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0600. Police Department

 Record Group
Identifier: 0600
As the oldest police department in the country, the Boston Police Department (BPD) has a rich history and a well-established presence in the Boston community. The initiation of a formal department began in 1838, when the General Court passed a bill allowing the city of Boston to appoint police officers. The department was established in 1854 structured after the model developed by Sir Robert Peele for the London Police force. The Boston Police Department was the first paid, professional public safety department in the country. First headquartered at City Hall on School Street, the department moved to 37 Pemberton Square, where it remanded until construction began on 154 Berkeley Street headquarters in 1925. These new headquarters served the department well for many years, until 1997, when the department moved into its new state-of-the-art facility at One Schroeder Plaza. The BPD has undergone many operational changes throughout the years as well. When first initiated by the city Council in 1824, the department under the supervision of the city Marshall, was charged with "the care of the streets, the care of the common sewers, and the care of the vaults, and whatever else affects the health, security, and comfort of the city." The first police force consisted of 260 officers and a chief. Each division had a captain and two lieutenants; sergeants were not appointed until 1857. In these early days, an officer on duty carried a six-foot pole, painted blue and white to protect himself, and a "police rattle" to call for assistance. Police communicated via a telegraph system that linked the central office and area police stations. In 1878, the first department telephones were installed on a trial basis. Over the years, the police department has responded to a wide range of public safety issues, from "night walkers" to armed robberies to homicides, and to public crises such as the Great Fire, the St. Valentine's Day blizzard and the Coconut Grove fire. In responding to these public safety issues and protecting the public, the department has learned much, growing and evolving into one of the finest police departments in the country. Today's department focuses on ensuring the safety and well-being of the city's residents, combining the best neighborhood policing methods from the past with the latest state-of-the-art technologies to effectively protect and serve the public.

Found in 8 Collections and/or Records:

Index of victuallers

 Item — Volume 1
Identifier: 0600.002
Scope and Contents

One index volume of licenses granted for victuallers, 1878-1879. Includes date, name and address.

Dates: 1878-1879

Licenses for intoxicating liquors

Identifier: 0600.003
Scope and Contents

Includes records of licenses issued and indexes to licenses filed initially with the Board of License Commissioners and then with the Police Commissioner.

Dates: 1875-1885

Police Department annual reports and publications

Identifier: 0600.006
Scope and Contents

Includes annual reports of the Police Commissioner for 1871, 1910, 1927, 1933-1934, 1936, 1939, 1945, 1950, 1955, 1958-1960, 1962-1970, 1974-1976, 1999 and 2007; annual reports of the Boston Police Relief Association for 1911, 1913-1915, 1918-1920, 1922-1925, and 1927-1928; street directory, 1938 and circa 1970s-1980s; and miscellaneous reports and surveys.

Dates: 1870-1999

Police Department photographs

Identifier: 0600.004
Scope and Contents

Includes photograph of Boston Police Class, 1945 January 6 and 9 photographs of car accident possibly on Alford Street, Charlestown circa 1935.

Dates: 1945

Police Department rules and regulations

Identifier: 0600.007
Scope and Contents

Includes printed Rules and Regulations of the Boston Police Department from 1899, 1903, 1909, 1921, 1927, 1941 and 1950; Rules and Procedures, 1992; and Rules and Regulations for Hackney Carriages from 1948.

Dates: 1898-1950


Identifier: 0600.005
Scope and Contents

Boston Police Relief Association Annual Ball and Concert program, 1941.

Dates: 1941

Retirement orders

 Series — Volume 1: [Barcode: 00001192]
Identifier: 0600.001
Scope and Contents

One volume of retirement orders received by the Auditing Department from the Board of Police, 1878-1903. Includes form documenting name of officer retired, placement on pension roll and amount to be received.

Dates: 1878-1903

Sample forms

 Series — Flat box 1
Identifier: 0600.008
Dates: circa 1860s