Justice Department Police Essay Research Paper The

Justice Department Police Essay, Research Paper

The governmental department charged with the regulation and control of the affairs of a community, now chiefly the department

established to maintain order, enforce the law, and prevent and detect crime. The police are government agents charged with maintaining order and protecting persons

from unlawful acts. In most modern democratic nations the police provide a variety of services to the public, including: law enforcement (the detection of CRIME and the

apprehension and ARREST of criminals), the prevention of crime (preventive patrol), and the maintenance of order (resolution of disputes, among other tasks). In the

United States (and in many other countries around the world) the police are the largest and most visible component of the CRIMINAL JUSTICE system. History Most

developed societies have had some kind of law-enforcement agency. In the English-speaking world–and beyond–police practices are based on English models.

Beginning in colonial days, Americans have adopted the English criminal justice system, particularly the law-enforcement pattern. During the 17th and 18th centuries,

colonial America relied on the sheriff, the constable, and the night watch for police protection. The sheriff, appointed by the governor of a colony, was the most important

law-enforcement officer in the county. His duties included law enforcement, tax collection, and the maintenance of public facilities. The constable had similar

responsibilities, although his jurisdiction was limited to towns and cities. The night watch was charged with the responsibility of protecting the municipality from fires,

crime, and suspicious persons. By the mid-19th century the police system could no longer control the crime and disorder that had begun to appear in the cities. In

Boston, New York, and other large cities, riots occurred regularly and crime appeared to be increasing. As a result, new police forces were established. These new

police differed from the old in that the new officers worked both day and night, wore uniforms, carried firearms, and patrolled the streets in an attempt to prevent crime

and maintain order. During this period the patterns of basic, present-day urban police operations were set. The quality of the police was low in the late 19th and early

20th centuries. Inefficiency and corruption dominated police work. The primary source of the problems was the political machines that controlled most city governments

from 1890 to 1920. By the 1920s a campaign to “professionalize” the police began to emerge. With professionalization came demands for better selection of police

officers, centralization of commands, more technology for aiding crime prevention, and the elimination of politics from policing. These reforms slowly occurred during the

20th century. Agencies The U.S. police establishment operates at several levels. A number of federal law-enforcement units exist in different U.S. government agencies,

but the bulk of the work is carried out by nine units in four departments. The FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) is the largest and most important.

Other prominent federal units include those of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Immigration and Naturalization Service, SECRET SERVICE, Internal Revenue Service,

and Customs Service. All states except one (Hawaii) have state-level police units with sworn personnel engaging in law-enforcement functions. These are classified as

state police (23 states) and state highway patrol (26 states). Highway patrols direct their efforts to highway, motor vehicle, and traffic-safety functions. State-police

authority includes jurisdiction over many types of criminal activity as well as traffic services. Virtually all of the nation’s 3,000 counties have their own police forces, with

most of these directed by an elected sheriff. Municipal police departments constitute the largest number of police agencies in the country. Nearly three-quarters of the

650,000 full-time police employees work for municipal agencies. There is an enormous variety of municipal policing because of the wide range in city types in a country

that stretches across a continent, in demands for police service, and in priorities of individual departments. The U.S. police system differs substantially from those of other

democratic nations. In European countries, Canada, and Japan police forces are highly centralized. Great Britain, for example, with a population of approximately 46

million people (about one-fifth that of the United States), has a total of 39 law enforcement agencies (compared to some 20,000 in the United States). The London

Metropolitan Police Department, with its headquarters at SCOTLAND YARD, is the largest agency in the country. In France and Italy national police forces exist to

enforce the law and maintain order. In France, two police forces exist: the Police Nationale (formerly the Surete Nationale) and the Gendarmerie Nationale. The Police

Nationale is responsible for law enforcement in cities with a population of 10,000 or more. The Gendarmerie shares the dual task of policing the military as well as

civilians in towns with less than 10,000 inhabitants. The Canadian police system bears some resemblance to the U.S. The ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE

