Our Police Protectors
History of New York Police
Chapter 5, Part 2

By Holice and Debbie


The City Watch was disbanded. The First District, July 15; the Sixth District on the 16th; and the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth districts on July 18. The City Marshals were dismissed on the thirty-first of July, and on the first day of August the new law went into full operation, the Policemen for the various Wards being apportioned in accordance with the ordinance passed by the Common council, June 11, 1845, as follows:

First Ward, 55; Second Ward, 40; Third Ward, 40; Fourth Ward, 55; Fifth Ward, 50; Sixth Ward, 60; Seventh Ward, 60; Eighth Ward, 50; Ninth Ward, 45; Tenth Ward, 45; Eleventh Ward, 45; Twelfth Ward, 30; Thirteenth Ward, 45; Fourteenth Ward, 50; Fifteenth Ward, 40; Sixteenth Ward, 45; Seventeenth Ward, 45; in the Police offices, 13; in the City Courts, 17; in the Chief's office, 1; in office Commissioners of Alms House, 1; as Inspector of Stages, Hacks, Cabs and Carts, 4; as Bell-ringers, 15. Total, 851.

The compensation per annum was set as follows:

Chief of Police


Captains, each


First and Second Assistant Captains, each




The Mayor was authorized to prescribe rules and regulations for the government of the force, and from time to time to alter and amend the same. Two persons were appointed from each Ward by the Aldermen and Assistant of such Ward, to act as door-Keepers. They were paid seven dollars per week for such service.

Mayor Havemeyer was then the Chief Magistrate of the city, and he appointed George W. Matsell Chief of Police, a position which he held for several years.

The duties of the following officers under the old system were performed by the Police Department, which officers were abolished when the new regime went into operations:

One hundred Marshals.
Eighteen Street Inspectors.
Eighteen Health Wardens.
Fifty four Fire Wardens.
Thirteen Dockmasters.
Nine Day police Officers.
Fifty Sunday Officers.
Sixteen Bell Ringers.
Eighteen Hydrant Inspectors.
Five Keepers of the Public Parks.
One Inspector Pawnbrokers.
One Inspector Junk-shops, etc.
Two Inspectors of Hacks.
Two Inspectors of Stages.
One Inspector of Carts.
One Superintendent of Roads.
One Superintendent of Lands and Places.
Three hundred officers to attend the polls on days of election.
Whole Watch Department, consisting of eleven Captains, twenty-four Assistant
Captains, and about one thousand two hundred Watchmen.
Total: One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty Six.

The above were supplanted by the following force, which was employed as follows:

Eighteen Captains on duty at all times.
Thirty-six Assistant Captains, one half on duty haft the time.
Seventy-two Sergeants.
Seven hundred and seventy-three policemen, of whom one hundred and two were detailed for special duty by the Mayor.

This force wore no uniforms, a star-shaped badge, worn on the left breast of the outer coat, being their only insignia of office. Hence they came to be called "the r" Police.

The city was divided into three districts, as follows:

First District--First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and sixth Wards.
Second District--Eighth, Ninth, Twelfth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Eighteenth Wads.
Third District--Seventh, Tenth, Eleventh, Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Seventeenth Wards.

In each of these Districts there were established a Police Court and office. The Police office for the First District continued to be held at the Halls of Justice in Centre Street; for the Second District, at Jefferson Market; and for the Third District at the Essex Market.

In 1845 New York was again visited by a conflagration, second only in its ravages to the one in 1835. Three hundred and forty-five buildings were swept away, their value with the goods, being estimated at about five millions of dollars.

The number of persons apprehended, from the first of July to the fifteenth of October, 1845, was eleven thousand four hundred and four.

The list of Police Districts in 1846 was as follows:

First Ward or A District

Capt. William Dill

Franklin Market-East Station-Trinity Place

Second Ward or B District

Capt. John Kurtz

No. 60 Gold Street

Third Ward or C District

Capt. T. Boudinot

No. 38 Robinson St., now Park Place

Fourth Ward or D District

Capt. E. Fitzgerald

No. 27 James Street

Fifth Ward, or E District

Capt. W. C. Dusenbury

No. 16 Anthony St.

Sixth Ward or F District

Capt. J. McGrath

Old Watch House, Halls of Justice (the present Tombs). The entrance was on Franklin St. and the prison was where the ten-day prison now is.

Seventh Ward or G District

Capt. W. M. Howell

Corner of Pike & South St., upstairs.

