Term Paper: History U.S. Criminal Justice Systems/Police

Pages: 13 (3251 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Peel's police wore uniforms and patrolled beats." (Schmalleger Chapter 5 Summary)]

1845 America's first unified, prevention-oriented police force, patterned after the London Metropolitan Police, is established in New York City.

Vila and Morris xxxi)

It was at this point that the nation began to demonstrate expansions of professionalism as the New York City police force took the first substantial step toward the recognition of the police force at least nominally and visually separate from the public.

1853 The New York City police become the first police officers in America to wear uniforms.

(Vila and Morris xxxi) it is between 1850 and 1900 that police agencies further develop themselves into the recognizable institutions of the modern policing industry, modeled again after reformation in England, but again de-unified and regional as is the standard for the U.S.

1867 Allan Pinkerton publishes a manual on private policing for his agents titled General Principles of Pinkerton's National Police Agency.

1871 The first National Police Convention is held in St. Louis, Missouri.

1884 Hopt v. Utah: The Supreme Court establishes the first federal guidelines defining what would be considered an involuntary confession.

1893 The first meeting of the National Chiefs of Police Union is held in Chicago. (Vila and Morris xxxi-xxxii)

It is during these years that the police departments in various regions begin to demonstrate both a desire and an ability to codify standards of action and to police themselves through a reformation mirroring that of England.

1894 A special investigative committee chaired by Republican Senator Clarence Lexow is formed to examine the nature and extent of corruption in the New York City Police Department. Its shocking revelations of police corruption lead to the downfall of Tammany control of the police.

1895 Future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt is appointed head of a new, bipartisan New York City Police Commission established by anti- Tammany mayor William Strong.

Vila and Morris xxxi-xxxii)

The eradication of police corruption and undue privilege begins in earnest and the rules, legislations and standards that are developed are still in use today, regardless of the cyclical reminders of police abuses, that we see with the media even today. The police are seen as not above the law but to be held within special designations and standards that restrict their conduct to that which is at least ideologically the most fair to citizens, both law abiding and corrupt. A well-outlined definition of the evolution of the role of due process and police procedure can be found within James Fagin's Book Criminal Justice. In this work Fagin makes historical reference to the origins of the application of due process and individual liberty to police standards and practices. (Fagin)

The foundations of modern policing in American can be seen very far back, yet real establishment of modern policing began at the turn of the century and lasted until about 1930 as some of the foremost police and criminal science experts began to examine ways in which the police agencies of the country could get the best results with the least violations of the standards of professionalism. One of the most formative names in the policing industry, and especially in the academics of criminal justice was August Vollmer, who demonstrated through active use of progressive police reforms within the Berkeley California area, as the Chief of police and demonstrated reform with his department's influence at the University of California Berkeley. His reforms were as far reaching as he developed better ways for police to respond to needs, such as the use of bicycles on patrol and also record keeping. Yet, his most profound contribution was to the education of the police force through the development of vocational training first for serving police officers and secondly for future police officers. The idea of the continuing education and standard education of the police was substantial to the professional actions and standards of the field.

Morn 30)

Though the labor conflicts associated with the Tammany (Union) institutions in the New York area demonstrated need for reform the role of the police as the keepers of order nearly always prevailed as large business owners first enlisted the police to keep down labor reforming liberal strikers. Yet, as the demonstrations began to be more and more realistic about needs for labor reform the police began to then protect demonstrators, through the enacting of laws of conduct that regulated when and how they could protest conditions and standards of work. Local police were often caught in the cross fire, as were the demonstrators themselves.

The origins of federal law enforcement go back to almost the beginning of the police industry within the timeline of police events, as was seen above. Yet, in the U.S., unlike England, the greatest departure was seen as local authorities were not directly supervised by a federal entity. On the contrary the federal agencies became jurisdictional only when the crimes committed were those that would be considered federal crimes, such as forgery, arms violations, bootlegging, and illegal activities which crossed over state and regional boundaries.

Though local police were often very involved in the capture and prosecution of the illegal alcohol trade it can also be said that the federal agencies cut their teeth on these sorts of crimes, because they often encompassed the largest amount of "federal" offences, from actual transportation across state lines of contraband to currency related offences such as money laundering and counterfeiting. "The Prohibition era in America led to increased corruption among police departments nationwide, a fact recognized by the 1931 Wickersham Commission report." (Schmalleger Chapter 5 Summary)

Within the group of federal agencies, which will be briefly discussed here are the U.S. Marshall Service, U.S. Postal Investigation Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of Investigations and last but certainly not least the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Each agency acted as a sort of umbrella organization, without direct control over the local authorities but with prevailing authority in certain situations.

The U.S. Marshall Service to a large degree was developed as an overseer agency that assisted citizens in previously un-policed territories in bridging the gaps between frontier and domesticity

With the appearance of U.S. marshals and their deputies in the unorganized territories, more formal law enforcement began to take the place of the often impromptu justice of vigilantes and rangers. Once territorial legislatures were formed, county sheriffs or constables were appointed or, in a few instances, elected

Vila and Morris 24)

Being the oldest of the Federal agencies it has the most colorful history and is often closely associated with the breaking of the frontier. "The main role of the early federal marshals-- and one they still fulfill today-- was to serve, support, and protect the federal courts and their laws (Regoli and Hewitt 1996:240-241). "

Vila and Morris 67) Yet, it is clearly a well-developed agency that serves as an enforcement arm for federal laws and regulations. The U.S. Postal Investigative Service served as the arm of federal law that investigated and enforced federal laws pertaining to the mail service, fraudulent acts using the U.S. mail system or the interference of the delivery of the mail.

The U.S. Secret Service is the federal service that is attached to the office of the President of the United States. It is the duty of this agency to protect the seated president as well as the former presidents and some upper dignitaries associated with the executive branch. The Bureau of Investigations, the former name of the Federal Bureau of Investigations or the FBI is the name of the federal agency, begun by the Department of Justice which holds the responsibility of internal investigations of police forces and agencies, including but not limited to local and state agencies.

Beginning with his appointment as director of the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Investigation in 1924, J. Edgar Hoover set out to transform what would later become the Federal Bureau of Investigation into a model of professional law enforcement (Regoli and Hewitt 1996:242) and established himself as an advocate for higher educational, training, and professional standards.

(Vila and Morris 75)

Additionally the FBI serves as the agency Developed during the reformation periods of police conduct and policy the federal agency serves as a the police of the police. Currently the FBI serves many purposes but the point of origin for the national information centers which maintain databases of things like fingerprints and other important identifying information for the use of all agencies, state, local or federal.

Though it is clear that the historical development of policing in America has its roots in the foundations of the English system it is also clear that many of the innovations and standards of modern policing would not have been possible without the circumstances and minds of those in the U.S.

Recent strides have been taken on a national level to centralize the institutions of local, state and federal police… [END OF PREVIEW]

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