Policing dates back thousands of years to even before the Roman times. The origins of American policing are closely related the Anglo-Saxon model which gave a more communal responsibility. The four Eras’ of American policing that will be focused on are The Political, Professional, Community Policing, and Homeland Security.
The Political era lasted from 1830-1900. This era can be characterized as political in nature and the police are controlled by elected officials. The police during this era were very uneducated in the ways of the laws and were usually hired in based on the patronage system. This meaning that they were friends or family members while eliminating non supporters (Bailey, 2011). During this era the police were not respected and very poorly paid. They had no job security so the police often used their position to supplement their wages. To help ensure job security they would pay workers to vote for their boss. The Political era of policing was corrupt and the ...view middle of the document...
Five key elements this era included were: 1. Defining police as a profession, 2. Eliminating political influences and corruption, 3. Increasing the personnel standards for police, 4. Applying modern management and administrative principles in the delivery of police services, 5. Creating specialized units to deal with current and future police related issues. Specialized academic programs at colleges and specialized training programs for police officers were created (Bailey, 2011). Police were more liked by the communities through more permanent assignments of officers. Foot patrol was also introduced making the community feel much safer.
The Community Policing era has been one of the contemporary police activities in the last 30 years. It is more of a decentralized approach to reducing crime by involving the same officer in the same community on a long term basis, so residents will develop trust and then provide information and assistance to the officer. Community Policing does not replace motorized patrol or other police tactics but instead compliments them with community partnership and problem solving (Bailey, 2011).
Homeland Security is characterized by crime control being the primary police function. It is best achieved through a collective effort by all law enforcement agencies. One of the strategies being used is Intelligence Led Policing. This strategy is not new, it can be traced back to the British is the 1990’s (Bailey, 2011). Intelligence Led Policing is an approach to crime that deals with all crimes and threats including terrorism. This approach is unique because it is threat driven instead of incident driven. It also is a long term approach and focuses on causes and conditions that add to crime through a collection of data.
The history of policing has changed drastically through the four eras. From the police basically being criminals themselves in the beginning to becoming trained and skilled officers says a lot about our law enforcement. My perception of community and police relations has changed a little. Police are viewed as the ones who stop the fun at the parties, but they are also the ones keeping us safe.
Bailey, K., Baro, A., Crawley, W., Gerkin, P.,… Yalda, C., (2011).
Justice in Society: An Introduction. Grand Rapids, Mi: Grand Valley State
University, School of Criminal Justice.