Eighth Ward or H District

Capt. B. P. Fairchild

The Old Watch-House, corner of Prince and Wooster St., where is not the Eighth Precinct Station House.

Ninth Ward or I District

Capt. J. W. Bush

Jefferson Market, up-stairs, entrance on Greenwich Avenue

Tenth Ward or J District

Capt. J. Middleton

Essex Market, up-stairs, entrance on Ludlow St.

Eleventh Ward or K District

In charge of subordinate

Union market, the present location

Twelfth Ward or L District

In charge of subordinate

House of Detention, or old Lock-up, Harlem, on site of present station house

Thirteenth Ward or M District

Capt. J. Tilley

Attorney and Delancey Sts., the present station house is in part of the old one

Fourteenth Ward or N District

Capt. D. Kissner

Centre Market, upstairs

Fifteenth Ward or O District

Capt. N. M. Brown

No. 650 Broadway, Constitution Hall

Sixteenth Ward or P District

In charge of subordinate

Twentieth St., between Seventh and Eighth Ave., where is present station house.

Seventeenth Ward or Q District

Capt. J. Westerfield

Third St. and the Bowery

The following year, under Mayor Brady, there were some changes and additions, as follows:

Fourth Ward or D District

Capt. T. Smith

No. 31 Roosevelt St.

Fifth Ward or E District

Capt. E. Perry

No. 48 Leonard St.

Fifteenth Ward or O District

Capt. Brown

No. 220 Mercer St.

Eighteenth Ward

Capt. J. W. Brown

Twenty-ninth St., between Fourth and Fifth Ave., afterwards the Twenty-first, Twenty-ninth and Twenty-fifth Precinct station house.

Hardly had the newly-organized force become familiar with the changes that had taken place in the department, when the legislature (May 13, 1846) passed another Act "for the establishment and regulation of the Police of the City of New York." The changes effected thereby may be briefly enumerated as follows (the Day and Night Police remained as before.) the force was not to exceed nine hundred men, and the rank of Sergeant was created. A Patrol District was established in each Ward, whereby a suitable room was maintained for the use of such Patrol, the name of this room being changed from District headquarters to "Police Station House."

The Patrol of each District consisted of one Captain, a First and Second assistant Captain, two or more Sergeants, and such number of Policemen as the Common council should apportion to the Ward or District.

The Captains of the several Wards nominated to the Aldermen and Assistant Aldermen of their Wards suitable Policemen to perform the duties of Sergeants, not exceeding four or less than two for each patrol District. The Chief held office for four years, unless sooner removed for cause. Policemen was appointed to office for two years. The Common Council, in determining the rate of compensation, should not, the legislature declared, exceed the following sums per annum:

Chief of Police, sixteen hundred dollars.
Captains, seven hundred dollars.
Assistant Captains, six hundred dollars.
Sergeants and policemen, five hundred dollars.

The Police Department consisted of the following:

Mayor, Chief of Police and his Clerk, Special Justices and their Clerks, Captains and Assistant Captains, Sergeants, Policemen, Constables and Doormen.

The Common Council subsequently arranged the compensation of the person named above, as follows:

Chief of Police, Sixteen Hundred Dollars.
Special Justices, Fifteen Hundred Dollars.
Captains, Seven Hundred Dollars.
Assistant Captains, Six Hundred Dollars.
Sergeants and Policemen, Five Hundred Dollars

The Common Council , in May 1846, made the following re-appointment of the force:

First Ward


Second Ward


Third Ward


Fourth Ward


Fifth Ward


Sixth Ward


Seventh Ward


Eighth Ward


Ninth Ward


Tenth Ward


Eleventh Ward


Twelfth Ward


Thirteenth Ward


Fourteenth Ward


Fifteenth Ward


Sixteenth Ward


Seventeenth Ward


Eighteenth Ward


The newly created Eighteenth Ward was joined to the Second Police District.

A previous ordinance provided for the refunding to Policemen any expense necessarily incurred in bringing to the station house on a cart, any vagrant or intoxicated person. In order to meet this expense, Chief Matsell was allowed to draw one hundred dollars from the Comptroller. He was also granted a certain sum with which to meet the necessary expenses incurred by the Captains or Assistant Captains in providing prisoners with food or medicine.

All moneys paid for fines imposed by the Police Magistrate were received by one of the clerks in the respective Police offices, who entered such fines in a book, and on each Tuesday paid into the treasury all the moneys received during the week, accounting for the same under oath or affirmation to the Comptroller.



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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