Police Systems in the United States Chapter 6

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Police systems in the United States Chapter 6 Serge Baranov

Mutual Pledge that organized the country at several levels. At the lowest level were tithing’s, 10 families grouped together who assumed mutual responsibility for the acts of their members. At the next level , 10 tithing’s or 100 families, were grouped together into a hundred.

Magistrates in 17 century were some officials whose duties included enforcing the law and keeping the peace.

Thief-takers – private detectives who were paid by the crown on a piecework bases.

County and Municipal Policing Despite the existence of the large federal enforcement bureaucracies and the state police agencies, most law enforcement and peacekeeping in rural, urban, and unincorporated areas is provided by county and municipal authorities. The office of sheriff has been established by either a state constitution or statutory law in all the states except Alaska. The sheriff serves as the chief law enforcement officer in his or her county and has countywide jurisdiction

The sheriff the first of the formal law enforcement agents to appear in the vast territories beyond Mississippi River, was closely modeled after his . British counterpart. But while the powers or the English sheriff had diminished over time, those of the American sheriff expanded to include not only the apprehension of criminals but also the conducting of elections, the collection of taxes, and the custody of public funds. Moreover, American sheriffs were eventually chosen by popular election.

The Posse. The origins of the posse go back many hundreds of years. During the time of Alfred the Great, when mutual pledges hound together the members of a tithing, one of the peacekeeping instruments was the posse cogitates, Latin for "the power of the county," which consisted of all the able-bodied men in a county. This group was at the absolute disposal of a sheriff, and members were required to respond when called on to do so. The institution of posse cogitates was transferred intact to American soi1.13 Here, it became an important component of criminal justice machinery as the frontier moved westward, for it could place the entire power of a community under the leadership of the sheriff.

Territorial Agencies Also among the lawmen of the West were territorial police agencies. The Texas Rangers were the first of these organized forces. Equipped by Stephen F. Austin in 1823 to help protect settlers against the Native American tribes, the Rangers were organized as a corps of irregular fighters when the Texas revolution against Mexico broke out in 1835. After 1870, the Rangers evolved into an effective law enforcement agency.14 Following the lead of the Texas Rangers, the Arizona Rangers were established in 1901 and the New Mexico Mounted Police in 1905—but these were primarily border patrol forces and were abandoned within a few years after their inception.15

Federal marshals were also a part Of law enforcement in the American West. When the United States came into being with the ratification of the Constitution, the dual sovereignty of state and republic required the designation of special officers to represent the authority of the federal courts. In 1789, Congress established the position of federal marshal, but these appointed officials did not come to prominence until after the Civil War. The popular image of federal marshals and their deputies maintaining law and order along the trail and in the violent mining communities has little foundation in fact. Most of the marshals' working time was spent on routine functions related to civil and criminal court activity. Sometimes they conducted criminal investigations and appre-hended outlaws, but these activities constituted only a fraction of the duties they performed.16 It should be noted that not all marshals were federal marshals. There were also city and town marshals appointed by a mayor or city council, These were community

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