History

History isn’t Bunk, part 2: New York City Police

Jill Lepore has an article in the New Yorker about the invention of police that somehow manages to sidestep every thing I know about the history of police. I know a little about the history police history. Much more, I suspect, than Jill Lepore. I discussed a key problem of Lepore’s perspective in my last post. She writes through a…

Continue Reading

History

History isn’t Bunk, part 1

There’s so much Jill Lepore gets wrong in her New Yorker article “The Invention of the Police.” The spoiler is in the subtitle: “Why did American policing get so big, so fast? The answer, mainly, is slavery.” She seems to ignores the actual history of police in America, but I’ll get to that in my next post. For now let…

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

RIP Thomas Lynch, d. 1849

On July 22, 168 years ago, Thomas Lynch was the first police officer in America (at least best I can tell) to be fatally injured in the line of duty: Patrolman Lynch responded to 16 Dover street after receive a report of a large dispute. As he tried to mediate the dispute, he was struck in the head 11 times…

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Low Police Morale (or: the more things change…)

Last night a police captain said: I’m in the Department and had better keep my mouth shut. But I must candidly say that I have never known the Police Department to be in such a bad state as it is it right now. One day we receive one imperative order, and on the next another quite different, so that we…

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Who made that? And when?

The mighty flex-cuff… Anybody know when they first appeared? I do not. And I just get a query from MOMA asking me them and I’ll be damned, I have no idea. I’d like to know the answer. I write to you with the hope that you might help with our research. We are featuring Flexicuffs and Bite/Spit Masks (the plastic…

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Law and Order, 1932

From Shorpy.com: Washington, D.C., 1932. “Metropolitan police officer on motorcycle.” Keeping the peace in the gashouse district. Harris & Ewing glass negative. Full size image. 0

Uncategorized

Baltimore Police Department History

A little over two years ago, William Hackley, retired Baltimore police officer and amateur historian, passed away. Were it not for Officer Hackley, so much of the history of the BPD would have been be lost to time. I was afraid that project would end with Hackley’s passing. Luckily, retired detective Kenny Driscoll has kept the history alive. The website…

Continue Reading