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 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
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.”
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.”