Policing,just like all other professionals, constructs its proficiency fromexperiences of police history (Kelling & Moore, 1989, p. 1). Itfollows, then, that as current police administrators scour theenvironment for more operational policing strategies, they will beguided by the lessons learned from policing history. This essaypresents an interpretation of the history of police that may beinstrumental in helping police chiefs consider future alternativeapproaches to policing. In deliberating the historical perspective ofpolicing, this essay will utilize the concept of corporatestrategyas a lens through which it will describe the various policingorganizations. "Corporatestrategy"as an analytical framework, divides this essay into three differenteras the political era, the reform era and the communityproblem-solving era. The various era classifications are based on theelements of police organization tactics during each particularperiod.
Accordingto Rolle (2013), many historians make a description of thecharacteristics of the United States` early policing as a tusslebetween the gratifications of the interests of various groups togovern the cops. The "political era" is so named becausethis period was dominated by close ties between politicians and thepolice, dated back to the 1840`s after the institution of the policeinto municipalities (p. 110). The subsequent section of this paperdiscusses the elements of the police organizational strategies usedduring the political era.
Worralland Schmallager (2013) perceptively state that the police in EarlyAmerica were approved by local municipalities. The American police,unlike their English counterparts, lacked the central authority toestablish a unifying and legitimate mandate for their policingenterprise. Instead, as Worrall and Schmallager (2013) continue toexplain, the police derived their resources and authorization fromlocal ward politicians. Their relationship was reciprocal in nature:political frontrunners employed and maintained police in office andin return, the police aided the political leaders to maintain theirpositions by encouraging citizens to cast their votes for them,discourage them from voting for other politicians and sometimesrigging elections in their favor (Rolle, 2013, p. 112).
Despitethe close connection between political elites, the police during thisera provided a wide array of services to the citizens. Kelling andMoore (1989) specify that the police were involved in the regulationand maintenance of order, crime prevention and they also availed anextensive diversity of social services. The police in the 19thcentury also provided lodging to immigrants and worked closely withpolitical leaders in finding employment for them (p. 3).
Owedto the fact that the United States in the 19th century was dividedinto precincts and wards, police departments were decentralized eventhough there was a clear chain of command. The police, workingclosely with politicians, hired, assigned, managed and fired ward andprecinct employees as they deemed appropriate (Worrall &Schmalleger, 2013). Consistent with their obligatory duties, thepolice emphasized both political and citizen satisfaction with theirservices.
Principaltechnologies and programs
Itis the view of Kelling and Moore (1989) that most police officers inthe political era walked the beat and dealt with disorder, crime andother societal problems as they were guided by precinct supervisorsand citizens or as they arose. The technological tools of tradeavailed to the police in the 19th century were inadequate, butpolicing work was considerably upgraded with the introduction of callboxes (p. 4). Later, early automobiles became available to thepolice, after which they increased the range, but not the mode, ofpolice patrols (Rolle, 2013, p. 114). Consistent with theirobligatory duties, the police emphasized both political and citizensatisfaction with their services.
Rolle(2013), notes that corruption had sprouted out of the closeness ofthe community, political leaders, and the police. The 19th centuryattempts by civilians to restructure police organizations by applyingexternal pressures to end corruption failed. However, the20th-century attempts by internal and external forces shaped thecontemporary policing as we presently know it throughout the 70`s(Worrall & Schmalleger, 2013). The reformers’ argument toexclude political influence from policing was so resilient thatpolice departments became one of the most self-governing publicorganizations in the federal government (Rolle, 2013, p. 118). Undersuch conditions, policing a city became a technical and legal matterleft to the discretion of professional police chiefs under the strictsupervision of the law (Rolle, 2013). Following are the elements ofthe police organizational strategies employed during the reform era
Kellingand Moore (1989) observe that reformers viewed political involvementas the cause of the problem in American policing. They moved inunison to cut the close ties between police and local politicalleaders. In some states, policing regulation was abrogated by thefederal government. For instance, the position of police chief in thestates of Cincinnati and Los Angeles became a civil service position(p. 6). In other states, like Philadelphia, it became unlawful for apatrol officer to reside in the beats they patrolled. All thesechanges were implemented to isolate politics and policing. Law,particularly police professionalism law and criminal law, wereinstituted as the fundamental basis of police legality (Worrall &Schmalleger, 2013).
