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Law Enforcement Paper - Essay Example

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The current American police and security agencies have undergone many transformations in the last three hundred years. The changing security needs during the period is major motivation for security transformations in the country. Currently, security demand in the United States has increased tremendously due to internal and external threats ranging from drug abuse to terrorism…
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Download file to see previous pages Policing in the United States dates back to the pre-colonial period, an era characterized by high level of immigration from European countries into the country. Immigrants from Britain formed a significant proportion of the foreigners and the United States later became a British colony. This colonial relationship played a major role in the development of the current modern policing and common law in the United States. According to Uchida (2004), the modern features that define American internal security such as community policing, crime prevention and hierarchical police command originate from British law enforcement agencies. As early as 900 AD, Uchida (2004) notes that law enforcement in United States was the responsibility of every citizen. Individuals used state authorized powers to uphold order in the society, a type of policing which Walker (1977, p48). refers as “kin police”. Because there was no police, individual persons were responsible for security of their relatives. This type of security later developed into a formalized communal policing that was adapted from 1066 to 13th century. The defining characteristic of policing during the period was a community-based model called frankpledge (Uchida, 2004). This model comprised of small groups, each made of nine boys above the age of twelve years. These groups were called “tythings” and members came from the same neighborhood Uchida (2004 p23). Each member was sworn to uphold security by protecting fellow citizen, apprehending criminals and taking them to court of law (Uchida, 2004). This form of security organization was compulsory in nature and was enforced by the state although the members were compensated for their work. During this period, United States was under the rule of English Monarchy and absolute loyalty was necessary. A constable who was appointed by the local nobleman commanded a group of ten tythings (Uchida, 2004). Therefore, the constable was the first police officer with official security responsibilities beyond helping his neighbor. The tythings were grouped into larger units of hundreds, which were then collaborated into larger units, called “shires” (Uchida, 2004, p25). The head of each shire was called “sheriff”, an appointee of the king. This form of security system disintegrated in the 13th century as result of insufficient supervision from the king (Uchida, 2004, p28). The parish constable structure took over and adapted the same system, although it gave the constable more powers than in the preceding system. The constable commanded a group of watchmen who guarded entry points and gates of towns at night. This form of English security arrangement continued in the 17th and 18th centuries (Walker, 1977). The sheriff, constable and the watch formed the core hierarchical system of police system in the United States. The sheriff headed the police operations in a county and the governor appointed him. The role of sheriff included collecting taxes, arresting criminals serving subpoenas in addition to making court appearances. In big tows and cities, the night watch reported fires, detained and arrested suspected criminals, raised the alarm, maintained street lighting in addition to walking around in the towns to ensure security. Constables were responsible for taking criminals to court, removing health hazards in the towns and ensuring that witnesses appeared in courts (Walker, 1977). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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