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Evolution of Policing - Political, Reform, and Community Eras

The evolution of policing in the U.S. is divided into three eras—political, reform, and community. Though clear-cut boundaries do not exist between these eras, they are distinct from one another in terms of the noticeable prevalence of particular policies, strategies, and concepts that were more dominant, widespread, and better understood during a particular period of time. The period from 1840 to 1930 in the history of policing in the U.S. is referred to as the political era. During this era, the police had close ties with the political groups of that time. The period from 1930 to 1980 in the history of policing in the U.S. is referred to as the Reform Era. During this era, the emphasis was on separating policing from politics, and introducing major changes in the organization and function of the police. A more impartial method of law enforcement came into being, and there were major modifications in the relations between the police and the citizens. The period from 1980 to present in the history of policing in the U.S. is referred to as the community era. During this era, consistent efforts have been made to restore a close relationship between the police and the community.

Based on the information above, discuss and analyze the Reform Era and the Political Era and their impact on the community:

- Why did the police mandate change from one era to another?
- What were the patrol tactics in each of the three eras?
- How far do you think were they effective? Can you state a reason?
- What were the roles played by the community and community relations in each of the three eras?
- Policing has always been information-intensive, and community policing is even more so, particularly in its focus on problem-solving. The new information-based technologies help to free up personnel resources. These technologies include police callboxes, hidden cameras, and usage of e-mails, mobile phones, and fax machines. Field officers use these technologies to get information, which is used for problem solving, as the officers can perform a variety of tasks more quickly and easily. Finally, new information technologies open additional ways of communicating with the public. Clearly, community policing and the new technologies are natural allies.

- Explain how community policing and the new technologies are natural allies? Cite an example to substantiate your response?
What has been the role of technology in fostering community policing?

- Analyze and illustrate in what ways the development of technology has created social distance between the police and the public? Describe how has the advent of technology increased civil liability?

Solution Preview

Why did the police mandate change from one era to another?

Policing evolved with the times and when society in general changed, policing was required to change its mandates as well. The era changed in accordance with less graft and corruption in society, which forced the police to change from political policing to professional policing. When the traditional policing tactic became stale, community policing was mandated because of its inclusion of community members.

What were the patrol tactics in each of the three eras?

In the political era, patrols were only beat walking by police officers while traditional policing focused more on patrolling through the use of vehicles. Community policing is predicated more so on foot patrols in the community that enable police officers to have a more friendly and visible presence within the community.

How far do you think were they ...

Solution Summary

The following problem helps with problems involving the evolution of policing. Concepts discussed include political, reform and community eras.

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