Primary Role Of Policing In America

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Policing has been in America since the newly discovered continent was still inhabited by the English. At this time, policing was used as a method of damage control. Colonists would be punished publicly: the ducking stool, stocks, branding iron, and the gallows. Not only did these embarrassing and harsh punishments punish the offenders but also taught the remaining English colonists how to behave properly – if one performs acts similar to the acts of those who are being punished, similar punishments will follow. At this time, policing only worked due to a community census and the willingness of the citizens to help. By the Political Era beginning in the 1840s, policing primarily focused on breaking political turmoil and work resistance; unlike…show more content…
In England, the mutual pledge system emerged in which citizens would report crime to the village’s tythingman, similar to today’s police, to receive monetary rewards. Today, this is certainly not the case. Yes, it is still recommended and expected of American citizens to report crime if they witness it, but rewards are not given as a sort of bribe to ensure crime does not take place. Meanwhile, the night watch system emerged in which citizens would patrol at night for crime while constables patrolled during the day; this system is not found in most places nowadays but instead rely on police officers to patrol at all times of the day. In the American policing’s case, the Eight Amendment did not exist at this time, and the idea of “cruel and unusual punishment” was nonexistent. As such punishments such as the stocks or branding were allowed; today, no police officer can get by with using such methods of punishment (Sheldon, Brown, Miller, and…show more content…
It would not be unusual to see policemen on plantations, chasing runaway slaves and returning them to their owners where harsh punishments would soon follow with no repercussions on the owners for how they treat their slaves. Police officers were certainly not hired to do the same thing once slavery was outlawed; instead, police now maintain law enforcement and order, not return humans to owners. Fast forwarding to the Civil Rights Movement, police were the ones enforcing Jim Crow laws. African Americans, though free, were given minimal freedoms, and police officers did nothing to help them break free of the restrictions. Racism greatly influenced policing in the past in terms of laws that had to be followed, and although racism can still be seen in some instances of policing today, it is certainly de facto and only seen by select officials (Sheldon, Brown, Miller, and
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