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Police Influence on Society

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Describes how the historical development of policing in the United States relates to the current relationship between police and different ethnic groups and social classes.
Support your discussion with examples from law enforcement practices, court procedures, corrections populations, or all three.

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The expert describes how the historical development of policing in the United States for the current relationship between police and different ethnic groups and social classes are determined.

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English police practice emphasized stopping crime before it begins. Deterrence is often the result of a strong police presence in an area, or other visible signs of law enforcement activity. According to Roberg et al (2005) there are four theories that explain the development of modern police forces in the US.

The first claims that disorder was so prevalent in cities that a professionally trained phalanx of officers was necessary to keep the peace. The second theory relates to crime as such, rather than disorder in general. It holds that as crime rates grew in urban areas, police forces were formed to combat it. The first theory deals with generalized violence and disorder. The third theory is popular among writers on the left, who claim that as economic relations became less equal, the creation of coercive agencies was necessary to keep the poor from stealing from the rich. Finally, there is a strange theory that says the establishment of professional police forces is based on imitation of other areas (Roberg, et al 2005).

Yet, in order to be effective, the police force needed to be ethical, efficient and selfless. Of course, this is a tall order for any profession. In 1929, President Hoover established the Wickersham Commission in the midst of prohibition. The commission famously found that police, when enforcing prohibition, wee particularly violent and often used torture tactics. This led to a flurry of reforms.

In 1965, something called the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice was convened by President LB Johnson. The results of the report claimed that crime was becoming an epidemic and very difficult to control. New training methods for police were needed, more courts should be established due to backlogs, and reduce the use of prisons as punishment. Johnson wanted to see the federal government begin engaging local police forces on new tactics on manpower usage, communications, tactics, and the use of force. Relative to the topic at hand, Johnson made one very revealing statement:

It has been said that the fault lies in poor living conditions, limited education, and the denial of opportunity. Plainly, laws are less likely to command the respect of those forced to live at the margins of our society. Stability and order have little ...

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