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The NYPD’s black family tradition
Patrolman David Richard Siley, on duty in the 32 Precinct in Harlem in the early 1950s.
One of the most enduring strengths of the NYPD and its officers is that, with many
of them, the policing profession is a matter of family legacy. In Black History Month, we
salute the black NYPD officers family tradition that began almost 130 years ago – ever
since Moses P. Cobb became one of the first two black New Yorkers to enter the
Brooklyn Police Department in 1892 before it consolidated with the NYPD in 1898. Cobb
encouraged his brother-in-law, Samuel J. Battle, to become a cop, and Battle joined the
NYPD in 1911, became its first black sergeant in 1926, its first lieutenant in 1935 and the
city’s first black parole commissioner in 1941.
A more recent example is Mark D. Siley, a Transit cop, who partnered with retired
PBA Second Vice-President Mubarak Abdul-Jabbar to patrol the subways in the 1980s.
Siley was the son of a New York City patrolman, David Richard Siley, who joined the
department in 1949, retiring in 1972 as a second grade detective.
“I grew up in a police family and always wanted to be a police officer, ever since I
Police Benevolent Association
125 Broad Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10004 • 212-233-5531 Patrick J. Lynch, President
of the City of New York, Inc.
was a kid,” says Siley, who was a detective
sergeant in the Organized Crime Control
Bureau when he retired in 2015. “My
father approved of my choice, but he
advised me that what I could make of a
police career would be entirely up to me
and how I would motivate myself. And
‘watch your back,’ he would always add.”
Unfortunately, David Richard Siley
died two months before his son entered
the police academy in 1984, but Mark
Siley never forgot his father’s wise words,
and went on to continue the NYPD’s
Retired Detective Sergeant Mark D. Siley (right) and his
former partner, retired PBA Second Vice-President Mubarak
Abdul-Jabbar, pose next to the photo of Siley’s patrolman
father David Richard Siley in the PBA office.