Baltimore Police Museum
History of Maryland Law Enforcement
1785 Baltimore WarrantUnder English common law, every person had an active responsibility for keeping the peace. This was a vital principle in colonial Maryland, a fledgling society with no police or peace officers. The responsibility included crime prevention through vigilance and the apprehension of suspected lawbreakers by groups of persons raising the "hue and cry" or the more official "posse comitatus." Persons whose previous behavior indicated that they were at risk of breaking the peace could be taken before a local court or magistrate and bound over to keep the peace, thereby, in theory, preventing crime. Adapted from the British legal system were the positions of sheriff and constable, officers of the county court who also enforced the law. Sheriffs and constables had no jurisdiction outside their own county. As population increased, county and municipal police departments were created to meet local needs. In this warrant from 1785 written in Baltimore County to be served in a Baltimore City Bailiwick is one of the oldest arrest warrant written for Baltimore City -
Arrest Warrant Dated 1785
Baltimore was formally designated a "Town" in 1729 and incorporated as a city in 1797. After the Revolution, Baltimore Town was the County Seat for Baltimore County and remained in that position until 1854. It was only in 1854 that Baltimore City enacted the position of Baltimore City Sheriff. Prior to that, the sheriff was, technically and practically, the sheriff of Baltimore City and County. So, prior to 1854, any court document from the Baltimore County sheriff would also apply to Balto. City for service or execution.
The Audley Safety Holster Company was established in the early 1900s, prior to 1905, by F. H. Audley who had previously been a Saddle, Harness, and Bootmaker. These were trades he had learned early in life as a young boy and developed over 30 in the Saddlery and Harness business.
Having started his own saddlery business in New York, at 2557 Third Avenue (Near 139th Street), in approximately 1876 and operating until 1885, F. H. Audley closed his business and went into business with Mr. P. H. Comerford remaining in Saddlery, Harness & Boot making. In 1891, Frank H. Audley went back into business himself and although making quality saddlery and boots, he struggled over the next 10 years until the turn of the century.
In the early 1900s, F. H. Audley moved his shop to 8 Centre Market Place, across from Police Headquarters and it was at this time he starting getting a lot of exposure to Police equipment. From this time, F. H. Audley filed many patents for various pieces of Police equipment which he developed and sold to many of the New York City Police Officers that utilized the services from his accessible location.
The most famous of these inventions was the Audley Safety Holster which F. H. Audley applied for patents in 1912 and they were approved on October 13, 1914. The holster incorporates a spring-loaded steel catch in the body of the holster which securely holds the pistol in place. It can only be released by using the index finger to depress the catch. It is virtually impossible for anyone other than the person wearing the holster to do this. No other retaining strap is required.
They were popular with many officers in WW1 and were also used by many American Police Departments. The Audley Company was taken over by the Folsom Arms Co., which in turn was absorbed by the Cortland Bootjack Co, and eventually became the Jaypee holster company. This particular model was probably used by a motorcycle or horse-mounted officer of the 1920-30 period.
Francis H. Audley Died in May of 1916 and by chance, I was able to find a copy of the Obituary from the New York Times May 11, 1916
Please contact Det. Ret. Kenny Driscoll if you have any pictures of you or your family members and wish them remembered here on this tribute site to Honor the fine men and women who have served with Honor and Distinction at the Baltimore Police Department.
Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll