Ask any child, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and you might receive this classic answer: "a police officer." Colloquially referred to as the fuzz, cops, or boys in blue, police officers ensure safety and protection for citizens on a local level.
These fascinating historical photos offer a rare glimpse at police through the decades, from the segregated, male-only forces of the early 20th century, to 21st-century first responders sent to quell politically charged unrest. These photos brilliantly capture the storied past of some of our most recognizable civil servants.
Chicago Police Officers During The Chicago City Railway Strike Of 1903Photo: Chicago History Museum/Archive Photos / Getty Images
New York City Police Officers Checking Out A Seven-Pound Automatic RiflePhoto: Bettmann / Getty Images
NYC Motorcycle Officers Circa 1910, Wearing Newly Issued Revolver Holster BeltsPhoto: George Rinhart/Corbis Historical / Getty Images
The First Female Traffic Officer In Washington, DC, Circa 1918Photo: Universal History Archive / Getty Images