(RCMP) is the counterpart of the FBI. Created in 1873 by an act of Parliament, the RCMP is mandated to enforce federal laws. The RCMP differs from the FBI in that

it has responsibility for enforcing laws and provisions of the criminal code in provinces that do not have provincial (state) police. Canada also has municipal police

departments that are responsible for enforcing the criminal code, provincial laws, and municipal by-laws. On the international level, the United States is a member of the

International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL). This is a mutual assistance group that exchanges information among its police members about criminals who

operate in more than one country, whose crimes affect other countries, or who have fled from one country to another to escape prosecution. Operations Police

operations involve the actual work of law-enforcement agencies as they pursue offenders and prevent crimes. The range of police activities is quite broad. It includes

areas of patrol, detective work, TRAFFIC CONTROL, vice, crime prevention, and special tactical forces. Patrol is often called the backbone of police work. The patrol

function has three basic components: answering calls for assistance, maintaining a police presence, and probing suspicious circumstances. The object of the patrol function

is to disperse the police in ways that will eliminate or reduce the opportunities for lawbreaking and to increase the likelihood that a criminal will be caught while committing

a crime, or soon thereafter. Detectives are primarily concerned with law-enforcement activities after a crime has been reported. They are involved in an investigative

function, relying on criminal-history files, laboratory technicians, and forensic scientists for help in apprehending criminals. Detective work is viewed as more prestigious

than patrol work because pay is higher, hours are more flexible, cases are more interesting, and supervision is more permissive. Specialized operations units are set up to

deal with particular types of problems. Traffic, vice, juvenile, and special weapons and tactics (SWAT) units are often created in larger departments to deal with such

problems. The traffic-control function includes accident investigation, traffic direction, and enforcement. These overlap with the broader goal of public safety and accident

prevention. Enforcement of laws against vice–prostitution, gambling, narcotics–is the area that involves undercover work and informers. Juvenile divisions work on

processing youth arrests, prepare and present court cases in which a juvenile is involved, and often divert juvenile offenders out of the criminal justice system. The special

weapons and tactics (SWAT) units are trained in marksmanship and equipped with shotguns, sniping rifles, automatic weapons, climbing gear, and other specialized

equipment useful in dealing with snipers, barricaded persons, or hostage-takers. Selection and Training In selecting new police officers, police agencies use a number of

criteria to pick the best-qualified applicants. The most prominent selection methods include a written examination, a background investigation, an oral interview, and a

medical examination. More recently, psychological tests have become popular as a means of eliminating undesirable candidates. Virtually all departments have minimum

requirements for age, height, weight, and visual acuity. Standards vary for each of these categories. On average, recruits must range in age from 21 to 34. Height and

weight requirements have changed in the last 15 years because of lawsuits against particular departments. The minimum height requirement of 5 ft 9 in (1 m 75 cm), for

example, has been successfully challenged as discriminating against both female and minority-group applicants. Most departments require only a high school diploma as

the minimum level of educational attainment. Very few departments require some college education, with only a handful requiring a four-year bachelor’s degree. The

formal training for a police recruit involves primarily the technical aspects of police work: the details of criminal law and procedure; internal departmental rules; and the

care and use of firearms. Problems Critics of the police cite instances of corruption, brutality, racism, and nonenforcement of the laws as major problems. Corruption

within departments has ranged from organization-wide graft to individuals’ taking bribes. Police brutality, involving unnecessary use of force, has created difficulties for the

police and minorities. Police shootings, beatings, and killings of civilians, whether justified or not, have raised questions of accountability in a number of U.S. cities. Role in

Society The role of the police in U.S. society has been studied at length by sociologists and police researchers. The police role involves law enforcement, the maintenance

of order, and community service. The police are given a great deal of authority to enforce the law. They can arrest, search, detain, and use force–all actions that disrupt

personal freedom–and yet democracy requires police to maintain order to make possible a free society. Thus, the police must follow democratic norms, while enforcing

the laws and satisfying a public that expects protection. The public often misunderstands the role of the police in society. Citizens think of the function of the police

primarily as crime fighting and evaluate police effectiveness in those terms. In most communities, however, regulating traffic, assisting the public, and maintaining order

through regular patrolling claim the major share of police time and resources. Craig D. Uchida Bibliography: Bayley, D. H., Patterns of Policing (1985); Bopp, William J.,

and Schulz, Donald O., A Short History of American Law Enforcement (1977); Bouza, A. V., The Police Mystique (1990); Friedmann, Robert R., Community Policing

