To understand contemporary policing in America it is necessary to understand its antecedents; we will gain a better understanding of this history by looking at its three eras. The police, said, are “to great extent, the prisoners of the past. Day-to-day practices are influenced by deeply ingrained traditions.” Another reason for analyzing historical developments and trends is that several discrete legacies have been transmitters to modern police agencies. In view of the significant historical impact on modern policing, it is necessary to turn back the clock to about A.D.900. Therefore, we begin with a brief history of the evolution of four primary criminal justice officers—sheriff, constable, coroner, and justice of the peace—from early England to the twentieth century in America (Ken, 2006).
English and Colonial Officers the Law:
All four of the primary criminal justice officials of early English-the sheriff, constable, coroner, and justice of the peace there was a lack of established practice in the United State. Accordingly, it is important to have a basic understanding of these offices, including their early functions in England and, later, in America. Following is a brief discussion of each (Ken, 2006). Sheriff:
The word sheriff is derived from the term shire reeve—shire meaning “county” and reeve meaning “agent of the king.” The shire reeve appeared in English before the Norman conquest of 1066. His job was to maintain law and order in the tithing. They followed a brand of English common Law, although the sheriff was never a popular officer in England and since the nineteenth centenary sheriff has had no police powers. When the office began, the sheriff assisted the king in fiscal, military and judicial affairs and was referred to as the “king’s steward.” The sheriff’s principal duties were to enforce laws, collect taxes and oversee elections.
Like the sheriff, the constable can be trace back to Anglo-Saxon times. The office began during the reign of Edward I when every parish or township had a constable. As the county police officer turns more and more to matter of defense, the constable alone pursued felons focusing in later the ancient custom of citizens rising aloud noisy and joining in pursuit of criminals lapsed into disuse. During the middle Ages there was yet on high degree of specialization. The constable had a variety of duties including collecting taxes, supervising highways, and serving as magistrate. The office soon became subject to election and was conferrer upon local men of prominence; however, the creation of the wearing away grinding down office of the justice of the peace around 1200 quickly changed this trend forever; soon the constable was limited to making arrests only with warrants issued by a justice of the peace. As a result, the office deprived of social and civic prestige was no longer attractive. It carried on salary and the duties were often dangerous. In addition there was heavy attrition in the office, so the constable’s term was limited to one year in an attempted attract officeholders; in 1856 Parliament completely discarded the office The office of constable experienced a similar process of disintegration in the colonies However, the American constables usually two in each town were give control over the night watch. By the 1930s, State constitution in twenty-one states provided for the office of constable but constable still received no pay and like their British colleagues they enjoyed little prestige or popularity after the early 1930s. The position fell into disfavor largely because most constables were untrained and was believe to be wholly inadequate as officials of the law (Ken, 2006).
The office coroner is more difficult to describe. It has been use to fulfill many different roles throughout its history and has steadily changed over the centuries. There is no...