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William McCarthy

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William McCarthy's spent 20 years in the New York Police Department.  He rose through the ranks to ultimately become the Commanding Officer of the Public Morals (Vice) Division and; and, later the commanding officer of the Bomb Squad. His autobiography Vice Cop: My Twenty Year Battle with New York's Dark Side, centers on his years as an uncover vice sergeant.  His book provides interesting and detailed descriptions of police work, under cover operations and crime.

According to the Library Journal, “McCarthy's career in the New York City Police Department spanned 20 years, culminating in his appointments as Commanding Officer of the Public Morals (Vice) Division and, later, of the Bomb Squad. This memoir concentrates on his years undercover as a sergeant on the vice squad and is full of details on how undercover investigations are conducted as well as how police work together. McCarthy, who comes across as a tough guy crusading to clean up corruption and vice, meets and describes a truly amazing array of characters (police and criminals). His depictions of criminal activities are very explicit--particularly in the area of prostitution. The narrative is disjointed at times, but the subject matter will be absorbing for general readers. In another recent book, What Cops Know ( LJ 12/90), Connie Fletcher's interviews with Chicago police officers offer similar insight into the psychological and technical aspects of police work.”

On reader of Vice Cop: My Twenty-Year Battle With New York's Dark Side said, “vice cop which is based on a true story, tells the life of Bill McCarthy tough Irish American cop who wont give in to corruption. the book takes place in the 70's in a pimp infested new York City. The author Mike Mallowe takes us from bill McCarthy’s first experience as a cop in public morals division, to the climax where an event changes the way the NYPD operates now. An inside look into the life of corrupt cops and the cops that try to bring them down, filled with pimps, gambling ,murders and the mafia.”

Vice Cop: My Twenty-Year Battle With New York's Dark Side
William McCarthy  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.





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