Many notable police officers and officials of thePolice Department of the City of New York (NYPD) were Freemasons. This post will serve as a starting point for a list of these officers as they are identified. History will bear out that the leaders of the department who were Freemasons played important roles throughout the history of policing in New York City. As is the case with any organization, some were “heroes” and others “zeroes” who violated their oath of office and of Masonry.
The Police Square Club of the City of New York
Within the NYPD, there is a fraternal organization for officers who are Freemasons The Police Square Club of the City of New York is one of the many fraternal organizations officially recognized by the Police Department of the City of New York. Members are NYC Police Officers who are also Third Degree Masons & members of Lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of the State of New York. Non-NYPD Brother Masons who are members of the G.L. N.Y.S. may apply to become Associate Members of the Square Club.
Many NYPD police officials, and notable officers who earned medals during their heroic careers were Freemasons. A list will be compiled on this page, so check back soon!
On May 11, 1921, members of the Square Club travelled to the White House, Washington D.C. to meet with President Warren G. Harding. The president of the Square Club (right of the POTUS) was NYPD Lt. Alexander Knittle. Ten days later, on May 21, 1921, President Harding arrived in NYC by aeroplane for a visit.
The Square Club Medal for Merit
Until 1997, many of the fraternal and benevolent associations of the NYPD were permitted to issue medals on the occasion of the Annual Police Parade or, in later years, Medal Day. Other medals were endowed by an individual or entity and were presented annually.
Beginning in May 1948, and ending in 1997, The Police Square Club was authorized by the NYPD to present the “Square Club Medal of Merit” to an officer who distinguished “himself by an act performed intelligently in the line of duty and at imminent risk of life.”(1)
The medal was first presented to “Detective Vincent C. Consentino, 6th Detective District, who was a patrolman in the 13th Precinct at the time of occurrence. While off duty, on May 28, 1947, Consentino observed a man in a Manhattan tavern committing an armed robbery. the gunman fled from the bar into a waiting car occupied by two accomplices. Consentino confronted the three men and ordered them to surrender. The holdup man then attempted to draw a gun and was shot and wounded by Consentinoi as the car sped away. He fired two more shots at the car. A radio alarm and description of the car was transmitted. Twenty minutes later, two detectives from the 17th Detective Squad observed the car turning into Central Park. They overtook the car and after forcing it to stop arrested the three men.” (2)
Fourteen U.S. Presidents were Masons as were eight signers of the Declaration of Independence, two Astronauts, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin & John Glenn, and many other notable persons.
The Grand Lodge of NYS is headquartered in a gorgeous 1873 building located at 71 West 23rd St., NYC. Lodges meet in beautifully appointed rooms. Information about tours of the Grand Lodge building & information about Masonry can be found by visiting the website: NYS Masons
What’s the Deal with Freemasonry & the PDNY; The Police Square Club of the City of New York? During research of the history of policing in NYC, it has been noted that several police officials, and officers who earned medals and Honorable Mention were Freemasons. Going forward, as names of Masons are identified, a list will be added to this page, so check back frequently & add the link to this article to your site!
Not yet a Mason? Become One! NYPD + Mason? Join the Square Club!
NYPDHistory.com – Lodge 473
(1 & 2) Source: Awards for Valor; the Medals of the New York City Police Department: 1871 to 1998 by the Late, Great, 1st Grade Det. John T.M. Reilly