Law enforcement of the 1800s and today’s law enforcement

The history of law enforcement in the world is as old as the society’s conception.  Law enforcement is very vital in every democratic society as it refers to the art of maintaining peace and order as well as giving people the freedom to exercise their rights freely in the society.  The absence of law enforcement is likely to lead to the cessation of society’s existence since in such a case, every one is allowed to do whatever he or she wishes regardless of whether it affects other people in the society or not (Gregory, Conser and Paynich 2-4).  In simple terms, law enforcement is a formal process by which a society seeks to maintain peace, order and compliance with the set rules and regulations of that particular society.There are many forms of law enforcement which include statutes, administrative codes, rules and regulations, ordinances, zonal coding and so forth.  All these forms are centrally coordinated and legally authorized by the police force which acts as the government’s legal body for overseeing the enactment of rules and regulation in the society.  According to Neocleous (93-94), police powers provide a platform on which the authority given to law enforcement officials is exercise upon the public.History of law enforcement.Law enforcement bodies have existed since time immemorial to protect citizens and civilians from criminals, keep leaders in power and maintain the status quo in every country (Kelling and Wycoff 119-213).  Dating back to the biblical times, there were law enforcers who were appointed to maintain law and order.  For instance, Pharaoh had his soldiers whose duties were looking after the Israelite slaves and making sure that they worked according to the King’s instructions.  Some societies in the Bible even had military hierarchies such as Syrian, Babylon and Palestine among others.One of the most prominent law enforcement bodies of the ancient days is the Roman Empire.  The empire’s military organization is very popular for having had a brutal but very effective way of maintaining law and order.  However, these bodies never had a clear police organization until the 5th century when chiefs and heads of state affairs were appointed to undertake the responsibility of overseeing citizen protection in the empire.In history, London is named as the first city to hire paid law enforcers back in 1663.  This new trend was later adopted in other parts of the UK in the late 17 century all the way to the end of the 18 century.  The first professional law enforcement police force was established back in 1800 in Glasgow, Scotland.  The Metropolitan Police Act was then passed as a law in 1829 and this served as the foundation for the introduction of civil police force in many countries including the U.S.Outside United Kingdom, other police units were established and in 1834, the first police department in north America was established in Toronto Canada (Neocleous 93-94).  The first full time law enforcing police force in the U.S was established in the year 1839 in Boston, followed by New York city in 1844 and then the state of Philadelphia in 1854.Law enforcement in United States.U.S is a classical example of a democratic society and for this reason, the government at all levels is highly committed to protecting its citizens by maintaining law and order through professional law enforcers.  Law enforcement in the U.S highly emphasizes on protecting the rights, freedom and liberties of every individual regardless of race, age, class or ethnic origin (Gregory et al 14).Since U.S is a free, open and democratic society, disagreements on how to go about enforcing law are quite common and most people raise questions on the actions of law enforcers as portrayed by the media.  All citizens in the country are given the freedom to air their views and criticize the actions of law enforcers as depicted in the court rooms, jails, police stations and even on the streets.  The constitutional structure and the structure of the U.S criminal justice system at times tend to contradict one another.  Moreover, many debates have arisen after the 9/11 terrorist attacks concerning the issue of civil liberties and the effectiveness of national security frameworks.  All this factors help to measure how effective the law enforcement and criminal justice systems in the country are in protecting the civilians.The process of law enforcement in the U.S is sanctioned by government bodies which are elected through the public vote.  Out of the three major government branches (executive, legislative and judicial), law enforcement is put under the responsibility of the executive branch which comprises of the president at the federal government level,  governors at the state government level and mayors at the local government level.  The executive branch is responsible for the appointment of law enforcers and it also helps to establish policies and philosophies under which law enforcement bodies operate.The other two branches of the government also play a big role in law enforcement.  The legislative branch is responsible for passing rules which define what is criminal and what is not in the national jurisdiction.  The judicial branch on the other hand helps to review the undertakings of law enforcement officials in regard to the laws of the national constitution, civil laws and the legal criminal procedures.  This branch is also responsible for prosecuting criminals through a court hearing and ruling.Today’s law enforcement versus 1800s law enforcement.The law enforcement revolution which took place in the mid 1800s has imparted some major impacts on the national criminal justice system all over the world and especially in the U.S.  Before the 19th century, there were many political and social uncertainties in the U.S society such as slavery, vigilantism, racial disturbances, skirmishes and so forth.  