A Critical History of Police Power

The 1960s were a time where different kinds of movements were taking place. There was the civil rights movement, student rights movements, Vietnam, the counter culture etc. Other new introductions of this era from the crime scene were new forms of assignations such as mass murder and serial murder. The death toll was also high where at least 100 force members had died on duty, while force members had killed 300 civilians. Things did not continue to be rosy for the force in this era since some of their actions had instigated unrest and riots.

To mention a few racism and abrasive behavior had not only made them look bad, the system itself as high as the Supreme Court had lost confidence in what they were doing and had been put under scrutiny. That was the era the requirement for the police to read to criminals their rights from little cards was made part of the arrest procedure. On the positive side, introductions such as the President’s Commission started by President Johnson had contributed a lot in educating those who were planning to join the force by coming up with a task force report sometimes used as text books at colleges that were offering crime fighting courses.

The renowned Computerized Police information system followed that by revolutionizing what police were doing. Other worth mentioning event of the era was the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Street Act that made available up to $7 billion for research, development, and evaluation programs, although the purpose was somehow defeated when 60% of the money was spent for police equipment, the rest finding its ways into various channels that enhanced the way the force was doing its jobs. Current era 1970 to the present

The 1970’s focus was to change the image of the police force more than anything else where efforts to demilitarize the force had been underway where effort were made to change how the uniform looks and eliminating the working differences between the uniformed police force and the detectives who were in a civilian cloth, by making them work together whenever possible. In fact, those who were working in civilian clothing to make them less conspicuous were also required to work as patrols in uniform.

To help with the police and community public relation effort many think tanks had come into existence and programs such as Open Houses and Ride Along were among the introductions. Some of the effort had gone as far as preparing citizens in self-defense. There were also problems that plagued the force the major one being corruption where citizens were coming up with their own commissions to investigate police corruption.

That led to the coming up of various commissions such as Knapp Commission and Mollen commission where while the Knapp Commission focused on the force’s integrity check, the Mollen Commission was tackling the problem the drug trade created among the force, where some members of the force had been involved actively in trafficking drug because of the large stake involved that could be in millions of dollars. Another commission Christopher Commission was also looking into the reported brutality of the police force mainly because of the beating of Rodney King publicized nationwide (Walker, 2005).

What had been new since the beginning of the 80s is community-policing movement. What the drive had been is to come up with ways how the force and community members would work together so that they could have a good handle on problems such as fear of crime, disorder, and decay where the force will play the role of specialists that have adequate information and know-how to implement special solutions as to how to control city decaying agents such as graffiti from occurring and after it occurs how quickly and effectively to remove it.

Fighting city decay was also in the list that requires coming up with means to beautify communities and pay more attention to quality of life, which is a departure from the earlier era showing that, more or less , crime had been under control and the force has enough time on its hand that it could put to use for such purposes (Kelling, 2002). The only difference brought about is due to September 11, 2001 where the requirement of integrating the duty of homeland security in what the force is doing had taken the front seat.

References Bayley, D. (1999). “The Development of Modern Police. ” Los Angeles: Bopp. W. & D. Schultz. (1972). A Short History of American Law Enforcement. Springfield: Charles Thomas. Carte, G. & E. (1975) “Police Reform in the United States: The Era of August Vollmer” Berkeley: Univ. of California Press Champion, John, Dean. (1998) “Administration of Criminal Justice: Structure, Function and Process”.

3rd Edition, Published by Nelson-Hall Hunter, Virginia J. (1994) Policing Athens: Social Control in the Attic Lwasuits, 420-320 B. C Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Kelling, George L. , Mary A. Wycoff (December 2002) “Evolving Strategy of Policing: Case Studies of Strategic Change”. National Institute of Justice. NCJ Neocleous, Mark (2004) “Fabricating Social Order: A Critical History of Police Power” Pluto Press