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The History of Police

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The History Of Police

The part that American police officers play is crucial to American history. Their main goal is to protect the rights of the citizens and help America to become the land of the free. Policing has changed over the period of time for the better, as social structures and new issues have come about. Police have had to adjust and serve the public.

American policing strategies very early were centered on the British system. 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, before any trial citizens were usually presumed 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.

Sir Robert Peel a former prime minister of England 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.

In the twentieth century, new technology and social reform crated a lot of changes in policing 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 establish the FBI, considered the most known government agency. 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

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