Law Enforcement has changed dramatically over the years in the United States.
Our history has progressed from the English law. Many technological advances have
helped shape law enforcement today. Also new ways and ideas of policing have
influenced the change in law enforcement. Law enforcement has become less corrupt
over the years. Women are playing a big role in enforcement. New rules, laws, and
procedures have been put in place to help improve or society.
The criminal justice system of England in the 18th century seems very different
from the view from people that are more familiar with modern institutions. The two most
striking ideas is the way the institutions prosecuted the offenders and the range of
punishments. Prosecution of almost all criminal offenses was private, usually by the
victim. Intermediate punishments for serious offenses were absent. Most people say that
in the early years of the century, English courts imposed only two sentences on convicted
felons. The perpetrator would either be turned them loose or be hung (Beattie, 20-23). It
is hard to believe how far we have come from the early English law.
There have been many dramatic changes since the political era ended. Hard work
and determination is the key to success in the criminal justice system. Officers now
advance through the rank system in progressive steps. This ensures that those promoted
have the necessary background and skills for their new position. By going through the
ranks a level of fairness and properly trained officers are hired. It is very rare for one to
skip from the patrol unit and become an investigative lieutenant. This differs from years
past when a family member or friend was promoted. Politics have still not completely
been abolished from the promotion system, but promotions are now based more on skills
and qualifications not who you know (Kelling).
Community oriented policing is a recent wave in American law enforcement. It
has stemmed after the political and reform era. It turns away from reacting to crimes.
This is a proactive ways of policing. It is not the typical type of crime fighter perspective.
The idea of this is to prevent crime before it happens (Trojanowicz, p2).
A few examples are responding to citizen calls for police assistance, enforcing the
law, maintaining order in the community, providing emergency services, preventing
crime, investigating criminal activity, organized crime intelligence gathering and
investigation, vice control, investigating drug related crimes, crime prevention,
community education, providing police service for special community circumstances, and
working with other law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels
(http://www.chiefwalters.com/philosophy/). This new way of preventing crime has been
strongly approved by many. Typically minority officers approve of community oriented
policing more then white officers. So far community policing has made gains in
improving the safety of communities.
Police abuse is a serious national problem. Both in the past and now police have
been abusing their power. This especially affects young people and minorities. While
many police officers do try to be considerate, and while we all understand the stress and
danger involved in policing, all citizens have a civil right to be treated with respect and
without abuse by the police. Over the years police districts have made improvement in
cleaning up corrupt officers. This is a problem that will always be around. Community
policing is helping fix the relations with the community and the police.
Women have made great strides in law enforcement careers since the 1960's. A
combination of societal changes and legal mandates, have helped pave the way for
women to enter law enforcement in record numbers today. From less than 2 percent in the
early 1970's to just over 12 percent today, woman continue to leave their mark on the
criminal justice system. Hopefully these numbers will continue to change.
Because female officers utilize a different policing style and rely less on physical
force and more on communications skills, potentially violent confrontations and are less
likely to occur, or escalate into excessive force situations. The workforce is more diverse
with women and minorities making substantial gains. This has led to more females in
higher ranking positions as they make their way up the ladder of law enforcement. Many
people argue women in law enforcement, but they continue to show everyone they belong
in uniform (Feinman).
New laws have greatly changed law enforcement today. In 1966, the U.S.
Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Ernesto Miranda, who had been arrested by
Arizona police on suspicion of rape. The suspect confessed to the crime after two hours
of questioning by police while in their custody, without ever having been advised of his
5th Amendment right against self incrimination or his 6th Amendment right to legal
representation before such questioning. This ruling changed policing and law
enforcement, it started a new wave rules and regulations (Hendrie).
Training has also changed much over the years. In the past the training was not a
prudent as today. With the advancement of technology training is more realistic. K9 dogs
are also trained. They are a usefully tool in improve the safety of
citizens and officers.
Police Intelligence is extremely important. It is a process through which
information is managed, it can increase our knowledge of a particular problem and
results in preventative and informed public policy. Intelligence is a necessity for the
successful investigation of today's sophisticated criminals and an invaluable asset for
police managers in making well informed decisions. Over the years law enforcement has
depended on this system.
The wave of technological advancement that has changed the lives of almost
every individual, business, and institution in the Nation. This has also changed the world
of criminal justice. From how we fight crime to how we manage law enforcement
resources to the types of crimes we face. New technologies can help criminal justice
agencies prevent crime, apprehend criminals, manage offender populations, and protect
the public against the threat of terrorism. (http://www.fortliberty.org/military-library/law-
enforcement-police.shtml) Terrorism is now the biggest threat to US
citizens. Our advanced in technology have helped us protect the nation better, and have
helped people have a sense of well being.
At the same time, crime and the criminals who commit crimes have changed. As
new technologies have become available, criminals have become more sophisticated and,
more violent. Hacking, a crime unheard of a few short years ago, has become
commonplace along with identity theft, credit card billing theft, cyber espionage and
exotic schemes such as page jacking, and cyber extortion (Hopper). These new crimes
stem from technology. In the past internet crime did not exist. Law enforcement has spent
much time and money to catch up to these criminals of our new era.
Technology has also greatly improved our criminal justice and law enforcement
system. The analysis of such evidence is much more barrier advanced now than in the
recent past. The Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems have provided a much
more efficient way of comparing prints and, because they are automated, can make
comparisons even where suspects have not been identified. Similarly, DNA
electrophoresis provides a method of suspect identification that may surpass that afforded
by traditional fingerprint technology (Weir). The use of technology improves on a daily
basis. For officers their patrol cars have greatly improved. Computers are a necessary
source for policing now. It is hard to believe that at one time law enforcement did not
have any use for computers in cars.
Law Enforcement has changed dramatically over the years in America. From
early English law to our now American law. Many factors have lead to this change.
Technology is one of the biggest reasons why law enforcement has improved. New
crimes are committed everyday that the criminal justice system has not seen. It is
up to law enforcement to find new ways to fix new problems. Laws must be
made to out law new crimes. Police corruption has gone down and women in
law enforcement has gone up. Hopefully this pattern continues for law
J. M. Beattie, Crime and the Courts in England: 1660-1800, Princeton University Press:
Women in the Criminal Justice System. Contributors: Clarice Feinman
Publisher: Praeger Publishers. Place of Publication: Westport, CT. Publication
Year: 1994. Page Number: iii.
Edward M. Hendrie, J.D. Beyond Miranda
D. IAN HOPPER-- The Associated Pres
Thursday, October 12, 2000
Put more cops in cyberspace: U.S. commission
Adrian Lamo March 10, 2005
http://www.ch Kelling, G., and M. Moore, 1988, "The Evolving Strategy of Policing,
Perspectives on Policing," U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of
Dr. Robert Trojanowicz, The National Center for Community Policing, University of
Michigan, The Meaning of "Community" in Community Policing. P.2
An Interview With DNA Forensics Authority Dr. Bruce Weir
William Neal Reynolds Professor of Statistics and Genetics
North Carolina State University
Sean Henahan, Access Excellence , January 1995
Jannuary 2000 ,http://www.chiefwalters.com/