Author Uncovers Crime, Corruption and Controversy of the NYPD

Taped on campus of NJIT, Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with Author Bruce Chadwick about his latest book, “Law and Disorder: The Chaotic Birth of the NYPD” to discuss the inside the history of the NYPD, and how the force has tackled crime, corruption and even controversy.

9/19/17 #2073






"Hi, Steve Adubato. We are coming to you from the campus of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. We are pleased to welcome Bruce Chadwick, who is the author of Law & Disorder: The Chaotic Birth of the NYPD. How you doing Bruce? I'm doing good. I am fascinated and know that people are going to be fascinated very quickly about this. So here's the deal... NYPD, New York Police Department, city police department began 1845? Right. You study it up until what period of time? 1859. Why is that such a fascinating period? It's a fascinating period for 2 reasons. One is, it's stunning to me, from the founding of the country in 1789 through the 1840's, there were no professional police? None? None. We had bungling, stumbling, corrupt constables. Constables? Most of whom were never armed, trying to preserve law and order and doing a very bad job of it. So they bring in the professional police in 1845, and those problems did not go away. You still had a really tough guy brutal police force riddled with corruption. At the same time, New York City is becoming this great fabulous city in the world and the foundation, possibly killed by the crime. Let me ask you. Crime remained high even with these professionals? It did. And issues including police brutality, corruption, what else was the case back in the mid 1800's? And some of that still exists today? Some of it does still exist today. I must say though corruption in contemporary times, the percentage of police who were involved in corruption in New York, Newark, Philadelphia, anywhere, is quite small. Dramatically different from what was? Yes, very much so. Why was it open...? Wild West, I don't want to say the Wild West... it was the Wild West. Was it really? It was. When I did this book, I said I should compare the crime statistics in New York City to the Wild West. What was going on? The statistics in Tombstone Dodge, New York City's crimewave was six times as high. What?! Yeah. Out of control. What was going on? Only about 1,100 police to patrol a city of close to a million people in 3 shifts spread over all of those areas. Very small. Guns for the first time. Burglary rings. Murders. Gangs. A lot of crimes that the police could not stop and when the police were ordered to get tough and they'd carry these 14 inch billy stick with them that they'd just whack people with, ask questions later. Right. The public completely approved of this. What do you mean approved of it? Completely approved. Of police brutality? Of police brutality..."