Coal and Iron policeman, on right, with coal miners, circa 1890.
flipFlip to Pennsylvania State Police, circa 1910.
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Three adult miners and one young lad pose for a picture with a policeman.

Credit: Special Collections and Archives, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Created by the Pennsylvania state legislature in the 1860s, the Coal and Iron police were private police forces with the power to investigate, arrest, and imprison. By the 1890s Pennsylvania coal companies were hiring street thugs from Philadelphia and other cities to keep the peace and to enforce their will. Despite decades of documented abuses, the Pennsylvania legislature did end the licensing of Coal and Iron police legislation until the 1930s.

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