The Evolution of Technology in Policing

647 Words3 Pages
1. Although law enforcement tactics have been used to help communities address their public safety concerns and help legitimize the law, policing as a formal social institution is young. The history of the formal police system stems back to the 19th century and Sir Robert Peel's first force of "bobbies" in London. Since Peel's reforms, modern policing has evolved to include many different models that include community policing. The Peel reforms ensured that English, and then American, police forces reflected the goals of the judiciary and legislative branches of government. Policing went from a patronage system, which was not regulated closely, highly decentralized, and uncoordinated, to a civil service system that permitted greater communication and shared resources. Technology was instrumental in policing communication and strategies since the early 20th century. Early police forces relied on technology for patrolling and crime solving. The telegraph, for example, was used by cops on a beat to communicate back to headquarters (Foster, 2005). Two-way radios further facilitated officer communications between each other and with headquarters. As policing became further integrated into the civil service, the force developed a strong bureaucracy, hierarchy, and organizational culture. O.W. Wilson's book Police Administration was published in 1950, and it outlined the structure and culture of a professional policing organization. In the spirit of Peel, early police
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