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Police Department

[Record group 79]
Agency home page.
Agency Function
The mission of the Police Department is to enhance the quality of life for City residents by enforcing the law, reducing the fear and incidence of crime, and ensuring public order and safety.

Administrative Subunits
Major off-street functions of the Police Department include:
Training Bureau
Oversees the Police Academy and a broad range of in-service programs.
Communications Bureau
Manages radio and 911 operations.
Staff Services Bureau
Coordinates such functions as laboratory work, evidence tracking, and maintaining criminal records.
Internal Investigations Bureau
Charged with ensuring the integrity of the police force.
Other bureaus and units that provide support functions such as:
  • human resources,
  • information systems,
  • research and planning, and
  • general administration.

Agency History
Prior to 1830 the City's police system consisted only of nightly watchmen's patrols directed by the constables of each ward. An ordinance of December 30 of that year first established a "police patrol" which served throughout the day as well as night. Many ordinances extended the scope of the system; in 1833 the City Commissioners' function of lighting the streets was transferred to it and in 1841 a full-scale Police Department was created under the direction of the Mayor. The Marshal Bill (Act of May 3, 1850) established a Philadelphia Police District which embraced the City and the adjoining Districts of Spring Garden, Kensington, the Northern Liberties, Richmond, Penn, Southwark and Moyamensing. A forerunner of the City-County consolidation of 1854, this new organization solved problems that had arisen through the demarcation of police powers at City and District boundaries. With the Consolidation a County-wide Department of Police was established and duties in regard to street lighting were transferred to the Department of Gas. After 1857 the Department of Police was headed by a Chief appointed by the Mayor; in 1859 a Detective Division was formed within the Department and in the following year a River and Harbor Police were added to it. In 1864 the office of Fire Marshal was created within the Department, where it remained until 1937. In pursuance of the Bullitt Bill the Department was transferred in 1887 to the then-established Department of Public Safety as the Bureau of Police. With the adoption of the City Charter of 1951 and the abolishment of the Department of Public Safety the present Police Department was organized.

Archival Records
79.1 Annual Report (1884, 1885, 1895, 1897, 1902-1906, 1908-1923, 1948, 1950, 1952-1990)

79.2 Commissioner's Office. Files (1956-1959)

79.3 Manuals and Books of Rules (1855, 1869, 1898, 1952)

79.4 Detective Division. Court Dispositions of Arrests (1884-1913, 1929-1938; missing: January-August 1929, June 1930-January 1931, April 1934-February 1937, April-December 1938)

79.4a Detective Division. Register of Descriptions of Criminals (16 July 1892 - 23 January 1897, 2 September 1902 - 16 November 1907)

79.4b Detective Division. Criminal Court Record (2 July 1912-15 May 1918)

79.4c Detective Division. Case Files (1926-1951)

79.4d Detective Division. Labor Squad. Files (1934-1953)

79.4e Detective Division. White Papers (November 1983 - December 1984)

79.4f Detective Division. Annual Reports (1955-1958)

79.5 Juvenile Aid Bureau. Case Records (1952-1958)

79.6 North Central Police Division. Administrative Files (1964)

79.7 North Central Police Division. Patrol Log (1964)

79.8 North Central Police Division. Complaint and Assignment Journal (1964)

79.9 North Central Police Division. Burglary and Robbery Investigation Reports (1964)

79.10 North Central Police Division. "Sending and Receiving Sheets" (1964)

79.11 North Central Police Division. Statistics (1964)

79.12 North Central Police Division. Service Copy of Charge (1964)

79.13 North Central Police Division. Daily Clearance Lists (1964)

79.14 North Central Police Division. Closed Cases (1964)

79.15 North Central Police Division. Daily Attendance Sheets (July - December 1964)

79.16 Arrest Register (1933, 1939-1967)

79.17 Robbery Journal (1953-1966)

79.18 Special Investigation Squad. Register of Arrests (25 November 1948 - 28 January 1952; 3 January 1954 - 30 December 1961)

79.19 Special Investigation Squad. Arrest Case Files (1958, 1960-1962, 1964-1965 )

79.20 Central Division. Administrative Files (1967)

79.21 Juvenile Aid Division. Administrative Files (1965-1967)

79.22 Juvenile Aid Division. Offense Investigation Reports (1966-1967)

79.23 Community Relations Unit. Files (1963-1968)

79.24 Marine Unit. Files (1967-1970)

79.25 Airport Police. Reports (1967)

79.26 Labor Unit. Files (1967)

79.27 Police Letter Books (March 1910 - August 1913; missing: January - February 1910, May 1910 - November 1911, April 1912 - January 1913, May - July 1913.)

79.28 Clipping Book (1916)

79.29 Summary Sheets (1964)

79.30 Vice Square. Register of Arrests (15 May 1930 - 4 February 1933; 5 June - 30 December 1939)

79.31 Headquarters Detail # 2. Register of Arrests. (3 February 1928 - 22 January 1929)

79.32 Special Squad # 1. Register of Arrests and Liquor Seizures (3 February 1928 - 31 August 1933)

79.33 Officers and Patrolmen (1 April 1881 - 1 April 1887)

79.34 North Central Detective Division. Columbia Avenue Riot Records (1964)

79.35 Detective Bureau. Record of Receipt of Photograph (January 1946 - September 1948)

79.36 Deputy Commissioner, Uniform Forces. Event Files (1975)

79.37 Northeast Detective Division. Detective Survey: Results of Warnings to Defendants and Suspects. (5 January 1969 - 27 December 1969)

79.38 Log of Outstanding Events (1959)

79.39 Warrant Book (April 8, 1916 - December 31, 1925)

79.40 Vice Complaints (1 January 1924 - 8 February 1928)

79.41 Consolidated Monthly Report and Classification of Nativities (January 1882 - February 1891, July 1905 - December 1912)

79.42 Police Court of Inquiry. Hearings Docket. (18 April - 7 December 1911 and 19 October 1921 - 29 May 1922)

79.42a Police Board of Inquiry Cases (1951-1964)

79.42b Commissioner's Direct Action Cases (1958-1964)

79.43 Officers' and Surgeons' Reports of Sick and Injured (May 1916 - January 1918)

79.44 New Patrolmen's Book (5 April 1887 - 3 December 1895)

79.45 Substitutes Book (6 April 1881 - 18 February 1899, 5 November 1903 - 16 March 1916)

79.46 Roll Books (31 August 1854 - 15 March 1907)

79.47 Roster Books (1907, 1911, 1921, 1925)

79.48 Police Transfer Book (30 March 1920 - 31 December 1921)

79.49 Staff Services, Indentification Unit. Indentification Records (1940-1942, 1950-1971)

79.50 Policewomen's Unit, Crime Prevention Division. Annual Reports (1948-1950)

79.51 Policewomen's Unit, Crime Prevention Division. "The Philadelphia Policewoman" (1948-1951)

79.52 Criminal Investigation Division. Annual Report (1954)

79.53 Intelligence Unit. Annual Report (1958)

79.54 Published Reports and Publications (1950-1967)

79.55 Police Athletic League. Annual Report (1952)

79.56 Rogues Gallery Books (ca. 1880s - ca. 1920s)

79.57 Register of Court Appearances by Police Officers (ca. 1924)

Current Records
Unavailable


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Last updated on November 8, 2000