History of Police History of Police The role of police officers is very significant to American history. Police work toward protecting citizens’ rights and helping America become the land of the free. The United States of America is built from the U. S. Constitution Bill of Rights and police play a major role in making sure American rights are met. Evolution has changed many of American history for the better; policing is part of those changes. As new issues in society arise, police must change and adapt to protect and serve the public.
Early American policing strategies were based on the British model. Law enforcement was not organized until 1200 A. D. offenders were pursued by an organized posse. If offenders were caught they were usually tortured and faced public execution. Rarely did they have trials and instead of innocent until proven guilty it was the other way around, citizens were usually guilty before any evidence or testimony. “An early form of police patrol in English cities and towns” (Schmalleger, 2009, p. 153), is called a night watch. The primary purpose of a night watch was to watch out for fires and thieves.
Next became the day watch their job was the same as night watch, but in the day. Followed by the Statute of Winchester which is a “law, written in 1285, that created a watch and ward system in English cities and towns and that codified early police practices” (Schmalleger, 2009, p. 153). This law had four main components, which were specified the watch in towns, mandated eligible men to serve, institutionalized the use of the hue and cry, and for answering the call of duty citizens kept weapons in their homes. A former prime minister of England Sir Robert Peel formed the world first modern police force.
His model, the new police became a model for police across the world to follow. He formed the police with more of a military attitude; given them uniforms and a better organized structure. Early American leaders followed the day and night watch approach, later American leaders followed Sir Robert Peel method, which is what American police are based on today. New technology and social reform for policing happened in the twentieth century. This brought about the first woman police officer. The invention of automobiles, telephones, and radios was also developed, which helped police officers in a major way.
Automobiles allowed police a quick responds and allowed them to serve bigger areas. Radios allowed better communication between police officers. Telephones allowed better communication between officers and civilians. Teddy Roosevelt help promote the first call box system, which is compared to the 911 system used today; also he helped organize the FBI, one of the most famous government agencies. The history of policing is divided into four periods. The political era (1840s-1930) was the first, police agencies were more concerned with the interest of powerful politicians.
The second era (1930s-1970s) police were more concerned with solving traditional crimes. Today the third period is used in contemporary policing, which deal with community policing. Last is the homeland security era, which grew after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. All levels of law enforcement agencies have devoted more time and effort for homeland security after the attack. A variety of police agencies to enforce the law is created by local, state, and federal law enforcement. Federal law enforcement agency is “A U.
S government agency or office whose primary functional responsibility is to enforce federal criminal laws” (Schmalleger, 2009, p. 161). The FBI is one of the most famous in federal law enforcement, but federal law has many agencies in several departments that deal with issues with America. The FBI has changed over time, dealing with current issues in American history. Once they protected Americans from organized crime, the FBI protected against international espionage, and defended American civil rights when those issues were the most important at the time.
Today the FBI focuses on homeland security after the September 11, 2001 attack. “The Mission of the FBI is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats; to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States; and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners” (Schmalleger, 2009, p. 162). State law enforcement agencies were created for specific needs. State law enforcement was built from one of two models.
The first model combines major criminal investigations with patrol state highways. The second model creates two separate agencies and makes a clear distinction between traffic enforcement and other state level functions. The duties of the modern state police agencies are to assist local law enforcement in criminal investigations, operate identification bureaus, maintain criminal records repository, patrol states highways, and provide training for municipals and county officers. Today they have also stepped up their role in homeland security since September 11, 2011.
They are more involved in training, looking for suspicions vehicles on highways, communicating with the federal and local police to fight terrorist attacks The third level of law enforcement agencies are at the local level. City and county agencies are part of the local level, which includes police chiefs and sheriffs. Mayors or city council appoints the city police chief. Their jurisdictions are limited to the boundary of their communities. Sheriffs are responsible for law enforcement in unincorporated areas and for the operation of the county jail.
Local police play a big role in the new era of homeland security. “They must help prevent attacks and respond when attacks occur, offering critical evacuation, emergency medical, and security functions to help stabilize communities following an incident” (Schmalleger, 2009, p. 203). Local police are important when dealing with homeland security because they are always talking and interacting with the public. Police are constantly patrolling neighborhoods, so they can notice certain changes that could harm the community. With each generation Americans have advanced in technology, experience, and knowledge.
Police benefit from historical development, police continue to change and grow as the world does the same. Police have changed over the years but police will not change their main goal, which is to protect and serve the public. Police are very important to American society in all levels local, state, and federal each with an individual purpose, but the goal is justice for all citizens. Law enforcement main focus will always change because when one crime is deterred and under control another crime may be America biggest threat.
Some of American issues were organized crimes, civil rights, but since September 11, 2001 homeland security has been the focus of our law enforcements to make sure citizens are protected. This will be accomplished by new laws, technology, and a team effort including civilians, which will add on to the history of our brave men and women. Reference Schmalleger, F. (2009). Criminal Justice Today: an Introductory Text for the 21st Century (10th ed. ). New York, NY: Prentice-Hall. 2007. “DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Progress Report on Implementation of Mission and Management Functions. GAO Reports i. MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed June 12, 2011). Dodsworth, F. M. (2008). The Idea of Police in Eighteenth-Century England: Discipline, Reformation, Superintendence, c. 1780-1800. Journal of the History of Ideas, 69(4), 583-604. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Scott, J. E. (2010). Evolving Strategies: A Historical Examination of Changes in Principle, Authority and Function to Inform Policing in the Twenty-First Century. Police Journal, 83(2), 126-163. doi:10. 1350/pojo. 2010. 83. 2. 490