In 1895, Theodore Roosevelt received an invitation from New York City's Progressive Mayor, William Strong, to become a Commissioner of the New York City Police Board. Due to T.R.'s influence, he was elected President of the Board. New York's Finest were infamous as the most corrupt cops in America at the time.
Police Board President Roosevelt established the first Police Academy in the U.S., pioneered bicycle patrols, promoted civil service reforms for recruitment and promotion of officers, hired minority officers (including female clerks), created meritorious service medals, had telephones installed in station houses, fought the endless and endemic corruption of the N.Y.P.D., and established a Municipal Lodging House for Waifs through the Board of Charities.
His reformist zeal soon sickened a number of his fellow Police Board members who acted together to block his reforms (and incidentally maintain their own bribetaking systems). Finally frustrated, Roosevelt quit the Police Board in 1897, but subsequently, as Governor of New York State, T.R. signed an act in March 1901 to replace the corrupt, bureaucratic, and politicized Board of Police Commissioners with a single Police Commissioner.