The historical development of policing plays a major role in how policing is done today. We continue to learn from the past, even though not many major laws or practices have been put into place. We still suffer from racial profiling and criminal injustice. With more police training and weeding out the corrupt officers, we can successfully adapt to a new way of policing. Not all officers need to change, but the way some officers handle the public does. Alterations to the purpose, duties, and structure of American police agencies have allowed this profession to evolve from ineffective watch groups to police agencies that incorporate advanced technology and problem-solving strategies into their daily operations (www.sagepub.com). HISTORY
Two types of policing were first formed when this practice began. Informal policing came from community members who decided to take protection into their own hands. Members would equally protect and share the responsibility of serving the community. This was important to keep order in towns and keep the people feeling safe. Informal policing changed to formal policing has towns began to grow into cities. More protection and patrols of the area were needed. When formal policing began, members were assigned this officer position. This kept just a few people as the protectors and the community did not have to take turns sharing the responsibility. Eventually cities grew even larger and whole police departments were formed. Patrols used to be on foot. Officers would walk around and meet with town people and interact. This would show a one on one relationship with the community between them and the police. This put trust in the police department and its officers. PRESENT DAY
A formal policing system is still used. Each police department has its very own sector of the county or state to patrol. This divides the workload and puts less stress on officers. There are still areas that are under-policed and need help enforcing laws. With little police activity in the community the crime rates rise. Informal policing still occurs today within gangs. Gangs handle their own people and other gangs they are opposed too. Members of these gangs will rule among their own people and fight against those who try to fight them. Police are not used in gangs and are mostly disliked. They want to handle the situation themselves and that usually involves violence against another person, theft, or sexual assault. In a lot of gang violence, death is the end result. Racial profiling and criminal injustice are two problems that have been around since policing began. Racial profiling is when an officer, or someone in law enforcement, stops or pulls someone over because of the color of their skin.
These officers assume that the person is doing something wrong even if he/she does not show to be doing anything wrong at all. They are automatically assuming that because of the color of their skin they are not complying with the laws and regulations in that state or jurisdiction. We need to have more racial profiling training in place when sending cadets through the academy. This training also needs to take place annually to ensure all law enforcement are practicing policing correctly. President Obama has made multiple speeches about change racial profiling in the United States.
We have been hearing this for years and have yet to see a change. I believe that historical development of policing shows us that we can learn from our mistakes and move forward with bettering our police departments. Officers need to understand the importance of having a community that can trust the police. After all, most opinions formed about police are from a person or group of people who have had a bad experience. This one person’s experience can change the minds of many people. 3.2 percent of the United States population is either incarcerated or under some kind of probation supervision. There are one million African Americans incarcerated, out of 2.3 million total incarcerated in the United States. Although whites make up less of the prison population, they are more likely to be in jail for a drug related charge than an African American. More crime tends to come from residents of inner city communities. CONCLUSION
We have learned many new things about policing in today’s society. We still have room to grown though. As we move forward, we need to take into consideration the difference law enforcement can make with training in racial profiling and criminal injustice. We could still use the old practices of going out and doing work within the community to gain the trust of its members. With no major law changes, I believe that should the first step in the right direction to changing our policing in the United States.
www.encyclopedia.com Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice 2002 Engel, Robin Shepard, The Gale Group, Inc. www.sagepub.com The History of Police