dollars and ten cents, a portion of which was invested in New York City bonds, bearing seven per cent, interest per annum.

There were then two pensioners on the fund, one, the widow of Thomas Sparks, Patrolman, who was killed by rioters on the third day of July, 1857, the other, the widow of Horatio Sanger, who died from wounds received while attempting to arrest disorderly persons in November, 1857. From the insufficiency of the fund in 1858, neither had received relief. When the revenue should become adequate, it was proposed to pay them each the interest, quarter-yearly, on two thousand dollars, at six per cent, per annum.

The Police Life and Health Insurance fund (chapter 569, Laws of 1857) provided that all rewards, fees, proceeds of gifts and emoluments that might be allowed by the board of Police, should be paid and given for account of extraordinary service o any member of the Police force, and all moneys arising from the sale of unclaimed goods should constitute a fund to be called the "Police Life and Health Insurance Fund." The persons who from time to time should fill the office of the Treasurer of the Board of Police, and that of the comptroller of the cities of New York and Brooklyn, were declared the trustees of said fund, and might invest the same as they should see fir, either in whole or in part. The following were entitled to the benefits of this fund:

Whenever any member of the Police force, in the actual performance of duty, should become bodily disabled, his necessary expenses, on the certificate

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of a Police Surgeon, stating the manner, cause and conditions of injury, and approved by the Board, during the time his disabling as aforesaid should continue, might become a charge upon the fund, provided for in the above-mentioned chapter.

If such injuries were likely to continue for life, the sum of one thousand dollars might be charged upon the said fund to be paid to the person so injured.

If any member of the Police force should be killed in the performance of his duty, or should die from the effects of any injury received by him whilst in such performance, and that there should be any person absolutely interested, pecuniarily, in the continuance of his life, a sum of two thousand dollars might be chargeable against the said fund, t be paid to the person so interested.

This act was amended April 10, 1860, substantially as follows, All fines imposed

the Board of Police upon members of the force, by way of discipline; and all moneys remaining fro the space of one year in the hands of the Property Clerk, or arising from the sale of unclaimed goods; and all proceeds of suits for penalties, should be deposited tot he credit of the Police's Life Insurance fund. The Board of Metropolitan Police, and the comptrollers of the cities of New York and Brooklyn, were declared the Trustees of the fund. Those whom the fund were designed to benefit, and the pensions they were entitled to, are as follows: (1) any member of the force who should, in the actual discharge of his duty, become permanently disabled, so as to render his dismissal from membership necessary, or if such member become superannuated after ten years of membership, the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars as an annuity was to be paid such member; (2) should a member be killed or die, from the immediate effects of any injury received by him whilst in the discharge of duty, should he leave a widow, or if no widow, any child, or children under the age of sixteen years, a like sum by way of annuity should become chargeable upon the said fund, to be paid to such widow so long as she remained unmarried, or to such child or children under the age of sixteen years. The Board, in its discretion, might at any time order such annuity to cease.

All property and money that should remain in the custody of the Property Clerk for the period of six months without any lawful claimant thereto, after having been three times advertised in public newspapers, should be sold at public auction, and the proceeds of such sale paid into the Police Life Insurance Fund.

An amended Act (April 25, 1864) made similar provisions regarding the sources from which the revenue should be derived. Moneys and unclaimed goods remaining in the possession of the Property Clerk one year (not six months, as above) and all proceeds of suits for penalties under this amended act, should be deposited and kept as a fund to be called the "Police Life Insurance Fund." The Treasurer of the Board of Police, and the comptroller of the cities of New York and Brooklyn were declared the Trustees of the said fund.

The claims having reference as to who should be the beneficiaries, and the amounts they should be entitled to by way of pensions, was the same as detailed in the last paragraph of the preceding Act.