Rolle(2013) observes that since the focus was placed on criminal law asone of the primary sources of police legitimacy, the police in thisera narrowed their functioning to crime regulation and feloniousapprehension. Policing agencies metamorphosed into law enforcementagencies (p. 121). Their principal actions were to use criminal lawto deter and apprehend lawbreakers.
Theorganization of policing in this era reflects the classical theory ofadministration, advocated for by Frederick Taylor. This, as Kelling &Moore (1989) point out, posits that if tasks are broken intocomponents, workers can become highly skilled and, therefore, becomemore efficient in carrying out their contractual obligations (p. 8).As a result, individual units were created under the federalgovernment, unlike precinct command, further centralizing the controland command of the police. Moreover, police organizations accentuatedcontrol over workers through legitimate means of supervision,record-keeping, limited span of control and flow of instructions(Rolle, 2013, p. 121).
Principaltechnologies and programs
Itis the view of Worrall and Schmalleger (2013) that the main tactic ofthe police during this era was preventive patrol by rapid responseand automobile. The main reason for using vehicles was to increasethe areas police officers would patrol. Also, the police usedvehicles to match up to the criminals that had started using cars intheir sinister plots. Telephones and radios started becominguniversal police then became more accessible because the publicwould call upon them whenever they needed assistance. This era gavebirth to 911 (Rolle, 2013, p. 123).
TheCommunity Problem-Solving Era
Researchconducted during the 70`s suggested that one factor would help policeimprove their dealing with crime: information. If sensitiveinformation about criminals and crime could be obtained by the policefrom the citizens, virtually the patrol officer`s efficiency insolving a crime is improved (Kelling & Moore, 1989, p. 9).Findings on the connection between fear reduction and foot patrolcreated new occasions for the police to comprehend the security needsof citizens regarding gangs and crime. This problem-orientedmethodology was seasoned in many states including Wisconsin,Maryland, and Virginia, proving to be very useful (p. 10). Followingare the elements of the police organizational strategies employedduring the community problem-solving era
AsRolle (2013) argues, there is a reintroduced emphasis on community,along with professionalism and law (p. 123). The law is the primarylegitimating basis of the functions of the police. There is a cleardefinition of primary police powers, albeit it does not exhaustivelydirect police roles in negotiating conflicts, maintaining order orsolving community problems. However, the community or theneighborhood is required by the police to accomplish their tasks(Worrall & Schmalleger, 2013).
Asinitially indicated by Rolle (2013), the duties of the police broadenwithin the community strategy. Their roles include conflictresolution, order maintenance, solving problems and provision ofservices. The police, in consultation with the citizens, solveproblems, maintain order and resolve conflicts.
AsKelling and Moore (1989) note, legislative decentralization isintrinsic in a community: the involvement of police in diagnosing andresponding to community problems is essential to push the tacticaloperations of the police in fighting crime. The existence ofcommunity police stations is a textbook example of decentralization(p. 12).
Principaltechnology and tactics
Communitypolicing strategies include problem solving, foot patrol, informationgathering, consultation, education, victim counseling anddoor-to-door programs (Rolle, 2013, p. 124). However, great emphasisis placed on information sharing between the police and the communityto increase the possibility of crime solution.
Inthis paper, I have proved that there are three policing strategiesthe political era, the reform era and finally the communityproblem-solving era. To carefully examine the scopes of policingduring these eras, I have used the concept of "organizationalstrategy". Personally, I believe this framework can be used notonly to describe the diverse styles of policing in the past and thepresent, but also to sharpen the comprehension of the policy makersof the future. According to Truman and Rand (2011), community-basedpolicing has majorly contributed to the decreasing number of crimespresently (p. 7). The rate of total violent crimes declined by 14% in2010, three times the average yearly decrease witnessed from2001-2009 (4%) (p. 9). In 2010, the property victimization rateshrank by 8% as compared to the average annual decrease of 3% asobserved from 2001 through to 2009 (Truman & Rand, 2011).Therefore, it is apparent that community-centered policing is thefuture of American Policing because thus far, it has proven to beoperative in the fight against crime and its perpetrators.
Kelling,G. L., & Moore, M. H. (1989). Theevolving strategy of policing,1-15. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of JusticePrograms, National Institute of Justice.
Rolle,P. (2013). Community Policing. TheEvolution of Policing Worldwide Innovations and Insights,109-126. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
Truman,J., & Rand, M. R. (2011). Criminal Victimization, 2009. PsycEXTRADataset,1-18. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
Worrall,J. L., & Schmalleger, F. (2013). Policing.Boston: Pearson.