Throughout the years executives from the police department has been trying to find strategies to improve policing in our society. According to the history there are three eras of policing; the political era, the reform era and lastly the problem solving era in which we are in today. The political era began in the early 19th century (1840’s – 1900’s) and was dominated by the local political leaders which opened the door of corruption through politics. During this time the community along with politicians demanded foot patrol as a method to control disorder. In the late 19th and 20th century the reform era took place, the prohibition had a major impact during this era because it led to the organized crime and revolutionary groups to arise and
Are we headed backwards with our policing today? A question I have asked myself frequently while preparing this paper. Of the three eras of policing I will discuss the Community Era and the Political Era. The political era lasted about 90 years, starting from 1840 going through 1930. The purpose during this era was to protect and serve the public in the safest, and most productive way known, kind of like today, but a different style. Let us look at this style resembling todays era. Officers familiarize themselves with the community by the way they patrolled, they did a style by foot, called a beat. While patrolling by foot they did things to give back to the community like taking out garbage, helping to keep the community nice and clean and getting to know the local business owners.
Policing as we know it today has developed from various political, economic, and social forces. To better understand the role of police in society, one has to know the history of how policing became what it is today. Policing has been categorized into three basic eras, which include the Political Era, Reform Era, and lastly the Community Problem-Solving Era that is the present form of policing.
Policing is a very difficult, complex and dynamic field of endeavor that is always evolves as hard lessons teach us what we need to know about what works and what don’t work. There are three different Era’s in America’s policing: The Political Era, The Reform Era, and The Community Problem Solving Era. A lot has changed in the way that policing works over the years in the United States.
In the 1800s, America became extremely industrialized. Due to all of the new upbringings there was a need for organized policing. Policing in America went through many different stages beginning with organized American law enforcement, to formal policing. Michael Moore and George Kelling inferred that there were three eras of policing; political era, professional era, and community era. The political era came first along, as that era began to go downhill, the professional era arose. As the professional era began to take drawbacks, the community era started up and is still going on in present day. There are many positives and some negatives in today’s society living in the community era.
Policing today consists of three eras. These three eras have adapted and built off one another through history (Parr, 2014). The first era started around 1840 to 1930, and is known as the Political Era. The second Era is known as the Reform Era and lasted from 1930 to 1970. The last era is called the Community-Problem Solving Era and is still being adapted and used today. The Political Era emphasizes on meeting the needs of politicians. The police were given power through the local government and the community had very little say in what happened. The police and politicians worked together to control the city and neighborhoods (Palmiotto, 2000). This was often referred to as a ward. The ward politician controlled all the police in their neighborhood. The police officers tasks included not only crime prevention and order but a lot of social service activities that involved their neighborhoods. The officers resembled the ethnic backgrounds of the neighborhoods they lived and worked in and performed their patrols gaining trust from their community (Palmiotto, 2000). This allowed positive integration of police officers leading to more public service, and the trust of the officers to stop crime when is starts.
The Community Policing era has been one of the contemporary police activities in the last 30 years. It is more of a decentralized approach to reducing crime by involving the same officer in the same community on a long term basis, so residents will develop trust and then provide information and assistance to the officer. Community Policing does not replace motorized patrol or other police tactics but instead compliments them with community partnership and problem solving (Bailey, 2011).
There are multiple approaches to engaging a police force with the community in order to most effectively prevent and respond to crime, and considering the relative strengths and weakness of each of these strategic models will demonstrate how models can impact the operation of daily policing practices and activities. The model under discussion here is called community oriented policing (COP), and focuses on building relationships and rapport between officers and the community in order to more effectively prevent crime. It is augmented by a model called problem solving policing (PSP), and depends upon rank-and-file officers identifying community problem areas through direct observation and analysis. Each model excels at slightly different things, and in practice most police agencies deploy a mix of models. By examining the Miami-Dade Police Department's handbook for school resource officers, it will be possible to view a COP/PSP policy in action in order to better understand how these models practically affect policing.
Community policing has evolved to be the most used strategy for policing. “It is an approach to crime detection and prevention that provides police officers and supervisors with new tools for addressing recurrent problems that plague communities and consume a majority of police agency time and resources” (Peak, 2012, 65). It has been defined by various people differently. But all the definitions have similar principles (Chappell, 2009). They focus on proactive problem solving and create relationships with the community to address any issue that may arise. Community policing is a combination of client-oriented and problem-oriented policing.
Law enforcement has three major eras throughout history. The eras of policing that will be discussed in this paper are as follows; the political era which was from 1840 – 1930, the reform era which was from 1930 -1980, and last but not least the community problem solving era which is from 1980- 1995. Each one of these era’s had an impact on today’s policing and we are going to discuss each one and ultimately decide which one had the most effect on today’s policing.
From the end of the political era to the 1970s policing went through these changes. The professional era of policing led to the police forgetting the bond with the communities and an attitude of “us vs. them” The strengths of this era are mostly still used today. First would be the technology change. In the era police started using automobiles and radios and it allowed for faster responses and better communication. The police officers also became professional and had to take a standardized tests which established civil service which helped in the hiring and securities of the jobs of the police officers. They also received adequate training for the job. The biggest difference and strength from the political era to the professional era was the separation of the politics out of the police. The biggest weakness of this era was the separation of the police with the community along with the police ‘code of silence’ which kept everything within the department hush-hush. The type of policing that was done during this time was all reactive while doing random patrol and catching all the “bad guys” (Miller &
Community relations also play a major role in the modernization of policing. The interactions among different police departments and communities allow for effective policing. Many of Vollmer’s ideas came from his associates, from police experiences in other countries, and from academic sources. Vollmer recognized the potential of these ideas and unified them into a working whole, using his energy and dedication to set a pattern for police reform that continues to this day.
While the Reform Era worked to professionalize police, as society became more complex, so did the role of the police officer. The Community Policing Era was developed as a result of the need to develop cooperation and positive relationships between the police and public. What developed out of this era was an essential element of community policing – public accountability. Police officers became accountable to their supervisors who in turn became accountable to the community. Accountability can be seen as an honest evaluation of achievement based on clearly defined objectives. Many of these objectives are defined by complex community and social problems; as such police officers require the capacity and flexibility to work on them in a variety of styles and employing a variety of strategies.
Approaches of both community policing and traditional policing models differ in a variety of ways. The characteristics of the policing models are quite different from each other, and community based policing was considered laughable when suggested for the new approach in the early 1970s. Due to community policing’s new operating beliefs, new and unfamiliar expected officer behaviors, and that officers were being held legally responsible for their actions and inactions; the idea and implementation wasn’t widely accepted until 1980’s. Traditional policing was primarily dominated by rampant corruption and lawlessness that affected all levels of the police administration; therefore citizens had little trust if any, in the police officers of the time.