An Act to enable the Board of Supervisors of the county of New York to

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raise money by tax for certain county purposes, and to provide the auditing and payment of unsettled claims against said county, passed the legislature April 25, 1867. This act authorized the Board of Police to offer rewards to induce all persons to give information which should lead to the detection, arrest, and conviction of persons guilty of homicide, arson, or receiving stolen goods knowing them to be stolen; and to pay such rewards to such person as should give such information. Such rewards should be paid from "The Metropolitan Reward Fund," which fund should be formed by investing from money deducted from the pay of members of the Metropolitan Police force, on account of lost time, at a rate not exceeding fifty cents per month for each member respectively; to which should be added all sums subscribed or contributed by insurance companies and other citizens. The Commissioners of the Police to be the Trustees of the said fund, and to invest and manage the same.

The Act also authorized the Board of Police, in their discretion, to pay our of the Police Life Insurance Fund: (1) an amount not exceeding three hundred dollars, to the members of the force who might be disabled while in the discharge of their duties. (2) In the case of death by injuries, the annuities should be continued to the widow, or children or both, as the Board might deem best. The Board was constituted Trustees of the fund.

An amendment tot he above chapter, passed May 2, 1868, declared that the revenue of the Pension Fund should be derived from the following sources: All fines imposed by the Board of Police upon members of the forces, by way of discipline, and collectable from pay or salary; and all rewards, fees, proceeds of gifts, and emoluments that might be paid and given for account of extraordinary services of any member of the Metropolitan Police force (except when allowed to be retained by such member); and all moneys remaining for the space of one year in the hands of the Property Clerk, or arising from the sale of unclaimed goods; and all proceeds of suits for penalties under the Act thereby amended, should be deposited and paid into the bank wherein the Treasurer of the Board should keep an account. The payments so made to constitute a fund to be called the "Police Life Insurance Fund." The Commissioners of Police were declared the Trustees of the said fund.

The beneficiaries of the Pension fund were in this, as in subsequent Acts, classified as follows:

1. Any member who should, whilst in the actual performance of duty become permanently disabled, physically or mentally, so as to be unfit for duty; or any such member who, after ten years' membership, should b e superannuated by age, or rendered incapable of performing Police duty by disease contracted without misconduct on his part.

Each were granted and paid a pension not exceeding three hundred dollars per annum.

If any member of the force, while in the actual discharge of duty, should be killed, or should die from the effects of any injury received by him in like manner, or should die after ten continuous years of service (such death not being caused by misconduct on his part), leaving a widow, the name of such widow might be placed on said pension roll, and a like pension paid to her from

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said fund, so long as she remained unmarried. If such member, dying as aforesaid, should leave any minor child or children, but no widow (or if a widow, then after her death), the name or names of such child or children under the age of eighteen years might be placed on the pension roll, and a pension from the said fund to such child or children; if more than one, to be divided equally between then, such pension or share of pensions to cease when the said child or the children respectively arrive at the age of eighteen years, or whenever earlier discontinued by order of the Board.

The charter of 1870 (April 5) re-organizing the local government of the city of New York, made some new provisions. After the Board had ascertained what portion of the Police Life Insurance Fund and Metropolitan Reward Fund, respectively, of the Metropolitan Police, belonged to, or should be set apart for, the Police of the city of New York, the amount so found was paid over to the chamberlain of the city of New York, as trustee, for the

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benefit of the Police of the city of New York, as contemplated in the creation of said funds. All fines imposed by the Police Board on the members, by way of discipline, all rewards, fees, proceeds of gifts and emoluments that might be paid and given for account of extraordinary services of any members of the force, and all moneys remaining fro the space of two years in the hands of the Property Clerk, or arising from the sales of unclaimed goods, and all proceeds of suits for penalties under this Act--payments so made should constitute a fund to be called the "Police Life Insurance Fund."

The city Chamberlain was made the trustee of the said fund, with power to invest the same, in whole or in part, as he should deem most advantageous for the objects of the fund.

All property and moneys remaining in the custody of the Property Clerk for the period of six months without any lawful claimant, after having been three times advertised in public newspapers, should be sold at public auction, and the proceeds paid into the Police Life Insurance Fund.

