Post 13 Trivia – May 2022, Trial Room

As we read today’s newspapers, they speak out of taking vacation days for cops who lost traffic cases. Remember the days at 1400 Williamsbridge Road (Bronx) when a criminal court judge heard moving violations and parking tickets. Then the city got fancy- they created a Parking Violation Bureau for tags. Remember the green or buff tags that were carried on day tours. Remember all the trees we killed with affidavits, summons cards. A good month was three or four movers and a dozen of parkers that made you a star in the eyes of the Precinct Commander. 

In September 1965, the Department established a Patrolman’s Activity Report (U.F.240) form where we kept track of the arrests, summonses (moving- parking-others) public morals (reports- arrests) and Juvenile Delinquency Reports (Y.D.1) Remember getting two days off for a gambling collar! One Bronx cop arrested Monroe Shannon and spent the next day outside Sidney Cooper’s office on Ryer Avenue. I don’t believe that firemen had or have monthly activity reports. 

Historically trial room fines went into the Police Pension Fund. It was in both Article I & Article II Funds, but the fines go into the city’s General Fund. 

The New York Times published a list of trail room penalties where patrolman were fined a day’s pay by the Police Commissioner for the following violations: Absent from inspection of uniforms & equipment and one hour & 45 minutes late Torn bedspread on bed, absent from post & not in view of relieving point Absent from post, 25 minutes, was on adjoining post with no memo book entry While assigned to a raided premises, found seated in chair apparently asleep Sitting inside a booth, apparently asleep Absent from reserve- eight hours Absent from outgoing roll call, reported sick 25 minutes late Absent from reserve (two hours) & AWOL from patrol (two hours & 55 minutes) Wore soiled and torn blouse & trousers in trail room Fail to signal promptly- 45 minutes late While on patrol in department vehicle was smoking a cigar While on reserve was smoking a cigarette in the station house’s dormitory Absent from post (18 minutes) – seen coming from a drug store Failed to be equipped with a regulation billy (probably had a blackjack) While assigned to parade duty, failed to keep restricted area clear of spectators (Don’t think they had Puerto Rican Day on June 6, 1924) Seated in a taxi cab in conversation with two unknown men Carelessly lose police shield 

Three patrolmen were fined two days pay- one for improper patrol and the other for improper patrol-when seen had gloves off and was carrying a package. The third for answering the Sergeant in a loud & disrespectful manner. 

One interesting case involved a patrolman from the 24th Precinct (Webster & Mosholu Parkway) that were absent from post and was in conversation with two other patrolmen and a female and had no memo book entry. Two different cops were listed, as being fined a day’s pay for the same incident, but nothing of the third patrolman in conversation. He probably was listed in another listing of trial room offenders. Talk about keeping the public informed where General Orders were published in the New York Times. 

The patrolman’s salary in 1924 was $2500 per year. Their monthly salary was about $300.00 with only a 5% pension contribution ($125.00 per annum) PBA dues were one dollar a year and don’t forget the monthly house tax that went to the bed-maker. So one day’s pay was about $6.85, while two days (13.70) went into Article I Pension Fund. 

Richard Enright was commissioner from 1918 to 1925. He had been appointed to the force by Colonel Roosevelt in 1896. He served this probation period at the old Oak Street station (4th Pct) and after making good as a probationer was appointed patrolman on November 21, 1896. Enright was promoted to roundsman, December 29, 1902 and sergeant December 7, 1905 and police commissioner. January 23, 1918. He also served as president of both rank’s benevolent associations. Note: roundsman became sergeant and sergeant became lieutenant in 1908 

According to John J. Hickey “Enright was number one on two eligible lists, but while he was promoted to acting captain, Mayor Mitchell could not see Enright promoted to captain.” It seems they were all afraid of the General Bingham, who ruled the police department with an iron hand (1906-09) and rugged leadership brought political protest. Enright was the first commissioner to come from the ranks and his first thing was to give all the old men in service a soft details. 

Fifty years later, police commissioners help force the old timers into retirement by putting them out on patrol. Remember the civilianization of the precincts with the Police Administrative Aides in the 1970s. One cop was replaced by three civilians in the clerical office. Usually a precinct had a roll call man that prepared the roll call with carbon copies for all three tours. The fourth platoon (6 PM- 2 AM) brought in additional help. 

Today, the Department Advocate’s Office (Trial Room) was civilianized by Ray Kelly (2005) and its legal staff are no longer staffed with law school graduates that were police officers. Today, the department’s objective is to keep department trails are down and negotiations are up. The department has tried to sell that they have more credibility with the public and fewer cases brought to trial means less unnecessary anxiety for police officers. 

Some interesting reading “Our Police Guardians” by Patrolman John J. Hickey Shield #787 NYPD written in 1925 that he dedicated to the Honorable Richard Enright, Police Commissioner. Apparently he liked Enright, but the book deals with a history of the Police Department and the men who patrolled the streets of New York City in the days before Prohibition. 

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