Tag Archives: Police

Women Joining The NYPD 100 Years Ago? Not Likely.

No Women Became NYPD Officers Until 1918

Woman Police Making Arrest Bain locThis 1908 news photo by Bain News Service shows a Cincinnati suffragette dressed as a policeman. The accompanying captions is “How woman policeman would look making an arrest.”  Another photo of the same woman is captioned “the woman cop ‘A Dream.'”

Women becoming police officers in the early 20th century was considered a joke. Well maybe that was the case 100 years ago, but not today. There are now over 6,000 uniformed women police officers in the NYPD and they comprise almost 20% of the police force.

In the early history of the NYPD, women had worked as jail matrons and secretary’s. It was in 1918 that Ellen O’Grady was named a Deputy Police Commissioner and Mary E. Hamilton was appointed a policewoman along with 5 other women.

Some of the original policewomen were assigned to battle the white slave trade (forced prostitution) while other recruits were to work on juvenile delinquency cases.

The policewomen were issued badges, summons books, revolvers and handcuffs. They had the same authority as their male counterparts and surprisingly, received the same $1,200 salary as policemen.

As more women joined the force in the following two years, most of the policewomen were assigned to the city beaches to protect women. Others were given assignments in the Vice Squad, the Missing Persons Bureau and some were to investigate fortune-tellers and midwives. Continue reading

You’re Under Arrest! Why The NYPD Would Arrest You In 1905

The Crimes That Got You Arrested in New York City In 1905

New York City police bringing suspects into the station. (circa 1900)

New York City police bringing suspects into the station. (circa 1900)

The police make more arrests now In New York City than they did In 1905. Of course the population has doubled from what it was in 1905. But it’s the type of arrests that were made 111 years ago that are quite different from today.

Among the 4,014,304 people living in New York City in 1905 with almost 2 million foreign born and many of them poor, you would think there would be a lot of crime. And there was, but most of it was not violent. In 1905, there were 198,356 arrests for the year, with about 90 percent of them being misdemeanors.

So what crimes were New Yorkers charged with? The following information was taken from the Report of the Police Department of the City of New York for the Year Ending December 31, 1905. Below are 1905’s top 13 offenses with the number of people arrested by the NYPD and the offense they committed:

52,316 Intoxication / Intoxication and Disorderly conduct
39,972 Disorderly conduct
17,584 Violation of Corporation Ordinances
11,731 Assault and Battery
8,592 Disorderly Person
8,333 Vagrancy
7,991 Suspicious Person
6,880 Petit Larceny
5,031 Grand Larceny
3,939 Violation of Liquor Tax Law
3,795 Violation of Health Law
2,810 Felonious Assault
2,279 Burglary

In the breakdown of the hundreds of offenses that people were arrested for, here are some facts that might surprise you.

New York City police turned a blind eye to the oldest profession as only 13 people were arrested for prostitution. 10 for possessing or selling obscene pictures. 49 for arson. 16 for murder and 711 for homicide- (I never realized  there was a technical difference between murder and homicide)!

Six were arrested for cruelty to children, yet 535 were arrested for cruelty to animals. Continue reading

Mayor La Guardia’s Homeless Solution – Arrest Them!

New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia’s 1942 solution for homelessness: Get to work or we’ll arrest you!

Bowery bums told to leave by LaGuardia 1942Rounding ’em up

New York City – “The Bowery Bum must go!” decreed New York’s Mayor La Guardia in his latest drive for municipal purity, and police squads promptly invaded the habitats of New York’s human derelicts and piled their collection into patrol wagons. Photo shows a group of the hapless men climbing into the “pie wagon”.  The mayor predicted that 30 days in the workhouse would cure them of their gutter-sleeping habits. (photo credit Acme) 11/18/1942

In 1942 some of New York City’s homeless population were comprised of families, but it also had a great deal of what were termed derelicts, vagrants and bums. These were the denizens of New York’s infamous street of despair, the Bowery.

That November, under the orders of Chief Magistrate Henry H. Curran and with the blessing of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, the order to clear the Bowery bums off the streets or be arrested was given. It may sound harsh, but then it was how the city felt they could best deal with the undesired population inhabiting the streets of the Bowery. Mayor La Guardia claimed he had received complaints from several mission societies and churches along the Bowery about the actions of the homeless on the street. Continue reading

1925 Police Chief Suggestion: Pay Bounties To NYPD For Killing Criminals

In 1925 A New York Police Chief Proposed Paying Cops Extra To Kill Criminals

Across the country complaints are rising against police officers using excessive force against alleged criminals. So it probably would not be politically correct today to make a suggestion that cops get paid extra to kill criminals. But that didn’t stop one top cop 90 years ago from making that proposal.

