At the end of this section, students will be able to:
- Discuss how the history of policing relates to current policing
- List the different parts of the history of policing
- Recognize the four eras of policing and identify the important parts of each era
- Explain why Sir Robert Peel is important to policing
- Describe how August Vollmer impacted policing
- List what three issues marked the Political Reform Era
- Illustrate several important occurrences during the Community Policing Era
- Discuss why the fourth era of policing is the Homeland Security Era
In this section, you will be introduced to the history of policing in the United States. Today, policing is under the microscope to ensure past mistakes are not repeated and forward momentum is reached. It is for this reason this section will explore the history, as well as the foundations, that the American policing system was built upon.
Critical Thinking Questions
- Why is the history of policing important to understand?
- What about kin policing made it not a good form of policing?
- What are the four eras of policing?
- How was the Homeland Security Era established?
- Why was Sir Robert Peel important to policing?
- What did August Vollmer believe police should be doing?
- 6.1: Policing in Ancient Times
- The development of policing in the United States coincided with the development of policing in England. In fact, the United States legal system traces its roots back to the common law of England. However, we can go all the way back before 1750 BC to see how forms of policing were common during ancient times, to what is now known as kin policing. Kin policing is when a tribe or clan policed their own tribe, and it often turned bloody quickly. The blood feuds would go on for a long period of time.
- 6.8: Current Issues - Police Shootings
- One of the most controversial issues in regards to policing in the 21st century are police shootings. The ‘police shooting’ topic causes much debate and is always in the headlines of every media outlet when it occurs. After an officer-involved shooting, citizens want answers, rightfully so. Unfortunately, police departments cannot immediately provide those answers. The all too familiar ‘no comment’ or ‘we do not have any information at this time’ does not appease the general public.
- 6.12: Current Issues - Internal Affairs and Discipline
- Internal affairs (IA) exists to hold officers accountable for their actions. Whenever there is an issue, either brought forth by another officer, a supervisor or a member of the general public, the IA division of the police department is responsible for conducting a thorough investigation into the incident. Members of the IA division work directly under the Chief or Sheriff.