4553: A NYPD Shield and New World Coat of Arms
John Scanlon is a man of many hats: father of five children, bus driver, soldier, New York City Police Officer and immigrant to name a few of them. It is in this very photo that my grandfather, John Scanlon, proudly wears his uniform hat as seen in 1961, after his successful completion of nine weeks at the NYPD training academy. After speaking to my grandfather about this photo and its significance to him, he pointed out the shiny badge above his left breast pocket that is replicated on his cap. In the NYPD they don’t refer to these identification numbers as badges, as I had previously thought, but as “shields”. This word holds substantial meaning to my grandfather as it was a symbol that denoted honor and justice, not just his ID number. This photo reminds him of Ireland, as he sees this image as a mark of the man he had become, with his new “coat of arms”. This shield ties my Pop Pop back to his home, County Kerry, Ireland where he eagerly sent this very photo to show all that he'd succeeded in bringing financial and social stability to his family during his time in America. The photo marks an important turning point in his life reminding him of the time he felt he'd really made it here in the States thanks to the steady source of income the profession provided. He also found the work to be fulfilling, as he strove to bring safety, justice and honor to his community and to the Irish immigrants who had stepped foot in this country before him, and paved the way, making this life possible for him.
– Bridget Scanlon