All these led to the need for police reform and they triggered the formation of police departments for law enforcement purposes in U.S (Kelling and Wycoff 119-213).America’s law enforcement has undergone some tremendous changes since its the initial establishment of a law enforcing unit in the 1830s.  In the 1800s, police forces had duties which involved odd jobs like sweeping, maintaining public health and so forth.  Nevertheless, law enforcement officers were highly valued unlike today and their pay was up to twice as much as that of blue collar jobs.  Moreover, most of American officers in the 1800s were untrained and uneducated but today, education is a key factor in the police force hiring.Most notable changes have especially occurred in the past forty years.  Some dynamical alterations have occurred in the law enforcement units in the U.S since the September 11 attacks as a result of technological changes, social and political changes and immense pressure to step up their tactics to fight terrorism.  Pressure from both the national and international communities has been mounting on the U.S law enforcement units to improve in their duties and this has forced them to make some major changes which make them more engaged with the public.Apart from the U.S, a lot has changed in the law enforcement environments all over the world in the period between the 1800s and now.  However, some important continuities in policing have been maintained.  Some similarities and differences are notable in law enforcement with regard to punishment, types of weapons used, use of force, policing tactics among others. Punishment.In the 19th century, most punishments were given according to the magnitude of the offense which mainly fell under three major categories (Terance 26-28).  These included minor offenses, clergyable and non-clergyable felonies.  Minor offenses involved things like theft of goods worth less than 1 dollar value, public misconduct and so forth.  People who engaged in such minor offenses were mainly subjected to punishments such as public whipping or exposure which were meant to bring public embarrassment.Clergyable and non-clergyable felonies were more severe offenses and their punishments involved lifetime imprisonment or capital punishment.  For instance, manslaughter was considered to be a clergyable felony whose sentence was death in the absence of clergy privilege.  Non-clergyable felonies involved less serious offences such as robbery and the major punishment was imprisonment.Today, a variety of formal and informal punishments are available for law breakers (Terance 23-42).  This includes economic sanctions which involve the imposition of direct financial penalties, incapacitation sanctions which involve physical restriction and imprisonment and finally, corporal and capital punishments which involve physical suffering and death.Economic sanctions are financial penalties imposed on an offender for breaking the law.  They are mostly used for the purpose of deterrence, retribution and restoration of damaged property.  This form of punishment is often levied on a person who has committed a financial related offense such as fraud or embezzlement as well as other traffic offences.  Less serious offenses like public misconduct are also charged with economic sanctions.  The most common forms of economic sanctions include monetary fines, asset forfeiture, civil suits, injunctions and license revocation.Physical restriction is probably the most common form of punishment today which involves imprisonment for a certain period of time which corresponds to the magnitude of the crime committed.  Almost all forms of offenses are subject to imprisonment though the length of imprisonment differs from one offense to the other.Corporal and capital punishments gained notoriety in the earlier centuries especially between the late 1470s and mid1830s in Spain, France, Germany, England among other nations.  Just like in the 1800s, corporal and capital punishments are mostly deployed in the most serious offences such as manslaughter, murder, robbery with violence, terrorism among others.  The most common forms of corporal punishment in the 1800s involved flogging and whipping, lynching, branding, keel hauling, hanging, beheading, drowning, burying live, dunking stools and body mutilations.Electrocution which began in the late 1800s became the most popular method of execution throughout the 20th century. However, this method has recently been more or less overshadowed by the use of lethal injections and other methods of execution.  Nowadays, common forms of capital punishment employed in law enforcement include suffocation in gas chambers, the use of lethal injections, shootings and hanging/strangulation. Public executions and capital punishments in U.S were discontinued at the end of 1800s.  However, there are still a few exceptions as in the case of Saddam Hussein’s execution in December 2006.Weapons.In the 1800s, police forces favored the use of less lethal weapons.  This mainly involved the use of wooden clubs which come in many forms such as truncheons, night sticks and batons.  To contain public riots, police officers mainly employed the use of bayonets or saber charges (Sweeney and Ferguson 7-13).  Smooth muskets and cannons were also used but since they were not very accurate, they required troops to line up in mass formations in order to contain public riots and misconducts.In the mid-1800s, rifles were discovered and this were more accurate than the batons, muskets and cannons.  Gatling guns were later introduced in the 1860s making the act of law enforcing easier for the police force.  By the end of the 1800s, cartridge guns such as the colt peace-maker were introduced.  