A subsequent Act, passed April 26 of the same year (1870), made further provisions for an addition to the sources of income of the Police Life Insurance Fund, namely; there should be taken monthly out of the moneys deducted from the pay of members of the force on account of lost time, a sum calculated at the rate of fifty cents per month for each member of the force, which suns should be paid to the City Chamberlain, and invested by him as part of the Police Life Insurance Fund. Such portion of the "Metropolitan Reward Fund" as should belong to, or be awarded to the city in the division thereof, should be paid over to the City Chamberlain, as trustee of the Police Life Insurance Fund, and become a part of the said last-named fund, and be invested as such. The Board of Police were empowered, in their discretion, by resolution to be adopted by a unanimous vote, to dismiss from office any Captain or Sergeant, and place the person so dismissed on the pension roll of said Police Life Insurance Fund, and allow him an annual retiring pension of (not exceeding in amount) one-half the annual salary or compensation of such office. In like manner, the Board might dismiss any Patrolman, and place him upon the pension roll, and allow him an annual retiring pension (not exceeding in amount) four hundred dollars per annum.

An Act concerning "The Police Life Insurance Fund," and the powers and duties of the Police Department, was passed March 17, 1871, by which the Commissioners of Police were constituted a Board of Trustees of "The Police Life Insurance Fund." They might organize as such Board by choosing one of their number to be Chairman, and appointing a Secretary. the Treasurer of the Board of Police should be the Treasurer of the Board of Trustees. Such Board of Trustees should have charge of, and administer said fund, and from time to time invest the same, or any part thereof, as they should deem most beneficial to said fund. The said Board of Trustees were constituted the legal successors of the City Chamberlain, and also of the Board of the Metropolitan Police.

The Police Life Insurance Fund consisted of:

First. The capital, income, interest, dividends, cash, deposits, securities and credits, then belonging to said fund, with the addition thereto from time to time of--

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Second. All fines imposed by the Board of Police upon members of the Police force; and

Third. All rewards, fees, gifts, testimonials and emoluments that might be presented, paid, or given to any member of the Police for account of Police service (except such as should be allowed by the board to be retained by said member); and

Fourth. All lost or stolen moneys remaining in the hands of the Property Clerk for the space of one year, subject to the usual conditions.

Fifth. One dollar per month for each member of the force, taken monthly by the Treasurer from moneys deducted from the pay of members on account of lost time.

The Board was given power, in its discretion, to grant pensions of not exceeding three hundred dollars per annum, to the persons mentioned, and in the manner previously described.

GEORGE P. GOTT was born in he city of Albany. Having received an academical education, at the age of eighteen years he was placed in a hardware store, where he remained until the spring of the year 1853. He then came to new York, and entered the hardware house of Edward Corning & Co., 81 John Street. After a short time he was placed in a confidential position, which he continued to occupy until 1858, when he resigned. In August, 1858, he received a notice to appear at Police Headquarters, then on the corner of Broome and Elm Streets, and was offered the position of Bookkeeper of the Metropolitan Police. After some hesitation, he consented to accept the situation, and was duly appointed by the Board, which office he still holds.

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The law was again changed on April 30, 1873, wherein by resolution adopted by a full board, any inspector, Captain, Sergeant, patrolman, or surgeon, if disabled in the actual performance of duty, could be retired from office on an annual pension not exceeding in amount of one-third their annual salary or compensation. But no such Inspector, Captain, Sergeant, patrolman, or surgeon should be so retired from office and placed on the pension roll except at his own request in writing, unless due notice was given him of the intention so to retire him; nor unless it should be certified to the Board by two of the Police surgeons that he was, in their opinions, permanently, mentally and physically incapacitated from duty; nor unless the Board should concur in such opinion; nor unless the nature and origin of such incapacity should be stated in the resolution so retiring him. The Board was empowered to forfeit or withhold pay for certain specified offenses fro members of the force, but no more then thirty days should be so forfeited for any offense. All such fines to be paid by the Treasurer of the Police Department to the account of the Police Life Insurance Fund. All property and money remaining in the hands of the Property Clerk for six months without any lawful claimant, after having been advertised for ten days should be sold at public auction, and the proceeds paid into the Police Life Insurance Fund.

