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American Policing: History, Contributions of Sir Robert Peel, Relationships Between the U.S. Government and Policing Essay

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Updated: May 12th, 2022

History of America Policing system

American policing system derived its elements from the English system that was formed in early 1066. During its formation, Colonial America had a group of citizen volunteers that oversaw all activities that took place in the society. These watch systems lasted up to mid 19th century. Some of the roles played by the watch system included providing social services such as searching for lost children and animals. However, the involvement of social systems in reducing criminal activities was not significant; the majority of the volunteers were disorganized and erratic (Gaines and Kappeler, 2011).

After some time, some of the American volunteers shifted their law enforcement responsibilities to some groups of men within their societies. The shifting of responsibilities from volunteers to specific men resulted in the formation of new law enforcement systems. For instance, it led to the formation of tythings that consisted of a group of ten men. The tythings were further grouped into a group of hundreds to form shires that were controlled by sheriffs. Tythings and shires played different roles in society. For example, each member of the tythings had the responsibility of controlling crimes within their communities. Unlike tythings, sheriffs captured criminals and ruled in courts. The sheriffs also took part in collecting taxes.

Unfortunately, the colonial law enforcement practices were not that effective; most tythings spent much of their time sleeping and socializing instead of enforcing the law. In addition, individuals responsible for enforcing the law had hard times controlling the emanating crimes and riots due to a lack of enough capital and resources.

Contributions of Sir Robert Peel on American policing

The introduction of the Metropolitan Police Act by Robert Peel in 1829 contributed immensely towards the advancement of police departments in the world. For instance, it enabled England to manage its citizens’ social conflict that resulted from rural-urban migration. Peel’s principle also contributed significantly towards the formation of police departments in the U.S.A. It enabled American police departments to come up with a police patrol system that deterred criminal activities in society (Gaines and Kappeler, 2011).

Relationship between the U.S. government and the policing organizations

There exist two types of police ranks in the U.S.A: Federal and State. The Federal comprises many organizations such as the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Defense Intelligence Agency, Federal Protective Service, and Drug Enforcement Administration. These organizations are guided and authorized by the law outlined in Article 1 section 8 of the U.S.A Constitution. For instance, the FBI monitors and curtails the movement of criminals along the borders of America. On the other hand, the DEA carries the role of enforcing laws on tax lifted materials.

The State level comprises three sub-branches of police: State trooper that patrols and ensures different areas are maintained well, County Sheriff that oversees county jails and areas away from the cities, and the City Police that patrols the cities and localities within the cities. All the Policing organizations are united and governed by the state’s Penal Code.

How the relationship between the U.S. government and the policing organizations may affect American policing

The decentralization of policing organizations in the U.S.A plays a crucial role in presenting crucial assets to society. However, decentralization also leads to the emergence of complications. For instance, the local funding of police organizations poses great challenges to federal and state governments. The two states also find difficulties in advancing police efficiency and fairness. Additionally, there exists a lot of imbalance in diverse aspects of policing; the high fragmentation of policing organizations in the U.S.A leads to the emergence of uncoordinated agencies in the American government.

Reference

Gaines, L & Kappeler, V. (2011). Policing In America. New York: Elsevier.

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