Auxiliary Police: The Citizen's Approach to Public Safety

Auxiliary Police: The Citizen's Approach to Public Safety

Auxiliary Police: The Citizen's Approach to Public Safety

Auxiliary Police: The Citizen's Approach to Public Safety


Martin Alan Greenberg explores the origins of the two major types of citizen volunteer police--auxiliary and reserve--and examines the history and current practices of volunteer policing. The heart of the book deals with the history of New York City's volunteer police and the inner workings of the New York City Auxiliary Police, a subject the author knows intimately from his twelve years' experience as a participant-observer. Greenberg analyzes and evaluates current issues in volunteer policing. Based on his findings, he projects increased community involvement in volunteer police forces.


One of the fringe benefits of service as a judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York is the opportunity of enlarging one's sphere of knowledge. In my years of service on the bench, I have learned a great deal about the organization and workings of the New York City Police Department. But not until I read Martin Greenberg study on Auxiliary Police, did I learn the story of the origin and development of the city's Auxiliary Police Force.

In common with many others concerned with law enforcement, I had formed the erroneous impression that the force was of fairly recent origin. Then, in 1972, I had occasion to research the matter in the course of writing an opinion dismissing charges against a Queens auxiliary policeman, Robert Jackson. At that time, I learned that the current legal status of the auxiliary police was defined in legislation originally enacted in World War II days and revived during the Korean War in 1951.

Had Mr. Greenberg's work been available at that time, I would have discovered that New York's Auxiliary Police originated with the planning of Arthur Woods, who became the city's police commissioner in 1914. In 1915, Commissioner Woods conceived the idea of a "Citizens Home Defense League," which, by 1916, had enlisted 21,000 volunteers in its ranks.

In his fascinating study, Mr. Greenberg, formerly president of the Auxiliary Police Benevolent Association, shows how the city's Auxiliary Police Force has grown stronger or weaker, or, at times, has disappeared entirely from the local scene, depending on the support given to the force by the mayor; how the organization was sometimes tolerated only as a branch of the civil defense program and how today the volunteer police force has come to be regarded as an important factor in crime deterrence.

This is a story that has never before been told with such particularity. It is a tribute to Martin Greenberg's scholarship that the facts have been brought together and presented in such meticulously detailed yet readable form.

It is a melancholy fact that of the several million crimes reported annually, about one in nine results in a conviction. In the most common crime categories, burglary, larceny and auto theft, fewer than one crime in five leads to an arrest and fewer than one out of twelve in conviction.

Every commentator of note, dealing with the problem of crime, has stressed the need for community concern with law enforcement. One of the most noted . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.