Post 13 Trivia – Pre-war Cops & Politicians
John Young, Patrolman
The 1914 PBA election saw Joseph P. Moran assume the presidency of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association. Back then, the PBA presidents were elected by the delegates in yearly elections and Moran would hold onto the presidency until he retired in 1938.
During the Moran Era, patrolmen’s salary would increase from $1,440 to $3,000 per year. Membership in the association would increase from 9,387 to 16,653. Back then, both patrolmen and detectives belonged to the PBA.
It was Joe Moran’s belief that the success of any organization depended to a large degree upon the morale of its members. He managed to maintain the support of both the membership and delegates in his battles with several mayors and police commissioners, as well as competing police groups and associations. Remember back then, there were no Transit or Housing police and there was no collective bargaining. Pay raises and benefits were awarded by the city’s Board of Estimate.
During the administration of Jimmy Walker (1923-32), the department had five different commissioners and the PBA had maintained a good relationship with all of them. Moran managed to win a pension revision (1919) in the form of the Article I Police Pension System (35 years – full pay) and end the reserve duty in the station house that destroyed health and family life. While on reserve duty, patrolmen would respond to fire scenes for crowd control.
As the 1930’s dawned, the department (like the country) hit on hard times. The Seabury investigations led to corruption charges and, in strategy, continue to this day. The PBA took out a full page newspaper advertisement defending its members. Certain politicians tried to have Moran and the PBA leadership brought up on charges of violating the department’s Rules & Regulations.
Compounding the miseries of that period, Mayor Walker proposed a voluntary pay-cut to all city employees in reaction to a city financial crises resulting from the national depression. In January 1933, a patrolman’s salary was reduced from $3,000 to $2,810 a year, and this was followed in July of 1934 by a “furlough deduction” that, in effect, cut wages to $2,704. It took three years to get a cop’s salary back to $3,000.
When, I joined the department in 1964, a family friend who retired as a patrolman in 1958, told me that “cops never got the money back, as they had been promised by the then city fathers.” While furlough means vacation granted to an enlisted man in the Army (one month per year) to the cops it meant three months without a pay check in 1934.
If the last days of the Walker administration were sad ones for cops, the years under the “Little Flower” were downright depressing. The 12-year regime of Fiorello LaGuardia (1934-45) saw more salary cuts, a new pension system (1940) that deceased take-home pay and a reduced police force.
Our Sincere Appreciation: To all members who attended our Orange County Shields – HV 10-13 meeting. To all members and their families who attended the 35th Brinks Memorial service. To all members who paid their 2017 DUES and/or DONATIONS early.