Machine guns were also discovered at around this time and some of these are still in use to date.Today, technological changes have led to massive evolution of the weapons used to control criminal activities as well as maintain law and order among civilians.  It is common to spot law enforcers carrying rifles and pistols as they maintain order and security in the society but apart from this, the increased threats of terrorism have led to the deployment of other weapons such as the smoke grenades, flash marks, sage among other military equipments.Tactics.As the tactics of the criminals change, law enforcement tactics have also change and this has particularly been favored by improved technologies and discovery of new weapons for protection.  The increased threat of terrorism all over the world has particularly forced law enforcers to come up with new tactics aimed at tracking down criminals and terrorists who seem to have also invented better ways of carrying out their criminal activities.`           In the U.S, a group known as the Special Weapons and Tactics team (SWAT) was established in 1967 and it utilizes special tactics to fight criminal activities in U.S.  With the computer revolution, many tracking systems have emerged which help to trace and detect the whereabouts of criminals hence leading to easier maintenance of law and order as well as preventing terrorism acts before they occur.Use of force.Police officers unlike soldiers are meant to protect their fellow citizens, maintain law and order within a country’s borders with minimum use of power (Das and Otwin 17).  Unfortunately, this has not been the case especially when it comes to using the power endowed to them.  Since time immemorial, law enforcement officers have been accused of using excessive force when dealing with criminals and the public at large.The use of deadly force is particularly an issue of concern now than it was in the 1800s due to the evolution of more lethal weapons such as guns.  In the 1800s, police officers were more friendly when dealing with the public with less instances of excessive use of power.  In addition, most of the weapons used in earlier days were non-lethal but all in all, police officers have been accused of having used them to cause bodily harm and permanent damage through excessive beating especially when dealing with rioters and protesters (Walker 5).In the U.S, the use of excessive force has raised tension due to the belief that police officers from one race are quite biased when dealing with a criminal from another race.  This issue of racism in law enforcement has been referred to as racial profiling and though it became quite common in the 1960s, it was still prevalent in the 1800s.For this reason, allegations on the use of excessive force have recently been weighing heavily upon law enforcing officers, agencies, courts and all law enforcing branches of the government.  As a result, the local governments in collaboration with police departments all over the country have tried to mitigate such occurrences through community policing and numerous outreach programs aimed at improving communication between laws enforcers and the local communities.Protection of individuals.Since the 1850s, the U.S supreme court has ruled and stressed on the fact that law enforcement officers are under no obligation to protect any specific individual.  According to the rules and regulation which govern them, law enforcers are only meant to enforce law in general and make sure that every person in the society acts in accordance to the laws set by the legislative arm of the government.  This is meant to protect the rights of all citizens without discrimination or favoritism on the basis of gender, race or social class.This jurisdiction has been maintained with several cases heard since 1856 to date concerning law enforcement and individual protection.  However, some exceptions have recently been passed in regard to individual protection in the U.S.  For instance, there are several federal enforcement agencies whose purpose is to protect executives such as the president, ministers and their immediate families, foreign dignitaries visiting the country as well as other high ranking government officials and individuals.  Examples of such law enforcement agencies include the U.S secret service and park police agencies.Conclusion.The evolution of law enforcement has come a long way since 1800s to the level it is today.  Many changes have taken place in terms of weapons used, policing tactics, methods of punishment and the overall perception of the police forces.  On its part, the U.S government has greatly invested in law enforcement to improve the effectiveness of the police force and increase the national security for its citizens.  The most recent development in law enforcement in the U.S is the formation of the department of Homeland security which was formed in 2002 to unify the national efforts in the fight against terrorism and make America a more safer place to live in.Work Cited.Das, Dilip and Otwin Marenin. Challenges of Policing Democracies: A World Perspective.        New York: Routledge, 2000Gregory Russell, James Conser and Rebecca Paynich. Law Enforcement in the United States.     New York: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2005Kelling, George L., and Mary A. Wycoff. Evolving Strategy of Policing: Case Studies of   Strategic Change. National Institute of Justice, 2002Neocleous, Mark. Fabricating Social Order: A Critical History of Police Power. Pluto Press,     2004Robert, Snow. Swat Teams: Explosive Face-offs With America’s Deadliest Criminals. New         York: Perseus Books Group, 1999Sweeney, Patrick and Tom Ferguson. Modern Law Enforcement: Weapons & Tactics. New       York: Krause Publications, 2004Terance, Miethe and Hong Lu. Punishment: A Comparative Historical Perspective. Cambridge:             Cambridge University Press, 2005Walker, Samuel. The New World of Police Accountability. New York: Sage publishers, 2005