History of Law Enforcement

A Brief History of Law Enforcement


Development of early policing

Early policing in the United States looked like that of England, informal and communal or for-profit. The "watch" system used volunteers at night, which was not very effective at controlling crime. Boston was the first to create a night watch in 1636 and Philadelphia developed the first day watch in 1833. Constables augmented the watches as official law enforcement with other duties as well, usually paid by fees for served warrants. In the South, the "slave patrol" was the origin for police forces. The first of these patrols was in 1704 in the Carolina colonies in order to track down an enslaved person who attempted to flee, deter slave revolts and discipline the enslaved people for violating plantation rules. After the Civil War, these patrols were used to enforce segregation.

Modern law enforcement traces its beginnings to London's Metropolitan Police, credited to British Home Secretary Robert Peel (Peel's first name gave rise to "bobbies", the term used to refer to London police officers). Peel addressed the need for an organized civil authority that was stronger and more effective than the constable watch system, but not overtly military. Peel's system was a success. By mid-19th century, large American cities had created similar police forces, and by the 1880s, all major cities in the U.S. had a centralized force. Police forces were no longer volunteer, but had full-time paid officers with rules and accountability to the government. They were tasked with preventing crime and disorder, and were decentralized to the local level. They established relationships with communities and many saw their role as one of social and political control. In some instances, this close connection of police to politics led to corruption and injustice in the form of bribes, partisan activity in elections, and protection of organized crime.


Reform in the 1900's

Reformers, many of whom were police administrators, began to change the administration and organization of their departments in order to rid policing of political influence. Reform efforts in the early 20th century included objective criteria for recruitment, selection and promotion within departments. Professionalization of the institution of policing became a major focus of reform. A new emphasis on militarization, both in organization and discipline emerged. Policing was centralized and bureaucratic, focused on efficiency and crime control.

The close relationships that officers once had with the communities they served were replaced with a singular focus on fighting street crimes. Aggressive tactics and isolation from the public led to community resentment of police. Though civil service systems and objective measures were used to hire and promote officers, racist and sexist practices in hiring endured through the professionalization process. Police began to interact with the public only when an incident occurred, which often led to negative encounters. Animosity increased between police and communities, especially within minority communities as negative stereotypes were reinforced.


Crisis in the 1960's and 1970's

American policing was confronted with the massive social and political movements of the 1960's and 1970's, and their responses were controversial. Harsh tactics of beating and arresting demonstrators were in the media and many believed the police were instigating violence. Recognizing a need for change, the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice in 1967 was formed with a goal of creating a more effective and fairer law enforcement. The seminal report, "The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society" called for sweeping changes in policing, the courts, and corrections. Some notable examples of reform that eventually came out of the Commission included creation of the National Crime Victimization Survey, improved training and professionalization for law enforcement, development of community oriented policing programming, and creation of a federal agency to provide funds to state and local law enforcement for crime initiatives and education.

Also in the 1960s, courts began to hear cases that placed restrictions on policing. In Mapp v. Ohio (1961), the U.S. Supreme Court forbade of evidence gained by unlawful search and seizure in trial, extending the exclusionary rule to the states. Suspects were entitled to an attorney during questioning, and if counsel was denied, any statements made by the suspect during an interrogation were not admissible in court according to the Escobedo v. Illinois (1964) decision. In addition, a suspect's rights must be made known before police could begin an in-custody interrogation (Miranda v. Arizona [1966]). Each of these cases required law enforcement to adapt their work and departmental practices and policies.

New research efforts were undertaken to understand how police functioned. Contrary to previous conceptions of policing, less than one-fifth of patrol involved fighting crime. Officers used discretion often in policing activities. Further, preventative patrolling in cars was found to have little impact on crime, public satisfaction or fear of crime. Studies also found that citizen satisfaction were likely to increase through alternative approaches to policing; rapid response to calls had a small effect on prevention and apprehending suspects. These decades illuminated the possibility that novel approaches may be beneficial to the institution of policing.


Community policing emerges in the 1980's

A new model of policing developed, shifting police officers' duties from solely focusing on fighting crime to partnering them with the community to engage in solving problems of crime and disorder. Many recognized that when officers dealt with non-criminal behavior in their daily activities, that discretion was the key aspect of police work and that law enforcement were both accountable to the public and elected officials. Community policing returned to the expectation that officers develop close ties with the community they serve and engage the public in crime control and prevention. In 1994, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) was established under the Department of Justice (DOJ). The COPS Office continues to provide information, resources and grant funding to advance community policing across the country. By the early 2000's the majority of police departments in the U.S. were engaging in some variation of community policing.

