About the Boston Police Department
In the fall of 1997, the Boston Police Department
began a historic move from its former headquarters located at 154 Berkeley Street to its new headquarters located at the corner
of Ruggles and Tremont streets in Lower Roxbury. The move marked both a new beginning and the closing of a significant chapter
in the history of the Boston Police Department.
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 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.
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.
new headquarters - - equipped with perhaps the most advanced ID imaging and ballistics identification technology in the country,
a DNA laboratory (one of only 18 departments in the country with in-house DNA testing capacity. Enhanced 9-1-1, and a Computer-aided
Dispatch system linked to Mobile Date Terminals - will serve the department and the public well into the next century.