Second Deputy Police Commissioner George S. Dougherty c .1912

Second Deputy Police Commissioner George S. Dougherty c .1912

In January 1925 George S. Dougherty former NYPD Second Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Detectives wrote to the New York Times recommending that large bounties be paid to police officers who kill hold-up men.

Dougherty suggested that a police officer killing one hold-up man be paid $1,000, $2,500 for killing two and the astounding sum of $5,000 for killing three. This bounty would mean a regular patrolman could earn substantially more than the $2,500 annual base salary for killing a robber.

Though many citizens may have agreed and responded positively to the Chief’s populist proposal, it never gained any momentum. The New York Times commented that “of course no one goes into mourning when one of these land pirates meet the fate they deserve as enemies of the human race, and if a policeman in the exercise of his duty kills one of them it properly is regarded as a good job, well done. But Mr. Dougherty’s proposal is a very bad one.”

Several officials at the police department concurred with the Times opinion saying that if Dougherty’s suggestions were put into force, “they might incite indiscriminate shooting.”

Other positions advocated by Dougherty included: Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #35

A New York City Cop Takes Exception To Claudia Cardinale’s Dress – 1971

Claudia Cardinale 1971 Streets of NYC 2Disturbing the Peace

New York, NY – A New York policeman is not deterred in his duty as Italian actress Claudia Cardinale turns on her charm in front of Grand Central Station. After telling Cardinale to “move along,” the policeman rubs shoulders with her as he goes his way and she goes hers. Front view of the departing actress shows why he asked her to move. The dress she wore to plug a new movie caused a mid-town traffic jam. (UPI) 8-3-71

Here is how Claudia was causing the traffic jam —

Claudia Cardinale 1971 Streets of NYCI love the men’s faces in the background, while the cop scowls and bumps into Cardinale. For 1971 this mode of dress on the city streets was considered very risque. Today it would barely attract attention, let alone have the police intervening.

A member of the Turner Classic Movie Fan Forum, FrankT65, posted a behind the scenes account of what occurred here.

Frank was responsible for running a publicity junket for Paramount’s The Red Tent starring Claudia Cardinale, Sean Connery and Peter Finch. Here is how Frank describes the event:

We had lots out of town press coming in for a junket and if anything we would have plenty of publicity coverage for the film.

Our VP in charge of marketing was Charles Glenn….a man who believed in the publicity stunt, which had been considered by many to be outdated. I myself loved publicity stunts…it got you out of the office and in with the public where a public relations person belonged. Problem was there were too few stunts you could connect with THE RED TENT. Finally someone came up Continue reading

1942 Brooklyn Suicide Attempt

Edna Egbert About To Get Pushed Off A Ledge By The Police

Edna Egbert suicide attempt Brooklyn 497 Dean Street March 19 1942

The caption for this International News Photo reads:

Three Cops and A Woman In Life and Death Drama

New York – Four of the five principal characters in today’s (March 19) life or death drama staged in a Brooklyn residential district. Mrs. Edna Egbert, 50, is shown on the 2nd story ledge of her apartment while three policemen flank her trying to talk her out of her threat to jump in a suicide attempt. Failing to dissuade the woman, the policemen pushed her from the ledge– into a large emergency net that had been rigged below. The fifth hero in this drama is the first policeman on the scene, who kept Mrs. Egbert on her ledge for 25 minutes while the net was being rigged. (credit: International News Photo 3-19-42)

What the slug does not mention is what caused Mrs. Edna M. Egbert such distress.

In the past year Mrs. Egbert’s son Fred had gotten married, joined the army and had not written to her once in that time, so she presumed he was dead.

Mrs Egbert climbed onto a window ledge at her home at 497 Dean St., Brooklyn and screamed: “I’m going to jump.”

If you’re wondering, as I was, how you could kill yourself from only the second floor, to either side of Ms. Egbert was a spiky iron fence that could have easily impaled her.

While a crowd gathered on the street, one patrolman talked to Mrs. Egbert from the street while others rigged a net. As officers Ed Murphy and George Munday tried to persuade her to come back in to the building, she brandished a mirror and started swinging it at them.

Edna Egbert suicide attempt Brooklyn 497 Dean Street March 19 1942 NY Post

The police grabbed her arms and she proceeded to sit on the ledge. That is when they quickly pushed her into the net. The estimated 600 onlookers quickly dispersed and Mrs. Egbert was taken to Bellevue for observation.

According to census records, Mrs. Egbert was either 42 or 44-years-old, not 50 as noted in every article about this story. Her husband John Egbert was 64 and their wayward son Fred was 20.

Edna Egbert suicide attempt Brooklyn 497 Dean Street March 19 1942 now and then Photo Marc Hermann NY Daily News

Original b&w photo: Charles Payne NY Daily News

The Daily News featured another photograph from this event in a great photo essay entitled Then and Now, which mixes original crime scene photographs with modern images taken by Marc Hermann.

Whatever became of Mrs. Egbert and her non-writing son Fred is unknown.