Two frameworks were instrumental in the shift to community policing: problem-oriented policing and broken windows. Herman Goldstein noted that law enforcement work consists of problem resolution, and advocated that police identify and address the root call of problems that lead to police involvement. James Wilson and George Kelling illustrated that conditions like broken windows demonstrated that when a neighborhood was in decay, residents began divesting their community and criminal behavior increased. This increased fear and further disorder, and those who could would just move to another area. The intent with the broken windows framework encouraged patrol to discourage disorder and develop a relationship with residents who obey the law. Nowadays many challenge the premise of broken windows and its value to reducing crime, as well as its potential for zero tolerance policies that lead to higher arrests for minor infractions. However, the idea of paying attention to things that matter to residents in the community holds as a tenet to the philosophy of community policing. The following era saw integration of elements of community policing, followed by mass application of community policing programs throughout large and small departments.


Sources:
- Banton, M.P. (2020, September 1). Police. Britannica.
   https://www.britannica.com/topic/police
- Potter, G. (2013, July 30). The History of Policing in the United States. EKU Police Studies Online.
   https://plsonline.eku.edu/insidelook/history-policing-united-states-part-1
- Office of Criminal Justice Services. State of Crime and Justice in Ohio (2004).


Where we are today in law enforcement

Philosophy and policy

The President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing

A new model of policing developed, shifting police officers' duties from solely focusing on fighting crime to partnering them with the community to engage in solving problems of crime and disorder. Many recognized that when officers dealt with non-criminal behavior in their daily activities, that discretion was the key aspect of police work and that law enforcement were both accountable to the public and elected officials. Community policing returned to the expectation that officers develop close ties with the community they serve and engage the public in crime control and prevention. In 1994, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) was established under the Department of Justice (DOJ). The COPS Office continues to provide information, resources and grant funding to advance community policing across the country. By the early 2000's the majority of police departments in the U.S. were engaging in some variation of community policing.

Two frameworks were instrumental in the shift to community policing: problem-oriented policing and broken windows. Herman Goldstein noted that law enforcement work consists of problem resolution, and advocated that police identify and address the root call of problems that lead to police involvement. James Wilson and George Kelling illustrated that conditions like broken windows demonstrated that when a neighborhood was in decay, residents began divesting their community and criminal behavior increased. This increased fear and further disorder, and those who could would just move to another area. The intent with the broken windows framework encouraged patrol to discourage disorder and develop a relationship with residents who obey the law. Nowadays many challenge the premise of broken windows and its value to reducing crime, as well as its potential for zero tolerance policies that lead to higher arrests for minor infractions. However, the idea of paying attention to things that matter to residents in the community holds as a tenet to the philosophy of community policing. The following era saw integration of elements of community policing, followed by mass application of community policing programs throughout large and small departments.

Notable Early History

Cincinnati is listed as one of the first cities to establish a police department in 1852, eight years after the first department in NYC. The Cleveland Division of Police, now the state's second largest force, was established in 1866 with the Metropolitan Police Act. In 1871, the Ohio General Assembly allowed police services to be paid for by taxes, and the department was reorganized. Eliot Ness, a legendary crime fighter, was the Director of Public Safety which headed the department from 1935 to 1942. The Cleveland Division was the first to catch a bank robbery on film and was the first to use a palm print at a crime scene to convict a suspect.


Sources:
- Banton, M.P. (2020, September 1). Police. Britannica.
   https://www.britannica.com/topic/police
- City of Cleveland Ohio. (n.d.) About the Cleveland Police.
   http://portal.cleveland-oh.gov/CityofCleveland/Home/Government/CityAgencies/PublicSafety/Police/About_Cleveland_Police


Statewide Law Enforcement

The Ohio State Highway Patrol was formed in 1933 with the passing of House Bill 270. The bill called for "the enforcement of laws of the state of Ohio relating to the registration and licensing of motor vehicles, the laws relating to their use and operation on the highways, and all laws for the protection of the highways." In 1934, school bus regulations, commercial overloads, and intoxicated driver enforcement began. Also in 1934, the Patrol constructed a statewide radio network, the most comprehensive system in the United States at that time. In 1935, a new driver license law outlining testing requirements was signed into law to be carried out by officers of the Patrol The force grew in numbers and in 1941, the Patrol's jurisdiction expanded beyond state highways to include all Ohio roadways except for those in municipalities. In 1947, the state gave the Patrol the responsibility of enforcing aviation offenses and investigating all aircraft crashes. In 1968, the General Assembly removed limitations on the number of uniformed officers, placing the minimum number at 880 plus the Ohio Turnpike officers. In 1972, legislation passed that authorized the Patrol to take action if necessary off the highway system. Effective in 1981 was a law that gave the Patrol the same right of search and seizure as local law enforcement within its jurisdiction. In 2011, criminal patrol was elevated to the same level as highway safety.

