From the moment in 1818 that the Erie Canal began to carry boats, large numbers of people and huge amounts of freight were traveling back and forth along it. As the canal expanded, so did the traffic. With so many people and so much cargo mixing and moving around almost anything could happen – and often did.
Not surprisingly, law enforcement agencies across New York state found themselves faced with new responsibilities, new challenges, and new laws. More than 200 years later the task is still large and complex.
At 2 p.m. Thursday, May 18, historian and retired Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jonathan Anderson will present a public program on policing the Erie Canal, at the History Center of Niagara County. He will look at urban vs. rural canal districts, the juvenile canal boys, the sabatarian movement, the Underground Railroad, canalway laws, and the development of law enforcement during the canal era. He will bring several items of equipment and a reproduction 1890s Syracuse Police uniform for the audience to see.
The program is free and open to the public, and will take place at 215 Niagara St., Lockport.