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Word Count: 2,320
Since the founding of this country to the wild west and up to the present the agenda of the policing bodies have been clear to uphold and enforce the laws of our society Of course the way they do this today had undergone changes from the first police forces of early America law enforcement has seen trends come and go Law enforcement is divided into three major eras throughout history These eras are the political era the reform era and the community era The political era that took place between 1840-1930 was characterized by five points which was the authority was coming from politicians and the law a broad social service function decentralized organization an intimate relationship with the community and the extensive use of foot patrol The downside to the political era was that the police got its authority from the politics and the law the close tie with politics posed as a problem In New York for example the first chief of police could not dismiss officers under his command The tenure of the chief was limited to one year Consequently any early New York cop who was solidly supported by his alderman and assistant alderman could disobey a police superior with virtual impunity So while the British were firing bobbies left and right for things like showing up late for work wearing disorderly uniforms and behaving discourteously to citizens American police were assaulting superior officers refusing to go on patrol extorting money from prisoners and releasing prisoners from custody of other officers Klockars 1985 p 42 Needless to say that corruption became a big problem in American law enforcement Probably the biggest factor that underlined the problem of corruption during this era was the soils system whose motto was To the victor go the spoils This resulted in gross political interference with policing For example the winning party was under the impression that its members should be immune from arrest and given
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