Law Enforcement: Then and Now

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Law Enforcement has changed dramatically over the years in the United States.

Our history has progressed from the English law. Many technological advances have

helped shape law enforcement today. Also new ways and ideas of policing have

influenced the change in law enforcement. Law enforcement has become less corrupt

over the years. Women are playing a big role in enforcement. New rules, laws, and

procedures have been put in place to help improve or society.

The criminal justice system of England in the 18th century seems very different

from the view from people that are more familiar with modern institutions. The two most

striking ideas is the way the institutions prosecuted the offenders and the range of

punishments. Prosecution of almost all criminal offenses was private, usually by the

victim. Intermediate punishments for serious offenses were absent. Most people say that

in the early years of the century, English courts imposed only two sentences on convicted

felons. The perpetrator would either be turned them loose or be hung (Beattie, 20-23). It

is hard to believe how far we have come from the early English law.

There have been many dramatic changes since the political era ended. Hard work

and determination is the key to success in the criminal justice system. Officers now

advance through the rank system in progressive steps. This ensures that those promoted

have the necessary background and skills for their new position. By going through the

ranks a level of fairness and properly trained officers are hired. It is very rare for one to

skip from the patrol unit and become an investigative lieutenant. This differs from years

past when a family member or friend was promoted. Politics have still not completely

been abolished from the promotion system, but promotions are now based more on skills

and qualifications not who you know (Kelling).

Community oriented policing is a recent wave in American law enforcement. It

has stemmed after the political and reform era. It turns away from reacting to crimes.

This is a proactive ways of policing. It is not the typical type of crime fighter perspective.

The idea of this is to prevent crime before it happens (Trojanowicz, p2).

A few examples are responding to citizen calls for police assistance, enforcing the

law, maintaining order in the community, providing emergency services, preventing

crime, investigating criminal activity, organized crime intelligence gathering and

investigation, vice control, investigating drug related crimes, crime prevention,

community education, providing police service for special community circumstances, and

working with other law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels

(http://www.chiefwalters.com/philosophy/). This new way of preventing crime has been

strongly approved by many. Typically minority officers approve of community oriented

policing more then white officers. So far community policing has made gains in

improving the safety of communities.

Police abuse is a serious national problem. Both in the past and now police have

been abusing their power. This especially affects young people and minorities. While

many police officers do try to be considerate, and while we all understand the stress and

danger involved in policing, all citizens have a civil right to be treated with respect and

without abuse by the police. Over the years police districts have made improvement in

cleaning up corrupt officers. This is a problem that will always be around. Community

policing is helping fix the relations with the community and the police.

Women have made great strides in law enforcement careers since the 1960's. A

combination of societal changes and legal mandates, have helped pave the way for

women to enter law enforcement in record numbers today. From less than 2 percent in the

early 1970's to just...
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