A supplementary Act tot he above was passed June 13, 1873. It empowered the Police Board to grant a pension to any widow of any deceased member of the Metropolitan Police force, from the time of his death, if any such member was, at the time of his death, assigned to duty in the city of New York, and his widow at the time entitled to receive a pension, provided that no such pension should be have previously granted.

The Legislature, on June 4, 1878, framed an Act to create a Police pension Fund for disabled and retired Policemen in the city of New York, which, summarized, is as follows:

 

WIDOW

$300

To terminate when remarried or at discretion of the Board

Of member of force killed in performance of duty, or shall have died from effects of injuries received whilst in the actual discharge of such duty, or died after ten years' service, provided such death shall not have been caused by misconduct on his part.

CHILD OR CHILDREN

Under 18 years, not exceeding $300. To terminate at 18 years of age, or at discretion of the Board.

Of member of Force killed or dying as aforesaid, but leaving no widow, or if a widow, then after he death to such child or children yet under eighteen years of age.

POLICEMAN

Not to exceed one-half nor less then one-quarter rate of compensation. To terminate at discretion of the Board.

While in performance of police duty, and by reason of same, and without fault or misconduct, become permanently disabled, physically or mentally, so as to be unfitted to perform full police duty.

POLICEMAN

$300

To terminate at discretion of the Board

After ten years' membership, superannuated by age, or rendered incapable of performing full police duty by reason of disability, contracted without misconduct on his part.

POLICEMAN

$400

To terminate at the discretion of the Board

After fifteen years' membership, superannuated by age, or rendered incapable of performing full police duty by reason of disability or disease, contracted without misconduct on his part.

POLICEMAN

Not to exceed one-half, or less than one-quarter full pay, and not to exceed $1,000 for natural live and not to be revoked, repealed, or diminished.

After twenty years' or upwards, upon his own application, or upon certificate of Board of Surgeons as to permanent disability, so as to b e unfit for police duty, may be retired by the unanimous vote of the full board.

 

NOTE.

In case any officer shall have voluntarily left the Police Department and entered into the United States service and served during the war of the Rebellion, and received an honorable discharge, and afterwards shall have been reinstated in the Police Department, the time of his service in the army shall be considered as a portion of his service to the Police Department.

In determining the time of service of any member of the Force, continuities service in the late Metropolitan Force, and subsequently in the Police Department, shall be held to be Police service.

Pensions on account of physical or mental disability or disease, not to be granted unless upon certificate of Board of Surgeons, setting for the cause, nature and extent of disability, disease or injury, and if same was incurred or sustained in the performance of Police duty.

FUND.

FIRST--Capital, income, interest, dividends, cash deposits, securities and credits belonging to the Police Life Insurance Fund.

SECOND.--All fines imposed by the board of Police upon member of the Police force.

THIRD.--All rewards, fees, gifts, testimonials, and emoluments to members of the Force,

except such as shall be allowed by the Board of Police to be retained by such members.

FOURTH.--All lost or stolen money in the hands of the Property Clerk for one year unclaimed, and moneys arising from sale of unclaimed Property.

FIFTH.-- A sum of money equal to three dollars per month for each member of the Force, to be paid monthly from moneys deducted for lost time.

Section seven of the foregoing Act was amended, June 19, 1879, to read as follows:

"In determining the term of service of any member of the Police force under the provisions of this Act, service in the late Municipal and Metropolitan Police Departments, and subsequently in the Police Department of the city of New York, should be counted and held to be Police Service of the Police Department of the city of New York for all purposes of this Act."

 

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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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