February 14, 2011
This Law Enforcement paper will describe some of the historic background of police agencies and their jurisdiction in regard to local, state, and federal law enforcement, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. Also covered in this paper, is a brief overview of each department’s responsibilities with regard to their primary purposes.
History and Development of Police
The rise of police as an organized force throughout the Western world, took place the same time centralized governments came into existence. Police forces have grown all around the world but growth of the English police is of particular interest to students of the criminal justice system in America. The reason for this is due, to a large extent because early American policing was formed on the British model. With the exception of military intervention, law enforcement was not well-organized until close to the year A.D. 1200 (Schmalleger, 2009). During this early period, law enforcement relied on the efforts of citizens to help with criminal apprehension. In 1829, a man by the named Sir Robert Peel (who later became prime minister of England) organized what may have been recognized as the world’s first modern police force. That same year, the Metropolitan Police Act, allocated resources for Peel’s force of 1,000 handpicked men, and The London Metropolitan Police Force (also known as the new police, or Met,) became the model for polices forces all across the world (Schmalleger, 2009). American leaders paid close attention to Sir Robert Peel as he created London’s new police. One year later, Stephen Girard, a well-to-do manufacturer, donated a large amount of money to the city of Philadelphia to create a capable police department. The city hired 120 men for the night watch, and 24 to take care of similar duties during the day shift (Schmalleger, 2009).
It has been said that America has the most complex law enforcement in the world. There are three major legislative and judicial jurisdictions that exist in the United States – federal, state, and local. Each has created a wide variety of police agencies to enforce the laws.
Local police agencies along with city and county agencies, represent a third level of law enforcement activity in the United States. The term “local” police make a wide variety of agencies that include municipal department, sheriff’s departments, and specialized groups like campus police. In the United States, the largest law enforcement agency is the New York Police (NYPD), and they have approximately 38,000 sworn police officers (Schmalleger, 2009). Even though this number sounds impressive, small town and county sheriff’s departments have a much greater number of officers. For example, there are close to 12,700 municipal police departments and 3,100 sheriff’s departments throughout the United States (Schmalleger, 2009). Each incorporated municipality in the country has the authority to create its own police force. Of course there are very small communities that in some cases only hire one officer and if this is the case, that officer will fill the role of chief investigator as well as anything else needed.
Generally speaking, state police agencies were formed in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century for the purpose of meeting specific needs. There are several state police agencies that exist today. For example, State Police, Weigh station operations, Highway Patrol, State park services, Port authorities, Fish and wildlife agencies, and State bureaus of investigations, to name a few State law...