Archives Guide ~ Police Department (0600)

Historical note

Chapter 5 of the Acts of 1761-1762 established a watch for the safety and better securing the good order of the Town of Boston. Chapter 110 of the Acts of 1821 vested in the Mayor and Aldermen the administration of the police formerly exercised by the Selectmen. Chapter 123 of the Acts of 1838 granted the Mayor and Aldermen the power to appoint police officers with all or any of the powers of the constables except the power of serving and executing any civil process.

Chapter 354 of the Acts of 1853 authorized and empowered the City Council to consolidate the Watch and Police Departments into one department. This act was accepted by the City Council on June 2, 1853. A new organization of the Police Department under the authority of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen took effect on May 26, 1854. The two departments were formally united by Ordinance passed May 19, 1855.

Chapter 244 of the Acts of 1878 established a Board of Police Commissioners appointed by the Mayor. Chapter 323 of the Acts of 1885 established a Board of Police consisting of three citizens appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Governor's Council.

Chapter 291 of the Acts of 1906 placed the department in charge of a single head appointed by the Governor to be known as the Police Commissioner. Chapter 322 of the Acts of 1962 transferred the power to appoint the Police Commissioner back to the Mayor.



0600.001 Retirement orders 1878-1903 1 volume

Scope and Contents note
One volume of retirement orders received by the Auditing Department from the Board of Police, 1878-1903. Includes form documenting name of officer retired, placement on pension roll and amount to be received.



0600.002 Index of Victuallers 1878-1879 1 volume

Scope and Contents note
One index volume of licenses granted for victuallers, 1878-1879. Includes date, name and address.


0600.003 Licenses for Intoxicating Liquors 1875-1885 8 volumes

Scope and Contents note
Includes records of licenses issued and indexes to licenses filed initially with the Board of License Commissioners and then with the Police Commissioner.


0600.004 Photograph 1945 1 photograph

Scope and Contents note
Photograph of Boston Police Class, 1945 January 6.



0600.005 Program 1941 1 program

Scope and Contents note
Boston Police Relief Association Annual Ball and Concert program, 1941.


0600.006 Annual reports and publications 1870-2007 78 volumes

Scope and Contents note
Includes annual reports of the Police Commissioner for 1871, 1910, 1927, 1933-1934, 1936, 1939, 1945, 1950, 1955, 1958-1960, 1962-1970, 1974-1976, 1999 and 2007; annual reports of the Boston Police Relief Association for 1911, 1913-1915, 1918-1920, 1922-1925, and 1927-1928; street directory, 1938 and circa 1970s-1980s; and miscellaneous reports and surveys.



0600.007 Rules and Regulations 1898-1992 8 volumes

Scope and Contents note
Includes printed Rules and Regulations of the Boston Police Department from 1898, 1903, 1909, 1927, 1941 and 1950; Rules and Procedures, 1992; and Rules and Regulations for Hackney Carriages from 1948.


0600.008 Sample forms circa 1860s 1 flat box

Scope and Contents note
Includes sample forms used by the Metropolitan Police Department of London, England in the 1860s. Forms include "Child Found" poster, "Returns of Crimes" report, "Sick leave" report, etc.