Police history is something everyone should know about. Police have been around for a long time. The history of police is important to know about because it helps people understand why some of the policies are in place today. The United States has used methods of policing from
Great Britain. There are many ways to learn about policing by studying the history of police.
Police practices and logics have changed enormously over the years. It is a common misconception that policies remain the same over the years, but that is not true. Furthermore, there are different stages in the history of American police called the political era, professional era, police crisis of 1960’s, and the new development stages.
America has used policies implemented by Robert Peel. Robert Peel was a political leader in
England, who fought to improve law enforcement in the country. Robert Peel developed three core elements that involve mission, strategy, and organizational structure of the police. Robert
Peel also introduced the police having a presence in the community(Schmalleger, 2009).. That is something America still uses and the impact still affects the United States today. The impact of
Robert Peel to the United States is still felt today.
The first law enforcement in America is when the colonist settled. They used the logics from their English heritage with the institutions of the sheriff, the constable, and the watch. These logics from Great Britain. In 1634, Boston created its first watch. These watchmen patrolled at night through the city against fires, disorder, and crime. When the town got more people, the nightwatch became day and night watch. Using the English tradition, they used all men to serve as watchmen. This duty turned into a professional position later, after there were men trying to avoid this duty. Most of the first American police departments were versions of the watch system that was expanded. The first police officers in America did not wear uniforms or carry weapons. They were only were identified by a distinguishing cap and badge. Once the levels of crime and violence augmented, police started to carry weapons in the nineteenth century (Schmalleger, 2009)..
The political era had men without formal education, those in unscrupulous health, and people with criminal records. There were officers who did not have job security because they could be fired on the spot. Sometimes after an election all the officers could be fired and rehired.
According to “Schmalleger, 2009)”, officers in big cities made more money than factory workers. Local politicians used to reward their friends jobs on the police force. Also, there were cities entire areas not really patrolled (Schmalleger, 2009). Telephones did not exist, so people in the city could not call anyone about crime. Officers patrolled on foot and their supervisor could not keep track of the officers under their command. The role of the police was very different in the political era from what it is today. Around 1900, the police started concentrating more on crime than care for the poor. The police were providing housing to the homeless beforehand.
During the polital stage, the police had an immense problem with corruption. The police were taking payoffs for not enforcing certain laws. Money was usually divided between officers, and officers also paid bribes for promotion(Schmalleger, 2009).
The Professional Era saw a great change with the twentieth century. There were changes in the forces to improve the professionalism of police and new technology. The era saw changes such as the telephone and the patrol car(Schmalleger,