The first Shomrim Society was established in the New York City Police Department in 1924. Capt. Jacob Kaminsky was the first president. It is rumored that a comment made to a young Jewish officer going on patrol was the spark that started this fraternal and charitable organization. At that time only 1% of the department was Jewish.
Shomrim really blossomed in New York during the depression years. Civil service jobs provided the only secure means of making a living in those days. The civil service lists of 1935-37 added 400 new Shomrim members.
In 1939 33,000 people took the test. Of that only 1440 passed and one-third of them were Jews. Most of them were college graduates out of work teachers, lawyers, accountants, and even two doctors. By the mid-1960s this “class of 1940” had filled such positions as Chief Inspector (the highest uniformed rank), a female Deputy Chief Inspector, the Chief of Detectives, Chief of the Organized Crime Bureau, and Chief of the Narcotics Division; in effect, it was the class “the stars” fell on.
Today, Jewish Police Officers hold many different positions and almost every rank in the NYC Police Department. Our Spiritual Director Rabbi Dr. Alvin Kass serves as the Chief Chaplain for the department and has been providing guidance in his role since 1966!
We have benevolent aspects to our society such as a college scholarship fund for members’ children, burial assistance for our members as well as an annual Passover distribution event named for our former Assistant Spiritual Director Rabbi Jack M. Sable.