(1992); Goldstein, Herman, Problem-Oriented Policing (1990); Klockars, Carl B., ed., The Idea of Police (1985) and Thinking about Police (1983); Manning, Peter K.,

and Van Maanen, John, eds., Policing: A View from the Streets (1977); Mark, Gary, Undercover: Police Surveillance in America (1988); Radelet, L. A., The Police and

the Community, 5th ed. (1993); Roach, John, and Tomaneck, Jurgen, eds., The Police and Public Order in Europe (1985); Tonry, Michael H., and Morris, Norvel,

eds., Modern Policing (1993). The Connecticut State Police is one of the oldest state police agencies in the United States.? Its origin dates back to 1903, when the

agency was originally formed with five officers to combat the growing problem of illegal liquor manufacturing and transportation.? It may be hard to believe now, but

these early state policemen had to rely mostly on the railroad to move about the state.? And even when patrolling by car and motorcycle became possible, there still was

no radio system.? Officers on patrol maintained contact with the barracks by telephone.? When the desk officer needed to contact a patrolling trooper, he would make a

phone call to one of several stores or gas stations on the man’s patrol.? The proprietor would raise a small flag, and the officer would call in when he saw it.? In those

days, and even up to the ’60s, these men reported to the barracks for duty, went on patrol which consisted of 12 hours or whatever was needed, returned to the

barracks for meals and rest, went back out on patrol, and repeated the cycle for 5 or 6 days, when they were given a day off.? There was no overtime, there were no

maximum duty hours, and a man never knew where he would end up or when he would get home.? There was also no concept of storing the motorcycles when the

weather turned cold.? Troopers rode in all kinds of weather, and stuffed their uniforms with newspaper for insulation.? And nobody got rich.? Today, the Connecticut

State Police has evolved into one of the most respected law enforcement agencies in the world.? Along the way, it has been on the forefront of many important advances

in police technology. ? ? ? Today, the Connecticut State Police is a diverse agency that consists not only of patrol functions, but many other missions, from state fire

marshall, with a large arson section, to street gang units, drug enforcement, welfare fraud, and the Emergency Services Unit, which includes a top-notch scuba unit whose

members have all completed U.S. Navy dive training, tactical units, explosive disposal, aviation, marine patrol, and one of the oldest and most advanced? K-9 units in the

country. Additional units are Major Crime, Casino and gambling, Organized Crime, Extradition, Intelligence, and a troop at Bradley International Airport.? The

Connecticut State Police also operates one of the most advanced Forensic Laboratories in the world, under the supervision of Doctor Henry Lee, who you may

remember from the O.J. Simpson trial. ? ? ? If you’re accustomed to thinking of troopers as highway ticket machines, you might not realize that in Connecticut, there are

large rural areas with many small towns that do not have regular police departments of their own. In many other states, county sheriffs provide law enforcement for rural

areas. In Connecticut, the sheriff agencies do not have police responsibilities outside of the courts and prisoner transport, and the state police have the job of all law

enforcement in these rural towns. This means that when a trooper leaves the barracks on patrol, he or she may have responsibility for coverage of two, three, or even

four towns.? The next radio call that a trooper gets may be an armed robbery, burglary, family fight, missing child, or any other type of crime; or it may be a car accident

many miles away.? And unlike officers in other agencies, when a Connecticut trooper is assigned to one of these incidents, he or she is expected to handle the full

investigation, and does not hand it off to another unit. Even if it’s a major crime, like a homicide, the trooper originally assigned stays involved in the case.? State Police

officers also know the meaning of the saying, “Troopers ride alone”. In most cases, the nearest backup is a long way off, and probably not available anyway.? New

troopers have to learn quickly to be self-sufficient.? And when they make arrests, there’s no “wagon” to transport the prisoners, and no “cages” in the cruisers.? This is

not a job where you write tickets and eat doughnuts.



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