Policing – Past and Present Policing – Past and Present It has been said that to understand the world of today, one must understand the world of yesterday, police and police agencies are no different. The history of policing ranges all the way from citizens attempting to protect their community to today’s world of technology based policing. A recent development in policing stems from the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 which resulted in the created of the Department of Homeland Security.
Various agencies neglected to share information they may have had regarding the situation and now many police agencies and federal agencies spend more training time on terrorist training scenarios. With technology advancing at such a fast rate one wonders what policing will be like ten years from now, twenty, even fifty years from today. Policing in America comes from an English heritage. In the past, men of a common area would band together and hunt down criminals or protect their families and other residents of the community. These men were led by a shire reeve or a comes stabuli, which are words for the modern Sheriff and Constable. Schmalleger, Ph. D. , 2009) Another aspect of the English roots that have an impact on today’s world of policing is the police force that was organized by Sir Robert Peel. Sir Robert Peel organized community policing and believed that the police could do their job without intruding on the lives of the people. (Larrabee, November 2007) Sir Robert Peel and his officers believed in two main principles: crime can be discouraged and the practice of preventative patrol. (Schmalleger, Ph. D. , 2009) In America policing began based off of the English background of policing.
Cities during that time were more organized then rural areas and therefore had better methods for policing. The Frontier of America had not yet been settled and were policed by vigilantes, those who took it upon themselves to police and enforce laws, relative to our society, on the American Frontier. When prohibition occurred during the 1920’s some police officers were becoming corrupt. Those who were not becoming corrupt soon learned that it was too difficult to police those who were partaking in brewing their own alcohol and selling it to others.
With the advancement of technology, today’s police forces are more focused on the evidence of a crime. Additionally, community policing has become the forefront of most police agencies promoting the relationship of the community and the police department. Community policing relieves the “Us vs. Them” mentality for the community as well as for the officers. With community policing in effect citizens are more apt to work with police if necessary to help prevent crime within their area, for example the Neighborhood Watch Program. Jurisdictions is the specific territory that a law enforcement agency is obligated to protect.
Jurisdictions were formed to limit a police officer’s obligation to an area. For example, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department patrol and enforce laws throughout Clark County, NV, however it would be very difficult to enforce the laws all throughout the State of Nevada by the means of one department. Furthermore, statutes that may be enforced in one jurisdiction may not be illegal in another jurisdiction. Federal jurisdiction is different than state jurisdiction. Federal agencies enforce federal law which encompasses all of the United States.
Federal law enforcement agencies may have nationwide jurisdiction, but may only focus on specific crimes that are relevant to that particular agency. The Department of Homeland Security was created as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. “The President proposes to create a new Department of Homeland Security, the most significant transformation of the U. S. government in over half-century by largely transforming and realigning the current confusing patchwork of government activities into a single department whose primary mission is to protect our homeland.
The creation of a Department of Homeland Security is one more key step in the President’s national strategy for homeland security. ” (Department of Homeland Security, 2008) One problem that was brought to attention was the lack of communication between various agencies. The Department of Homeland Security strives to eliminate those communication barriers and create one solid secure communication network to prevent any further terrorist attacks on the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security has also influenced how local police departments train and prepare their staff for possible terrorist attacks. Terrorist readiness training is now a part of many training repertoire that is mandatory for departments, especially in larger cities. Any and all police agencies, federal, state and local, should have one common goal to prevent crime and in the event of a crime, apprehend those that have are responsible the crime. All law enforcement agencies, while separate, should still work harmoniously to accomplish that goal.
Even here in Las Vegas, NV it is a common complaint among various officers how another agency works, or how their agency is better, or how the other agency is not an actual law enforcement agency. Negative attitudes and demeanor towards one another prevent common goals from being reached. To better understand what works and what does not work in any field one should study the history that surrounds that field. It makes one wonder what kind of history we will leave for those in the future to study of our departments. References
Department of Homeland Security. (2008, September). Proposal to Create the Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved from http://www. dhs. gov/xabout/history/publication_0015. shtm Larrabee, A. K. (November 8, 2007). Law Enforcement: Sir Robert Peel’s Concept of Community Policing in Today’s Society. Retrieved from http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/435980/law_enforcement_sir_robert_peels_concept. html Schmalleger, Ph. D. , F. (2009). Criminal Justice Today (10th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.