The History of Police
March 4, 2013
Donald L. Redden
We know that we do not live in a perfect world. Law Enforcement officers and departments have become a common and accepted part of today’s society. They play a significant role in our battle as we continually try to improve our local communities, our states, and our world as a whole, therefore, we must learn to work together with these individual entities. To do that, we must first understand the roles that each of these entities play in our lives. In this paper we will look at the history and professionalism of the police, the impact Sir Robert Peel had on American policing, the relationship between the United States government and the policing organizations throughout the United States and how these relationships may affect police practices.
We begin looking at the history and professionalism of the police as far back as Colonial America. In the 1630’s, the earliest colonists initially followed English styles of policing. “Watch and ward” was a civic duty for all citizens with no training and no pay. Criminal “Investigation” was not a part of these early watch and ward systems. Crime soon escalated beyond the capabilities of the warden and watchmen system, therefore around the 1840’s in Metropolitan America, the new metropolitan police focused on crime prevention rather than post-crime detection and punishment. Guidelines were set to improve community relations and professional behavior. During this same time in Frontier America, pioneers moving west left their cultures and their laws behind and clashed with people of very different traditions and ethnicities. The absence of government led to a confusing array of policing forms. Private citizens, including vigilantes, bounty hunters, and deputized posses served as informal law enforcement in territories and Indian land. In the 1920’s, society’s...