April 13, 1837.
An Act relating to Police Courts.
Offenders may be punished by fine instead of imprisonment.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
Whenever any person shall be convicted, by a justice of the peace or police court, of any offence mentioned in the one hundred and forty-third chapter of the Revised Statutes, and which may be punished by imprisonment, he may instead thereof, at the discretion of the court, be punished by fine, not exceeding twenty dollars, either with or without a condition, that if the same be not paid within a time fixed by the court, with the costs of prosecution, he shall suffer any such imprisonment as is provided in said chapter ; and such conditional sentence shall be carried into execution, according to the provision of the second and third sections of the
one hundred and thirty-ninth chapter of the Revised Statutes.
[Approved by the Governor, April 13, 1837.]
An Act concerning the Police of Boston.
He it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows :
The mayor and aldermen of Boston may, from Mayor and aidermen may appoint time to time, appoint such police officers for said police officers of the city, as they may judge necessary, with all or any of the powers of the constables of said city, except the power of serving and executing any civil process ; and the said police officers shall hold their offices during the pleasure of the said mayor and aldermen.
[Approved by the Governor, April 17, 1838.]
History of the Police
"While some regard slave patrol as the first formal attempt at policing in America, others identify the unification of police departments in several major cities in the early to mid-1800s as the beginning point in the development of modern policing in the United States."
"Sir Robert Peel’s position on these matters was clear when he formed the London Metropolitan Police Department. He wanted his officers to wear distinguishable uniforms so that citizens could easily identify them. He did not want his officers armed, and he hired and trained his officers in a way that would allow them to use the appropriate type of response and force when interacting with citizens. American police officers felt that the uniforms would make them the target of mockery (resulting in less legitimacy with citizens) and that the level of violence occurring in the United States at that time warranted them carrying firearms and using force whenever necessary."