Essay on Police History

History of Police John C. Dale CJA214 10-06-2012 James Ward History of Police If one were to ask, anybody in today’s society there would be an overwhelming consensus that police are necessary and a very valuable to keeping individuals and property safe from the criminal element. The earliest known police forces were in ancient China. The persons assigned to this duty were known as prefects and carried out their duty from 771-476 B. C… The prefecture system developed in both the Chu and Jin kingdoms of the Spring and Autumn period.
In Jin, dozens of prefects were dispersed and traveled across the state, with each individual having limited authority and employment period. There were different levels of prefects with different levels of authority. In Ancient China, prefects worked for the government as officials appointed by local judges. The judges who appointed prefects reported to higher authorities such as governors, the emperor of the dynasty then appointed the governors. The prefects oversaw the civil administration of their “prefecture”, or jurisdiction.
Another earliest form of police forces were in the Roman Empire’s military. In most of the Empire, the Army, rather than a dedicated police organization, provided security. Local watchmen were hired by cities to provide some extra security around 63 B. C. -1480 A. D.. Local judges known as procurators fiscal and quaestors were called in to investigate crimes. The Emperor Augustus created 14 “wards” the wards were protected by seven squads of 1,000 men called vigiles, whose main duty was to act as firemen and night watchmen. Other duties were apprehend thieves, robbers and runaway slaves (http://en. ikipedia. org/wiki/Police). The first formal police agency has English roots and was started in Britain around 1200. From this earliest known formal police agency a term known as “comes stabuli” derived the first constable and sheriff. It was the constable’s job to hold a particular office, most commonly in the law enforcement division. The office of constable can vary significantly in different jurisdictions, with each jurisdiction giving a different rank and limitation of power. A constable is commonly the rank of an officer within the police.

Within this new formal police agency the roles of bailiff, a person who watches over the prisoners, and watchmen, a person who watches over and protects property, assets, or people were established. The Statute of Winchester in 1285 brought about the British codification of police practices; this helped greatly to form a unified police society. In the 1736 a high tax on Gin was enacted which led to extreme rioting in the streets known today as the Gin Riots. Due to this extreme outcry from the public the 18th and 19th century saw the modern police forces as we most commonly recognize them today created.
In 1829, Sir Robert Peel formed what is known as London’s new police, the world’s first modern police. Bobbies were metropolitan police member’s and the belief of this agency was to discourage crimes, and preventative patrolling of the streets specifically looking for crimes that were in the act or getting criminals off the street. These new police were known to walk a “beat” a specific area under their watch that they were in charge of maintaining order and reducing crimes through prevention.
Under Sir Robert Peel, the first total uniformed police forces were established wish highly resembled a military organization. As the immigrates transitioned over to America, this type of patrolling was adopted thus leading us to the colonial period of policing. In colonial America during the 1630’s early colonists followed the English style of policing. Watch and Ward systems were established that required the duties of everyone who wanted to act as a law enforcer but offered no pay or training.
Everyone looked out for each other and monitored the behaviors of others. The focus of the watches and wards was more centered around moral and civil obligations, not criminal. In colonial America when a rich person did not want to do their fair share of the duties, they would simply pay someone to do it for them. Philadelphia was the first large city to pay offers starting in 1658, the officers of each city were expected to solve their own crimes, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations was a long time away.
In frontier America, the new lawmen had left their cultures behind and had to deal with new and unusual cultures in the West, including unknown and inhospitable Indian territories. U. S. Marshals enforced federal law only. These men had no training or pay and they were strictly volunteer. Due to the new cultures, the inhospitable landscapes and Indian tribes these volunteer marshals faced many adversities. During the gold rush of the 1840’s the earliest mining camps were extremely dangerous places, order and law was needed to the Vigilante Committee became the first organized justice system in these towns.
Police in contemporary society are known as COPPS (community oriented policing and problem solving). These men and women are primarily employed to reduce crime; secondly, the other goal of COPPS is to identify community needs such as individuals in distress etc. Talking to citizens on the streets and participating in programs such as D. A. R. E (drug abuse resistance and education). With modern day law enforcement being regulated by two different entities, the U. S. Federal government and the local or state agencies there can be a conflict of interests.
The main duties of the local and state police forces are to respond to calls, provide backup, help local and federal detectives to secure a crime scene, aid individuals who are in distress and are expected to be the first responders. The role of the government law enforcement is to oversee the larger picture of securing the nation as a whole. This includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation who investigate broad national crimes and will come to the aid of major cases involving local state authorities.
This relationship affects modern police practices by helping to share information between two agencies that can learn valuable aspects of policing from each other. Conflict may arise by some of the different practices being rejected by a particular law enforcement force but in my opinion, the role between the two entities is more beneficial than detrimental and helps us to live in a modern society that has effective police forces. References 1. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Police Reference Wikipedia. (2012). Police. Retrieved from http://http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Police

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