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Law Enforcement Today. A History of the American Police Colonial Times: Mirrors the English System Led by citizens – constables and nightwatchmen The.

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Presentation on theme: "Law Enforcement Today. A History of the American Police Colonial Times: Mirrors the English System Led by citizens – constables and nightwatchmen The."— Presentation transcript:

1 Law Enforcement Today

2 A History of the American Police Colonial Times: Mirrors the English System Led by citizens – constables and nightwatchmen The Governor hired a sheriff for each county to oversee the formal aspects of law enforcement. The Nineteenth Century: In 1838, Boston becomes the first city with a police department In 1844, New York sets the foundation for the modern police department.

3 The Political Era of policing : 1840-1930 Called the patronage system or the “spoils” system Bribery and political corruption are the hallmark of the era A History of the American Police

4  In 1929, the Wickersham Committee focused on two areas of American policing that were in need of reform: Police brutality The corrupting influence of politics

5 A History of the American Police The Reform Era of policing: 1930-1980 Increased police professionalism.  August Vollmer  O.W. Wilson and the professional model Administrative reforms Addressing turmoil in the 1960s

6 A History of the American Police The Community Era of policing: 1980 to today Emphasis on good police-community relationships Proactive police efforts, as opposed to traditional reactive approaches


8 Law Enforcement Agencies There are over 13,900 law enforcement agencies in the United States, employing over 950,000 people. Roughly 3,088 sheriff’s departments About 1,332 special police agencies, limited to policing parks, schools, airports, and other locales 49 state police departments (Hawaii being the exception) 70 federal law enforcement agencies

9 Law Enforcement Agencies Municipal Law Enforcement: Most police officers work in small and medium-sized police departments While New York City has the largest police department (with more than 40,000 employees), roughly 560 small towns have only one police officer Municipal police agencies have the broadest authority to apprehend criminal suspects, maintain order, and provide services to the community

10 Law Enforcement Agencies Sheriffs and County Law Enforcement: Every county in the United States (except those in Alaska) has a sheriff The largest is the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department with 8,600 employees; the smallest departments have only 1.

11 Law Enforcement Agencies The Sheriff’s Department is responsible for: Investigating violent crime Investigating drug offenses Maintaining the county jail Serving evictions and court summonses Keeping order in the courthouse Collecting taxes Enforcing orders of the court, such as sequestration of a jury

12 Law Enforcement Agencies State Police and Highway Patrols: The most visible state law enforcement agency is the state police or highway patrol agency Historically, state police agencies were created for four reasons:  To assist local police agencies  To investigate criminal activities that crossed jurisdictional boundaries  To provide law enforcement in rural and other areas that did not have local or county police agencies  To break strikes and control labor movements

13 Law Enforcement Agencies State Police: 23 agencies Statewide jurisdiction Wide variety of law enforcement tasks Highway Patrols:  26 agencies  Patrol state and federal highways  Jurisdiction limited to traffic laws and investigation of traffic accidents

14 Law Enforcement Agencies Federal law enforcement agencies: Small percentage of Nation’s law enforcement force in numbers, but have substantial influence Authorized to enforce specific laws or attend to specific situations The most far-reaching reorganization of the federal government since World War II took place in 2002 and 2003, with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security

15 Law Enforcement Agencies The Department of Homeland Security:  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (BCP)  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  The U.S. Secret Service The Department of Treasury :  The Internal Revenue Service

16 Law Enforcement Agencies The Department of Justice:  The Federal Bureau of Investigation  The Drug Enforcement Agency  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives  The U.S. Marshals Service


18 Private Security  Over $100 billion spent each year  Over 10,000 U.S. private security firms  2 million people employed in security each year  The function of private security is to deter crime rather than stop it  Security officers only report crimes, and in some cases, make citizens’ arrests.

19 Private Security Issues in Private Security: Limited state regulations, and no federal regulations, regarding standards and training Quality of many private security employees Minimal training Poor pay and lack of benefits

20 Private Security Factors driving the growth in private security: Increased fear on the part of the public Crime in the workplace Budget cuts in states and municipalities Rising awareness of private security products Fear of terrorism

21 The Responsibilities of the Police The four basic responsibilities of the police include: Enforcing laws Providing services Preventing crime Preserving the peace

22 The Role of Discretion in Policing When police officers use their own judgment in deciding which offenses to punish and which to ignore, they are using discretion. Patrol Officers have the greatest amount of discretionary power within the police agency. The courts have determined that patrol officers are in a unique position to be allowed discretion:

23 The Role of Discretion in Policing Police officers are considered trustworthy and are therefore assumed to make honest decisions Police officers may find themselves in danger of physical harm and must be allowed to take reasonable and necessary steps to protect themselves Officers must determine whether certain activity poses a threat to society, and to take reasonable action to investigate or prevent such activity Due to the nature of their jobs, police officers are extremely knowledgeable in human and criminal behavior

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