Historical Development of Police Agencies Essay

Words: 1536
Pages: 7

Historical Development of Police Agencies
August 8, 2011

Historically, policing in America mimicked that of the English. American ideas expanded on the English way of policing, to start an era of ever evolving police agencies. In the beginning policing was considered the civic duty of members of a community. These “drafted” officers were not paid or trained. Appointed Sheriff’s were motivated by money, and lost focus on enforcing the law. Policing was considered reactive in nature. This began to change as did society, industrialism and urbanization, brought with it a rise in crime, causing police to shift towards a more proactive approach to law enforcement. In the 1800’s new technologies began another change
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Because of urbanization and industrialization, crime had begun to grow at a rate that exceeded the capabilities of the “watch and ward” policing technique. Businessmen were now hiring private guards to ensure the safety of their livelihoods. Pioneers continued to move west which created tensions between people with different ideas and of different ethnicities. Moving forward into the 20th century, the early organization of police agencies begins to form into a more advanced system of law enforcement. In 1908 the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), was established and in 1935 the name was changed to what we now know as the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation, July 2003). In 1910 Alice Stebbins Wells, became the first ever policewoman, serving the Los Angeles Police Department (Schmallager, 2009). In 1915 the Fraternal Order of Police was founded and acted as a type of labor union to its members of all ranks, from parole officer to Chief (Schmallager, 2009). Technological advancements in communication and transportation led the charge of better policing, allowing police to go far beyond the capabilities of policing in the past. Maintaining regular communication through radio and telephone coupled with the high mobility of automobiles, allowed for increased response times. The social and technological changes brought about in the 20th century continued the evolution of the police; they