Chicago Parks System
Lincoln Park Police
The gray-coated officers of the Lincoln Park police force, who preserve order in the Park and on the boulevards, make a picturesque as well as a necessary institution, which has grown with the growth of the Park. For the first three years of their rule, the Commissioners relied upon the city police for what protection might be necessary on the Lake Shore Drive and elsewhere outside of the old Park.
It was not until August 2, 1872, that the Park force was organized, with a sergeant and three officers. When control of the old Park was relinquished in 1873 by the city, the Park force was increased to seven men. For a number of years there was small need of policemen in the winter months, and to keep the force intact and save useless expense, the officers were allowed to lay aside their uniforms and serve the Park in the winter as carpenters. With the growth of the Park and the extension of Park control to many boulevards, additions to the force have from time to time been necessary, and under the present administration it has varied from twenty-three men in the winter months to twenty: six men in the summer, a third of the men being stationed on the boulevards.
Owing to the uniform good behavior of visitors to the Park, the duties of the officers in the matter of making arrests for violations of Park ordinances are not burdensome, the total number of arrests in the fiscal year just closed (1898) being 132.
Bicycles having become an established and recognized institution, half of the officers, including nearly all those stationed on the boulevards, patrol their respective beats on wheels.
The Park police are under the immediate supervision of Captain Richard DeShon, who entered the service in August, 1873, and has been in the department continuously since that time, except for one period of four years. Among the important duties of the members of the force are those of assisting visitors to the Park to find their various destinations, protecting flowers, birds, and squirrels from the assaults of small boys, regulating the speed of bicycles on the boulevards and drives, and looking after the interests of lost babies.
The total expenditures charged to the account of the police department have been $343,266.60.
Source: Report of the Commissioners History of Lincoln Park, Compiled by I. L. Bryan, 1899