The policing & Then the Middle Ages 400 –1600 A.D.

This era is a crucial point in time because the focus of the policing had shifted to keeping tab on the wrongdoers that were of the lower class element such as vagabonds, immigrants, gypsies, tramps, and thieves who were basically new to the society they were inhibiting in and in order to survive they had to resort into illegal activities. England was such a country in around 1500 where lawlessness was rampant and thieves, robbers, and prostitutes were in big number that necessitated the coming into the picture of a group known as “vigilantes” in order to fight crime.

In this particular era, there were two known systems the “gendarme” and the “pledge system”. It was Charlemagne who created the gendarme, which could mean marshal or inspector in English and they were operational in the French and Roman speaking regions. In the pledge system area started by Alfred the Great there was a decentralized policing system. In such a system, every citizen is required to pledge to do a police job hand-in-hand with constables who were amateur members of the watchmen.

Tithing was in practice before the arrival of the Norman in England where all men over 12 had a duty to engage in tithing and should oversee the behavior of their embers. The numbering system had started under the Frankpleged system where ten tithing could become a hundred and would be under the instruction of a “constable”. When the number reaches to ten hundreds they would be under a “shire-reeve” who was a representative of the Norman royalty and has the added duty of traveling around and hear cases.

Colonial Era 1600-1800 A. D. This era highlights what was taking place in the US where it was the English version of watch system that was adapted. Shire-reeves became directly the sheriffs. While this was taking place what was practiced in England was also evolving to the point where the watch system had been abandoned and was replaced by the first detectives known as Bow St.

Runners, and the Bobbies named after Sir Robert Peel that was also the first professional police force not only in England but around the world. In the US the watch system continued and what followed it was the Boston’s night watch made up of six watchmen, one constable, and any number of volunteers. That was when rattle woods and the precinct system started dominating the scene. It was also in this era Louis XIV created the first police force to police the city of Paris. Spoils Era 1800-1900 A.

D This era necessitated a different form of policing and one factor that contributed to the need for change was union workers were able to strike and controlling picket lines required the police to be more organized. This is one of the eras that saw a big number of industrial and race riots and the police force made up of volunteers and watch system was not able to do the job necessitating the coming into the picture of the paid and the professional policing in the US that started in New York.

Known as the Coppers after the copper star they wore with their uniforms, they were available 24/7 and had to go through training that were making them ready to control riots. These forces were carrying arms officially. The other regions also had their own contributions in forming the new police force. Philadelphia came up with the wanted posters accompanied with mug shots, Boston started to use informant and detectives, and Chicago and Detroit introduced rapid response by putting horse patrolling to work.

Eventually the rapid response that became popular started using a motorized force around the year 1911. Texas Rangers known for their motto “shoot first and ask questions later” became the first state police followed by Pennsylvania Constabulary that came into existence to curtail strike among coal miners in the region. There were others too but what was noticeable in this era was the coming into the picture of the first federal police instigated by the California Gold Rush in 1848.

The members of this force were working as postal inspectors, the IRS, Boarder Patrol, and Secret Service agents that was the forerunner of the FBI. All such developments were in the wake of what Allan Pinkerton, a barrel maker introduced when he came up with the first private security agency that was covering all the gamut by busting strikes, making the railways safe, fighting horse thieves using photography technique, and went as far as providing military intelligence and protecting presidents (Bayley, 1999).