What it looked like Wednesday: The Edward M. Daly police boat

By Steve Cichon

Called “the guardian of the waterfront,” the Edward M. Daly was Buffalo’s police boat from 1921 to 1936.

The craft was named after a Buffalo patrolman who enlisted in the Navy during World War I. He was lost at sea when German U-boats torpedoed the transport ship USS President Lincoln off the Irish coast in 1918.


More than 2,000 spectators were on hand, and Daly’s parents were guests of honor as the 60-horsepower motorboat was christened in August 1921 as a replacement for the old police steamboat “Grover Cleveland.”

The Daly was stationed at various times at the foot of Ferry Street or the foot of Amherst Street, and one of its primary tasks was watching the international border for motorboats trying to smuggle rum and ale into the United States during Prohibition.

 In 1930, Patrolmen Timothy J. Meegan, James McCarthy, Thomas J. Thompson, and John Galvin were among the ten officers assigned to the Daly.

In 1930, Patrolmen Timothy J. Meegan, James McCarthy, Thomas J. Thompson and John Galvin were among the 10 officers assigned to the Daly.

With a gasoline engine and wooden construction, the Daly’s top speed of 11 miles an hour made it obsolete by 1936 when Commissioner James Higgins sold it for $415, with the proceeds going toward the purchase of a newer, faster boat — to be used only when needed, not on regular patrol.

Published by


Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.