John Moreno “was born and raised
in New York City. In 1951 he married Eileen McTiernan, his childhood sweetheart. They have three daughters and five grandchildren.
In 1955 he joined the New York City Police department and retired at the rank of lieutenant in 1984. While on the job he earned
an Associate Degree in Police Science and later a Bachelor Degree in Theology. Upon retiring he accepted a position on the
staff of the Bishop Molloy Retreat House, working with the Passionist Community of priests and brothers. While working there
he went on to earn a Masters Degree in Catholic Doctrine. After leaving that position he became associated with the Marianist
Community organizing, promoting and offering spiritual programs at their Emmanuel Marianist Retreat House. He is founder of
Catholic Lay Preachers, a small group of experienced lay speakers offering their talents to religious organizations. John
Moreno is the author of A Spirituality For Police Officers.
According to the book description of
A Spirituality For Police Officers, “Under the police shield is a real live person. The experiences
of police work has an effect upon that person. This book is an attempt to have the reader weigh how their experiences are
affecting them as persons. Is what they are dealing with on a daily basis having an effect upon their relationships with family,
friends, neighbors and most important their God?
The author shares real life police experiences, drawn from 30 years of service
to the New York City Police Department. He shares how the work made him feel. There is that ongoing struggle in trying to
be both a tough enforcer of the law and a loving, caring, popular human being and a person of faith. As a rookie officer,
working with an old timer, he is warned of the three Bs, booze, broads and bucks and how they are the downfall of many officers.
He is admonished by a superior officer for not beating a prisoner who had assaulted him on the street. He fights back tears
at the sight of his first DOA, an infant.
In all of this the author seeks holiness. He wrestles with the question, can I
be a tough, no nonsense, effective police officer and still lead a holy life, Police work offers the officer many opportunities
to get into trouble, or to grow in holiness. Frequently it is the same incident and depends on how the officer handles it,
whether it brings him or her down or lifts him or her up.
The book is written from the perspective
of a Roman Catholic, however, anyone holding a belief in God should find helpful material in its pages. It would also be interesting
for anyone who has relatives or friends in law enforcement, helping them to understand what the officer struggles with.”
According to one reader of A
Spirituality For Police Officers, “I had hoped this book would be another resource for police chaplaincy,
but it is very narrow in its outlook. It might be a good resource for some individual police officers, but a more honest title
for this book would be "A Spirituality for Conservative Roman Catholic Police Officers.”
History of the New York Police Department
The High Constable, in 1793, was enjoined to direct that two or more of the constables,
those of the Harlem Division of the Seventh Ward excepted, on every Sunday during the time of the Divine Service, by turns,
should walk through the several streets with their staffs and cause this law (a law for the due observance of the Lord's
Day) to be duly kept and observed; and to that end the said High Constable and other Constables were authorized to enter into
all or any public inns, victualers, or ordinary-keepers; and if any person should be found tippling therein, or that strong
liquor was sold therein contrary to law, they should make complaint thereof, that the same might be punished.
Along towards 1796, the progress of
the police system became very marked. Four more men had been added; the pay for all was now increased. On January 1, 1796,
it was determined that until May 1 of each year, the Captains of the Watch should receive eleven shillings a night; the assistants,
seven shillings; and the privates five shillings and sixpence. By the close of the year, too, the new watch-house at the end
of Chatham Street was reported complete and ready for occupancy. A committee was then appointed to make recommendations as
to the number of me to be assigned to the new house. This committee made a thorough report, recommending that the Captain
and one assistant be stationed at the main watch-house, Broad and Wall Street; and one assistant at the new house. The additional
number of men to be employed was sixteen. The committee counseled that the rounds should be performed by three bands of three
men, each relieving each other; and that seven sentries should be posted as follows: one at the watch-house; one at the intersection
of Pearl and Chatham streets; two at the ship-yard; one at the "upper box" in the Bowery; one in division Street;
and one "in Mr. Iver's ropewalk."
A man could be both a policeman and
a politician in those days. We learn that in 1796 Alexander Lamb, one of the Captains of the City Watch, being about to depart
for Albany to attend his duty as a Member of Assembly, it was ordered that Nicholas Lawrence, his assistant, take charge of
the Watch until his chief's return.
The Watch Department was under the
immediate direction of the Corporation. It was the duty of the Captains, under the direction of the Watch Committee, to fix
the rounds of the Watchmen, prescribe their duties, and visit their stations. When a Watchman was guilty of misconduct, the
Captain of the district might suspend him till the pleasure of the Common Council was known. He was obliged to make a return,
early in the morning, to the justices of the Police, of the number and names of Watchmen attending the preceding night, and
the defaulters, if any.
Our Police Protectors
Holice and Debbie