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Alan Sheppard

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E-man: Life in the NYPD Emergency Services
Al Sheppard  More Info

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 Lampo.


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 and vigilant.


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.





In the late 1960s, Detective Alan “Al” Sheppard, NYPD (ret.), served two years with the United States Army.  His service included deployment with the 101st Airborne Division to the Republic of South Vietnam.  In 1969, Al Sheppard joined the New York City Police Department.  His first assignment was as a patrol officer in the 81st Precinct which is located in the north central area of the borough of Brooklyn. This neighborhood is known as "Bedford Stuyvesant." A small section along the southern border is referred to Stuyvesant Heights.


In 1974, Al Sheppard was assigned the Emergency Service Unit.  The Emergency Services Unit of the NYPD is nation’s largest permanent emergency response team with over 400 personnel. The “ESU” provides specialized equipment, expertise and support; “from auto accidents to building collapses to hostage situations, ESU officers are called on when the situation requires advanced equipment and expertise.”  In 1985, Alan Sheppard was assigned to the NYPD Intelligence Division and given dual status with the United States Marshals.  In 1988, he worked an undercover assignment and in 1989 he was assigned to the Major Case Squad.  Detective Alan “Al” Sheppard, NYPD (ret.) is the author of E-Man: Life in the NYPD Emergency Services Unit.


According to Lieutenant Vern Gelbreth, NYPD (ret.), “Sheppard served in the NYPD during the urban warfare years and received his Baptism of Fire at the Williamsburg Siege. He was a decorated hero of the NYPD and member of the elite Emergency Services Unit (ESU). In his book, E-Man Al takes the reader on a non-stop roller coaster ride of emotions as he reveals life on the streets through the eyes of a combatant during the turbulent times and the work of the Emergency Services Unit—the same unit that the Police call when they need Help.”


According to one reader, Alan Sheppard’s book , “is a fast paced account of a true story about a cop who not only carried people from burning buildings and off of bridges high above the waters of NYC but also saved a fellow cop from sure death by shooting his killer dead. You will not be able to put this book down! I urge to read how some people don't imagine how to be a hero but actually become one.”

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