True or false:
Today’s Philadelphia Police Department was formed under the Consolidation Act of 1854, which combined the city and county of Philadelphia under a single jurisdiction.
Law enforcement in Philadelphia’s earliest days consisted of constables who enforced judicial decision and regulated “leisure activities,” such as gambling. Once William Penn obtained a charter for the state of Pennsylvania in 1681, he appointed a sheriff to help maintain order among the populace. In 1700, the Common Council formed the night watch to help keep the constables informed of criminal doings. In 1751, a city ordinance was passed that formed the Board of Wardens to oversee the night watch, as well as maintain lamps in each city ward, and paid wages to both watchmen and the constables. This law enforcement situation held fast in the city for a century.
After years of debate, the Act of Consolidation was passed in 1854. It brought together under a single government the concentrated city of Philadelphia with vastly rural Philadelphia County. The Philadelphia Police Department was formed to regulate a population of nearly a half million people. The department is recognized as one of the nation’s oldest city-run policing agencies.