Did You Know? The history of America’s first police department

Did you know that the first publicly funded police department in America started in Boston in 1838?

Due to the rapid growth of urbanization in the 17th century, cities like that of Boston would establish what would be known as Night-Watch Officers, which were volunteers that banded together as a means to keep order and peace. Though Night-Watch Officers were in place as early as 1636, the growth of cities got to the point of becoming too big for simple volunteers to patrol, which would spark a need for change in how American cities were to be protected from crime. 

With the growth of cities emerging, something had to be done, and as the Night-Watch Officers would come to an end, a publicly funded version would fall into place in 1838, establishing the very first Police Department in Boston. 

As cities grew, other departments would begin to emerge all across America, creating a lineage that would continue to evolve. 

As of 2023 there are now almost 18,000 police agencies all throughout America to provide order, and peace. 



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