Irish Police

Why in the 30’s (especially in cartoons) are police portrayed as being Irish, alwyas named O’Malley or something like that?
What makes the Irish prone to being policemen?

The first person an English speaking immigrant would meet after getting off the boat in turn-of-the-century NYC would be a representative from Tammany Hall. This man would make sure the immigrant was set up with a job and a cheep room. All the immigrant (usually Irish) had to do for this was to promise to vote the Democratic ticket in the next election. City jobs, like police work, were awarded by the Democratic political bosses. Hence, lots of Irish cops!

Agree 100% with the big bear, firemen were also ‘political appointees’. Also the job of policeman was not always the highly esteemed position it is now . It was one of the few jobs the irish could find.

In addition, before the days of civil service, you were hired for government jobs (including police work) because you knew someone. And if there were a lot of Irish in the police department, the people they knew also tended to be Irish. I believe the old New York City stereotype was that the Irish ran the police, the Germans ran the firemen, the Italians ran the sanitation department, and the Jews ran the public schools.

I asked David Feldman (Imponderables) about this once, and his response was that it was an easy way for a poor, uneducated immigrant to land a good salary.

His (not MY) $0.02.

Irish Police officers…

Its got more to do with Police officers prone
to being Irish than the Irish prone to being Police officers.
The mian point of reference for this would be American television shows like Batman
and countless others using an Irish policeman
with so much Blarney you wouldnt believe…

Blame Hollywood…
and yes, the Immigrants took any work available to them. They were extremely Undereducated when they started going to the states in the 1800’s, taking jobs building your Dams, roads and railways, working as your police, your firemen all your public service jobs really

John Larrigan:

True to an extent. But the Hollywood-supported stereotype was based on a reality. New York, Boston, and Philadelphia (along with several cities not quite as large) had police forces through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that ran as high 85% immigrant Irish (when you include second and third generations). The accents, while enhanced for the movies to make the characters stand out, were also based on reality. Until the great suburban diaspora following WWII, many people stayed in their ethnic enclaves (and new immigrants tended to move in to be with people like themselves) and the accents were preserved for several generations.
I knew at least two NY cops who spoke with a slight brogue, but who never saw Ireland until they visited after they retired. (This goes back to the early seventies.)

(Ironically, when I hitchhiked Ireland I got rides from two Yanks vistitng the old homeland–a New York cop and a Los Angeles priest.)


For what its worth, I have three uncles and a cousin in various aspects of law enforcement, all of whom ar 100% Irish(second or third generation)

“The universe doesn’t give first warnings or second chances”

Yeah, but aren’t you and they Polish?

The Irish Police, they live inside of my head,
The Irish Police, they come to me in my bed,
The Irish Police, they’re coming to arrest me, oh no!

Er . . . sorry, nothing of any usefulness here, I just couldn’t resist.

“Come on, Phonics Monkey–drum!”

Was a documentary on tv this week about NY City they spent an hour or so on the Irish immigration ( potato famine) Biggest influx of a particular ethnic group ever, they were at the bottom of the bottom till they got a toehold. I looked thru my family tree and weren’t any of my irish anncestors cops. course they were pre famine and came to the South, then to Texas. I wonder if they ever sang “Irish I was in the land of cotton.” Put the shileleigh down,I’ll be good.

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

Excuse me? If you were directing your posting to me, then as I wrote THEY are 100% Irish, I said nothing about myself. As it happens, I am part Polish, as well as Irish, Engligh and French.

“The universe doesn’t give first warnings or second chances”

Excuse me “English”

“The universe doesn’t give first warnings or second chances”

Sorry. I forgot to insert my [facetious] [/facetious] tags.

No problem.

“The universe doesn’t give first warnings or second chances”