Police Force of New York City (1910)

by popegrutch

Max Schmittberger, New York Police Inspector, 1910 (Library of Congress)

Max Schmittberger, New York Police Inspector, 1910 (Library of Congress)

This short from Edison may actually be a reissue of a 1904 film, judging by the opening title. It portrays the New York police in a variety of practice exercises, focusing on rescue and arrest operations. Many of them focus on chases of one sort or another – on horseback, motorcycle, or speedboat. There is also a section on the K9 division, for dog lovers. The boat arrest includes some obvious mock gunplay. The intertitle “stopping runaways in Central Park” actually refers to runway horses – showing how language and technology has changed over time, as well as the expected duties of the police. There is no attempt to provide characterization or narrative, we simply see single-shot depictions of the police training exercises. Locations seen include Central Park, the Hudson River near the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Riverside Park, and Broadway at 23rd Street, all of which have changed a great deal, making this an interesting historical document for architects and New Yorkers. As a depiction of the police, of course, it has to be seen as being what the Edison Studio believed people were interested in, as well as how the police themselves were comfortable being portrayed.

Director: James H. White

Run Time: 8 Min, 30 Seconds.

I haven’t found a free version of this online. If you find one, message me or comment!