Tradition of the Billy Club or Night Stick
Billy Clubs are a tool that is a recognized symbol of police forces worldwide.
The tradition began in England with the formation of the London Police Department. This first "modern" police department was founded in 1829 by Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel. His conception of a modern police force was based on the principle of "policing by consent: Officers would earn the respect and compliance of the public instead of ruling by intimidation. The new police force would be unarmed except for the billy club. This made it the signature," Tool of the Trade" for these early police officers.
Because of the billy club's versatility and the police culture established by Robert Peel, British law enforcement's use of firearms was very limited until the mid1990's about 160 years.
Our American police forces were patterned after the London Police Department. The early officers wore similar hats (leather helmets) and carried billy clubs or night sticks, these became prestigious "Tools of the Trade". In New York batons made of finely carved woods and ivory were given to officers as symbols of their authority. These particular night sticks were for ceremonial use, swearing in, promotion or retirement thus establishing the tradition.
Though they have fallen out of favor as a duty tool of the trade; the Billy Club or Night Stick is an established part of police department history. Today a Billy Club can be used as a symbolic appointment gift, retirement gift or memorial plaque remembering a proud, faithful or honored Police career.
We at stationhousegifts.com mount our hand turned hardwood Night Sticks to continue this traditional way of recognizing our police brothers for their service. We hope to recall their tradition in a way that a Police Officer would be proud to display and a department to present.
Excerpts from PoliceOne.com history