FANWOOD, NJ -- After World War II ended, thousands of men returned home to New York City without jobs and had to figure out what to do with their lives. Tom Rowan was one of them.
He saw an ad in the newspaper for the upcoming Civil Service test. The exam was very competitive; over 100,000 men took it. Mr. Rowan placed at No. 660 and entered the police academy in 1947 and was sworn in as an officer within a month.
"It was common knowledge that police officers were desparately needed," Mr. Rowan said. 
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After graduating from the academy, he and his fellow new officers were put on the streets in pairs, wearing khakis, arm bands, and silver Police badges. As a result of a police shortage during the war, little policing had been done, and crime was high. 
Mr. Rowan patrolled some of New York City's toughest neighborhoods: The Bowery, Harlem and The Village, but his favorite beat was Midtown. 

"There was so much action, it was routine," he said.
Tom Rowan served as a member of the NYPD for 31 years and retired at the age of 56. Now a resident of The Chelsea at Fanwood, he last week celebrated his 99th birthday.

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