The NYPD's First Fifty Years


The NYPD's First Fifty Years

Politicians, Police Commissioners, and Patrolmen

Bernard Whalen and Jon Whalen
Foreword by William J. Bratton

288 pages
21 photographs, 1 chronology, 1 appendix


January 2015


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eBook (PDF)
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January 2015


$27.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The New York Police Department is an iconic symbol of one of the world’s most famous cities. The blue uniforms of the men and women who serve on the force have long stood for integrity and heroism in the work to serve and protect the city’s residents. And yet, as in any large public organization, the NYPD has also suffered its share of corruption, political shenanigans, and questionable leadership.


In The NYPD’s First Fifty Years Bernard Whalen, himself a long-serving NYPD lieutenant, and his father, Jon, consider the men and women who have contributed to the department’s past, both positively and less so. Starting with the official formation of the NYPD in 1898, they examine the commissioners, politicians, and patrolmen who during the next fifty years left a lasting mark on history and on one another. In the process, they also explore the backroom dealings, the hidden history, and the relationships that set the scene for the modern NYPD that so proudly serves the city today.  



Author Bio

BERNARD WHALEN has been a member of the New York Police Department since July 1981. He has received sixteen departmental recognitions, including two commendations. He is a member of the NYPD Honor Legion. He and his father, JON WHALEN, a former New York state corrections officer and retired English teacher, coauthored the novel Justifiable Homicide. WILLIAM J. BRATTON is the police commissioner of the NYPD.


The NYPD’s First Fifty Years is an insightful look into the development of America’s largest police department. It is a compelling history that chronicles the intersecting paths of politicians and patrolmen. It is written with an insider’s view of how the modern police department emerged during the early years of New York City.”—James C. Dean, retired commanding officer of the NYPD’s Emergency Service Division and adjunct professor of criminal justice at Molloy College

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Foreword by William J. Bratton



1. The Birth of the NYPD

2. The Ghost of William Devery

3. A One-Legged Police Commissioner Takes Charge

4. Politicians Take Advantage

5. Becoming a Force for Social Reform

6. Handing the Force Over to a Lieutenant

7. Police Commissioners Come and Go

8. An “Honest Cop” Leads by Example



Selected Bibliography


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