From the Richmond Examiner, 12/22/1865, p. 3, c. 4
THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE NEW POLICE. – There never was a period since the organization of the constabulary force of the city, when the exercise of energy, unswerving fidelity to duty, and sleepless vigilance was required more than now. Eight months of peace, of growing prosperity, and loose police regulations, have implanted in the gardens of Richmond society some of the most obnoxious and loathsome human fungi that God ever allowed to corrupt his footstool, Bull-necked burglars, who have grown bold and reckless by good luck and immunity from arrest, and who exhibit recklessness and disregard for consequences, by blowing open safes and breaking into stores at high noon; sleek garoters, who astonish citizens by the gorgeousness of the their street promenade costumes in daylight, and surprise them more effectually in the night time, in dark ways, by the application of the garrote, and the abstraction of their pocket books and valuables; sneak and entry thieves by the score; shoplifters, swindlers, sharpers, who regard the Decalogue no more than an almanac; unblushing scoundrels, whom humanity disavows in its society, et id genus omne of outlawed criminals, who insult the sunshine when they should be the shady occupants of the gaol and penitentiary, that have yet unoccupied cells.
More especially, and particularly, would we demand, in the name of the law, the breaking up of the dozen or more palatial gambling “hells” that, like deadly Upas trees, have grown up in the midst, in the very heart of Richmond society, luring fortunes and good names to destruction, and souls to perdition. Unlike the late military police, the Chief of Police, his subordinates, and the policemen, cannot plead ignorance (a false ignorance though it is, and amounting to a wink) of the location and status of these places. The present force – officers and privates – are, most of them, citizen born, and, if they know their alphabet, know as well as we do, that the law prohibiting the exhibition of faro is violated every hour of the day and night, within a stone’s cast of their beats. It is their sworn duty to uncloak every crime, whether it be clothed in rags, or broadcloth and ermine. If they fail to do this, and fall short of their oaths of office, they are perjured officials, and this long-suffering people will hold them responsible, in that they know their duty and do it not. Crime, emboldened and grown brazen by long sufferance, must be checked and stayed ere it overwhelms the very foundation-stone of virtuous society.