behind the blue line by feds by nleomf

History’s Blotter: Ben Franklin on How to Improve the Nightwatch

In 1788, Benjamin Franklin, statesman, inventor, businessman, and founding father, was in his eighties and looking back on his long life.

The previous year he had represented Pennsylvania, along with several other delegates, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and helped to create the founding document that still guides the nation. His mind naturally turned to one of the first times his thoughts had touched on the concept of “public affairs.” It was in 1737, when he wrote a recommendation on the city watch of Philadelphia.

The City Watch was one of the first Things that I conceiv’d to want Regulation. It was managed by the Constables of the respective Wards in Turn. The Constable warn’d a Number of Housekeepers to attend him for the Night. Those who chose never to attend paid him Six Shillings a Year to be excus’d, which was suppos’d to be for hiring Substitutes; but was in reality much more than was necessary for that purpose, and made the Constableship a Place of Profit. And the Constable for a little Drink often got such Ragamuffins about as a Watch, that reputable Housekeepers did not chuse to mix with. Walking the rounds too was often neglected, and most of the Night spent in Tippling.

Mr. Franklin’s solution to the problem—hiring “proper men” for a full-time Watch and paying for them with a tax on homeowners proportional to their wealth—might not seem particularly innovative today, but it was a major change for the time. According to his memoirs, Franklin’s plan was not approved immediately, but it prepared “the Minds of the People for the Change” and was essentially implemented in 1745.


For more information about the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, please visit nleomf.org. For more information about the National Law Enforcement Museum, please visit nleomf.org/museum.

Posted in Behind the Blue Line

Tags: NLEOMF

PrintEmail

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

You can't afford NOT to have FEDS protection.

Visit FEDS Online

This Week on FEDtalk

Supplemental Insurance Options for Feds

Learn from insurance experts as they discuss your best options for long term care and life insurance. Host Debra Roth will be joined in-studio by Joan Melanson of Long Term Care Partners, and Shane Canfield of WAEPA.

Read more ...

Hear it from FLEOA

FLEOA Foundation 2016 Custom Corvette Z06 Raffle

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) Foundation and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) teamed up to raffle a 2016 Custom Built Wide Body Chevrolet Corvette Zo6.

Read more ...
FEDagent

FEDagent.com

The free weekly e-report for Federal Law Enforcement

Get in touch with us

Email FEDagent publisher

Copyright 2017 FEDagent.com
Hosted by Peak Media Company, LLC