Philadelphia Police essay

The lengthy short history of the Philadelphia Police Department that I wrote for the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia is now up on their site. I finished the essay back in May 2016, so I’m happy that it is now finally published.

At the very end of the essay, you can find a list of “related readings.” The editors appear to have cut the “additional sources” due, I imagine, to space constraints, so I’ve posted both here, in case anyone wants the “full” bibliography I used to write the damn thing.

It was a fun and challenging exercise to condense over 200 years of the history of one institution into 2,000 words. (Okay, they originally asked for 1,000 words.) But it was worth it.

While researching this history, I learned two basic things about the urban police institution: 1) the core function of police has changed very little since the first state-controlled municipal police forces were established in the 1840s and 2) day-to-day policing has changed dramatically, since police are no longer the dog-catchers, the ambulance-drivers, the gaslight monitors, the homeless shelters, the primary enforcers of parking fines. Shedding these activities over time has stripped away a lot but it has also left a basic core that I cannot imagine will ever totally dissipate unless we do away with police entirely. That core function, which every student of police knows, is to handle any situation that arises which may require the use of force. So, even as the range of activity that police are expected to do has eroded, they continue to perform catch-call order-maintenance—that is both their indispensable and their terrible power.

All right, here’s the biblio for “Police Department (Philadelphia)”:

Related Reading:

Baldwin, Fred D. “Smedley D. Butler and Prohibition Enforcement in Philadelphia, 1924-1925.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 84, no. 3 (1960): 352-368.

Bowen, Daniel. A History of Philadelphia, With a Notice of Villages, in the Vicinity, Embellished with Engravings, Designed as a Guide to Citizens and Strangers (Philadelphia, 1839)

Burt, Nathaniel, and Wallace E. Davies. “The Iron Age, 1876-1905.” In Philadelphia: A 300 Year History, edited by Russell F. Weigley, 471-523. New York: Norton, 1982.

Clark, Jr., Joseph S. and Dennis J. Clark, “Rally and Relapse, 1946-1968.” In Philadelphia: A 300 Year History, edited by Russell F. Weigley, 649-703. New York: Norton, 1982.

Geffen, Elizabeth M. “Industrial Development and Social Crisis, 1841-1854.” In Philadelphia: A 300 Year History, edited by Russell F. Weigley, 307-62. New York: Norton, 1982.

Paolantonio, S. A. Frank Rizzo: The Last Big Man in Big City America. Philadelphia: Camino Books, 1993.

Rubinstein, Jonathan. “A Brief History of the Philadelphia Police Department.” The Police Chief (September 2003): 36-38.

Sprogle, Howard O. The Philadelphia Police, Past and Present. Philadelphia, 1887.

Steinberg, Allen. The Transformation of Criminal Justice: Philadelphia, 1800-1880. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989.

Walker, Samuel. A Critical History of Police Reform: The Emergence of Professionalism. Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1977.

Additional Sources

Bentley, Bryan. “Old Attitudes and New Beginnings: The Philadelphia Police and MOVE: 1972-1992.” MA Thesis, Temple University, 2014.

Bredell, Kyle. “Black Panther High: Racial Violence, Student Activism, and the Policing of Philadelphia Public Schools.” M.A. thesis, Temple University, 2013.

Brown, G. Gordon. Law Administration and Negro-White Relations in Philadelphia: A Study in Race Relations. Philadelphia: Bureau of Municipal Research, 1947.

Committee of Seventy. Philadelphia Police Department Governance Study. Philadelphia: The Committee, 1998.

Corbo, Angela M. “‘Just a Bunch of Broads’: The Integration Experiences of Four Pioneering Women in the Philadelphia Police Department.” Ph.D. Diss., University of Pennsylvania, 2004.

Fachner, George, and Steven Carter. An Assessment of Deadly Force in the Philadelphia Police Department. Washington, D.C.: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, 2015.

Johnson, Karl E. “Black Philadelphia in Transition: The African American Struggle on the Homefront During World War II and the Cold War Period, 1941-1963.” Ph.D. Diss., Temple University, 2001.

Kephart, William. Racial Factors and Urban Law Enforcement. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1957.

Lohman, Joseph D., and Gordon E. Misner. The Police and the Community: The Dynamics of Their Relationship in a Changing Society. Volume 2. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1966.

Lombardo, Timothy J. “Making Blue-Collar Conservatism: Race, Class, and Politics in Frank Rizzo’s Philadelphia.” Ph.D. Diss., Purdue University, 2013.

Markowitz, Paula R., and Walter I. Summerfield, Jr. “Philadelphia Police Practice and the Law of Arrest.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 100, no. 8 (June 1952): 1182-1216.

“Militarization By County Via The Law Enforcement Support Office,”, accessed November 15, 2015.

Pennsylvania Crime Commission. Report on Police Corruption and the Quality of Law Enforcement in Philadelphia. Harrisburg, Penn.: Pennsylvania Crime Commission, 1974.

Philadelphia Police Study Task Force. Philadelphia and Its Police: Toward a New Partnership: A Report. Philadelphia, 1987.

Robin, Gerald D. “Justifiable Homicide by Police Officers.” The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science 54, no. 2 (1963): 225-231.

Tal, Bruria. “Civilian Oversight of Police In Philadelphia: The First 50 Years.” (November 2003):**

Thompson, Anna J. “A Survey of Crime among Negroes in Philadelphia.” Opportunity 4 (July-September 1926): 217-19, 251-54, 285-86.

White, Michael D. “Examining the Impact of External Influences on Police Use of Deadly Force Over Time.” Evaluation Review. 27, no. 1 (February 2003): 50-78.

**Any bibliography on Philadelphia police should include this vital source, though, alas, I discovered it after I had submitted the essay for publication.

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