First officer down: Highbinder riots at St Peter’s Church

Broadway and City Hall, in 1809. The mobs of the so-called ‘Augustus Street Riot’ would have scuffled just to the west of this illustration. (Courtesy NYPL) According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, there have been 778 New York law enforcement officers who have died in the course of duty. Fourteen of the last fifteen… Read More


Case Files of the New York Police Department 1800-1915

Uniformly chic: Law enforcement officers of the New York Metropolitan Police from 1871 show off their fancy blue threads. Twenty years previous, they weren’t even required to wear standardized apparel. (Courtesy NYPL Digital Library) PODCAST We’re playing Good Cop / Bad Cop this week, as we take a close look at four events from the… Read More

Detective Mary Shanley, armed and disarming

While perusing through the Library of Congress archive, I found these arresting images from 1937. Caption: “Mary A. Shanley, New York City detective – “pickpockets’ captor fears that she might look tough” “Detective Mary Shanley is a sure shot, as two pickpockets who tried to get away from her know to their sorrow. Here she… Read More