James J. Fyfe, a retired New York Police Department lieutenant passed away in 2005.
According to Professor Todd Clear, John Jay College, James J. Fyfe” was a Distinguished Professor of Law, Police
Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York. At the
time of his death, he was serving as Deputy Commissioner for Training of the New York Police Department, a position he resumed
after retiring from the department in 1979. James Fyfe was a senior fellow of the Police Foundation, a professor at American
University and Temple University. He authored seven books, more than 75 articles and book chapters, and served as the editor
of Justice Quarterly. As a recognized expert in police practices, James Fyfe testified before the United States Senate and Congress, and in federal and state courts in the District of Columbia,
38 states, and Canada.
About the New York Police Department (NYPD):
The first law-enforcement officer began to patrol
the trails and paths of New York City when it was known as New Amsterdam, and was a Dutch settlement and fort in the year
1625. This lawman was known as a "Schout – fiscal" (sheriff – attorney) and was charged with keeping
the peace, settling minor disputes, and warning colonists if fires broke out at night. The first Schout was a man named Johann
The Rattle Watch was a group of
colonists during the Dutch era (1609 - 1664) who patrolled from sunset until dawn. They carried weapons, lanterns and wooden
rattles (that are similar to the ratchet noisemakers used during New Year celebrations). The rattles made a very loud, distinctive
sound and were used to warn farmers and colonists of threatening situations. Upon hearing this sound, the colonists would
rally to defend themselves or form bucket-brigades to put out fires. The rattles were used because whistles had not yet been
invented. The Rattle Watchmen also are believed to have carried lanterns that had green glass inserts. This was to help identify
them while they were on patrol at night (as there were no streetlights at that time). When they returned to their Watch House
from patrol, they hung their lantern on a hook by the front door to show that the Watchman was present in the Watch House.
Today, green lights are still hung outside the entrances of Police Precincts as a symbol that the "Watch" is present
When the High Constable of New York
City, Jacob Hays retired from service in 1844, permission was granted by the Governor of the state to the Mayor of the City
to create a Police Department. A force of approximately 800 men under the first Chief of Police, George W. Matsell, began
to patrol the City in July of 1845. They wore badges that had an eight-pointed star (representing the first 8 paid members
of the old Watch during Dutch times). The badges had the seal of the City in their center and were made of stamped copper.