William Lent

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Past Commander 1907-1908

William Lent
William Lent
Captain of Police 1907-1908

   Captain William Lent held the distinction of being the last to hold the rank of Captain of Police, thus being the leader of the Yonkers Police Department. He was born in Dobbs Ferry on June 18, 1856, and after coming to Yonkers, lived at 199 North Broadway. Upon being hired on November 19, 1880 at the age of 23 years, young Lent was responsible for the arrests of several persons for committing burglaries and other crimes. He quickly earned a reputation for being very capable and following through on all his assignments. Starting from the early days following his appointment, he displayed that diligence to duty that stood throughout his entire career in the department, and which won for him the promotions which made him the highest ranking office in the department.

   Lent received his first promotion to Roundsman on June 23, 1897. For a time, Yonkers was plagued by a large nuisance problem, where NYC residents would come to Yonkers in large numbers to gamble on dog fights. Lent was ordered to put a stop to it, which he did. However, the NYC gamblers then came up the river by the hundreds on barges, to continue gambling on the dog fights right off the Yonkers shore. This activity was also stopped permanently.

   On May 8, 1899, William Lent was promoted to Sergeant, and consequently took on much greater responsibilities. While naturally reserved in nature, he rigidly enforced the rules of the department. When Capt. Woodruff retired, Sgt. Lent competed for the position with two other sergeants. When the Board of Police Commissioners notified him on July 1, 1907, that he had been chosen to head the department, Lent reportedly said, " I hope that I will never give you reason to believe that your confidence in me has been misplaced".

   Upon attaining the leadership of our department, Capt. Lent began a vigorous campaign to convince the Board of Police Commissioners that all policemen should be proficient in the use of their firearm. He pointed out that, when a man is appointed a policeman, he is immediately sent out on patrol with a gun in his pocket, with no firearms training. Although his belief was very logical, his idea was not warmly received by the administration. Their objection being, if the officers were trained during on duty time, the dept. would be short officers on patrol.

   Upon his retirement on June 1, 1920, it was said that in addition to having won recognition for himself, he inspired the men under his command, and won for him their respect and wholehearted support. If they did their job, the officers could find no better friend than Captain Lent.

   After only a little more than a year in retirement, Captain William H. Lent died November 20, 1921 at the age of 65 years.