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How An Understanding Of The Past Can Benefit Today's Law Enforcement Officer

928 words - 4 pages

Law enforcement has played a part in American society since the beginning of time. Although it has changed over the course of history, some of the earliest established offices still exist today.
America’s first known system of law enforcement originated in Boston more than 350 years ago. Almost as soon as settlers landed on the shores of the “New World”, a system of policing was put into place. This system was structured after the English system and included positions such as constables, watchmen, and sheriffs. As society progressed, so did the system of law enforcement. Law enforcement has grown into a well-honed system that incorporates technology and problem ...view middle of the document...

”Policing became more technologically sophisticated around the turn on the century.” (National law, 2009) Uniforms were introduced so that policemen could be easily identified, and telegraph boxes were installed so that police administrators could exercise some supervision. In 1910, the first police cars were introduced in Akron, Ohio—finally police were mobile and could respond quickly. Police officers’ salaries also increased around this time, drawing better applicants to the job and diminishing some of the appeal to accept bribes.
During the early 1900’s, however, political involvement in American policing was a problem. One goal of ongoing police reform was the removal of politics from policing. Standards were created for recruiting and hiring police officers and administrators instead of them being appointed as had previously been done. Another goal of the reform was to professionalize the occupation. This goal was achieved by setting standards for hiring, implementing better training, and adopting various technologies to aid police officers in their daily operations.
“The professionalization movement of the police in America resulted in police agencies becoming centralized bureaucracies focused primarily on crime control.” (Important dates, 2009) With the rising crime rate and the inability to manage this problem, the role of the “crime fighter” became extremely important. It was decided that police officers could more effectively deal with rising crime if they focused more on crime control and less on social services. Also, about this time, the implementation of two way radios made communication easier and quicker. Agencies also implemented more reliable record keeping systems, improved methods of identifying criminals; such as finger printing, and more advanced technologies in the form of lie detectors and science based crime labs.
Today, although the role of the police officer remains basically the same,...

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