As of 2020, the Patrol maintains a uniformed complement of about 1,600 officers, as well as about 1,000 support personnel. An all-volunteer auxiliary force, originally formed during World War II to assist officers after many entered the armed services, continues to donate thousands of hours of service to the citizens of Ohio. The role of the Patrol has expanded over time to include statewide emergency response and support services, investigation of criminal activities on state-owned and leased property, and security for the Governor and other dignitaries.


Sources:
- Ohio History Connection. (n.d). Ohio History Central. Ohio State Highway Patrol.
   https://ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Ohio_State_Highway_Patrol
- Ohio State Highway Patrol.
   https://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov


Sheriffs

Prior to becoming a state in 1803, sheriffs were appointed by the Colonial Governor. The first sheriff associated with Ohio was Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, and his jurisdiction covered lands in eastern Ohio, from the Ohio River to Lake Erie.

The position of Sheriff is considered the oldest law enforcement position in the United States, and the only remaining law enforcement office which is filled via election. The first elected sheriff in Ohio was William Skinner. In Ohio, each of our 88 county sheriffs are elected on a four-year term.

Sheriffs are the chief law enforcement officer in the county, and their responsibilities are extensive. Not only do they provide full police protection to unincorporated areas of the county, they are also required to provide common pleas court services (e.g., court security, service of papers) and corrections (e.g., jail operations, extradition, transport of prisoners) on a countywide basis.


Sources:
- Buckeye State Sheriffs Association. (2016). History of the Sheriff.
   https://buckeyesheriffs.org/ohio-sheriffs/history-of-the-sheriff/


Ohio Police Officer Training Council

In September 1965, The Ohio Peace Officer Training Council (later renamed the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission) was formed after an Ohio law called for formal training of law enforcement officers. Recommendations for basic training were developed, and starting in 1966 all persons appointed as peace officers had to complete the training. The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) was dedicated in 1976, after the Ohio Legislature called for OPOTC to establish the academy. OPOTA held the first Women in Policing Conference in 1998, and dedicated the Ohio Fallen Officers' Memorial Wall in 2000.

OPOTA houses both the Commission and Academy staff. The Commission oversees training requirements and curriculum for peace officers, private security, local corrections, jail personnel, K-0 units, and humane agents, in addition to firearms programs for public defender investigators, bailiffs, probation officers, and parole officers. Academy staff provide instruction in basic, advanced, and technical subjects for the Ohio law enforcement community. They also oversee certification standards of peace officers. Throughout the 2000's the academy has expanded, adding new campuses, eOPOTA online learning courses, Mobile Academy firearms and driving simulator trainings, and a Tactical Training Center.


Sources:
- Ohio Attorney General. (2015, October 2). A look backā€¦ 50 years of law enforcement training.
   https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Media/Newsletters/Criminal-Justice-Update/October-2015/A-look-back-%E2%80%A6-50-years-of-law-enforcement-training
- Ohio Attorney General, Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.
   https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Law-Enforcement/Ohio-Peace-Officer-Training-Academy


Statewide Initiatives in Ohio

Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board

In December 2014, then-Governor John R. Kasich signed Executive Order 2014-06K, announcing the Ohio Task Force on Community-Police Relations after a series of incidents in Ohio and around the nation highlighted the challenges between the community and police. The task force included 24 members representing the governor, legislature, attorney general, the Supreme Court of Ohio, local law enforcement, organized labor, local community leaders, the faith-based community, business, municipalities and prosecuting attorneys.

On April 29, 2015, Governor Kasich signed Executive Order 2015-04K, establishing the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board (Ohio Collaborative) to oversee implementation of recommendations from the Ohio Task Force on Community-Police Relations. The Ohio Collaborative, now a 12-person panel of law enforcement experts and community leaders from throughout the state, were brought together to establish law enforcement state standards. All law enforcement agencies who participate are expected to meet or exceed the newly created standards as they develop policies and procedures to meet these new expectations. In all of the Ohio Collaborative efforts, they seek to hold agencies accountable and boost public confidence. In 2020, 438 law enforcement agencies were certified and 74% of Ohio citizens were covered by agencies that were certified or in the process of being certified.


Sources:
- Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board. (2020). Law Enforcement Certification 2020
   Public Report.


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