U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

CRITICAL HISTORY OF POLICE REFORM

NCJ Number
42802
Author(s)
S WALKER
Date Published
1977
Length
221 pages
Annotation
A STUDY OF THE CHANGES THAT HAVE OVERTAKEN POLICE SERVICE IN AMERICA AND AN EXAMINATION OF POLICE REFORM FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE 19TH CENTURY THROUGH THE END OF THE 1930'S ARE PRESENTED.
Abstract
THE DEVELOPMENT OF POLICE REFORM AND OF THE POLICE PROFESSIONALISM MOVEMENT ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL ARE TRACED WHILE INDICATING THE GENERAL PERIODS OF CHANGE. A CENTRAL ARGUMENT IS THAT AROUND THE TURN OF THE CENTURY THE CONCEPT OF PROFESSIONALISM GAINED ACCEPTANCE IN POLICE CIRCLES. TECHNIQUES OF MANAGERIAL EFFICIENCY BECAME THE DOMINANT MOTIF OF POLICE PROFESSIONALISM, WHILE A SUBTHEME, AND OFTEN A CONFLICTING ONE, WAS THE DEFINITION OF PROFESSIONALISM IN TERMS OF SOCIAL REFORM: THE IDEA THAT POLICE SHOULD BE AN INSTRUMENT IN THE BETTERMENT OF SOCIETY. A PERSPECTIVE OF HISTORICAL SOCIOLOGY IS USED TO IDENTIFY GENERAL PATTERNS OF DEVELOPMENT. THE CONCEPT OF PROFESSIONALIZATION AS AN ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK IS DRAWN FROM THE WORK OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF THE PROFESSIONS, AND LITERATURE ON THE SOCIOLOGY OF POLICE IS USED TO IDENTIFY THE CENTRAL ELEMENTS OF POLICING IN AMERICA. THE BOOK IS DIVIDED INTO THREE PARTS. PART 1 DEALS WITH THE STATE OF POLICE DURING THE 19TH CENTURY, AND INCLUDES CHAPTERS ON THE ROLE AND FUNCTION OF POLICE DEPARTMENTS PRIOR TO REFORM AND ON THE EMERGENCE OF PROFESSIONALISM, THE CREATION OF THE NEW POLICE, THE BEAT PATROLMAN, THE POLICE, THE PUBLIC AND CRIMINALS; THE POLITICS OF POLICE ADMINISTRATION AND SOCIAL CONTROL IN AN URBAN-INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY ARE EXAMINED, AS ARE THE BEGINNINGS OF POLICE LITERATURE, NEW IDEAS IN POLICE SERVICE, THE REFORM OF THE CINCINNATI POLICE, THE FRUSTRATION OF REFORM UNDER ONETIME POLICE COMMISSIONER THEODORE ROOSEVELT, AND THE EMERGENCE OF PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS. PART 2 IS DEVOTED TO THE EARLY YEARS OF POLICE PROFESSIONALISM, 1900-1918, AND EXAMINES PROFESSIONALIZATION AS A METHOD OF ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM AND THE CHANGING ROLE OF THE POLICE OFFICER IN THE FACE OF DEMANDS TO ASSUME SOCIAL WELFARE FUNCTIONS IN ADDITION TO TRADITIONAL CITIZEN PROTECTION FUNCTIONS. THE AGE OF ORGANIZATION, REFORM IN PHILADELPHIA, THE FRUSTRATION OF REFORM, UPLIFTING THE PATROLMAN, AND NEW APPROACHES TO LAW AND ORDER ARE REVIEWED, IN ADDITION TO THE VOLLMER VIEW OF THE POLICE AS SOCIAL WORKERS, THE INTRODUCTION OF POLICEWOMEN, REHABILITATING ADULT OFFENDERS, SUPPRESSING SOCIAL EVIL, AND CRITICISM BY THE OLDER, TRADITION-ORIENTED OFFICERS OF THE POLICE/SOCIAL WORKER ROLE. PART 3 CONSISTS OF A NATIONAL OVERVIEW OF POLICE FUNCTIONING BETWEEN 1919 AND 1940. THE AGE OF THE CRIME COMMISSION, THE RISE AND SUDDEN FALL OF POLICE UNIONISM, RACISM AND RIOTS, POLICING IN THE 1920'S AND THE MANY REFORM EFFORTS MOUNTED BY THE VARIOUS LOCAL CRIME COMMISSIONS ARE DISCUSSED. THE YEARS BETWEEN 1932 AND 1940, CHARACTERIZED AS THE 'LAW-AND-ORDER DECADE,' ARE ALSO EXAMINED IN TERMS OF THE POLICE AND THE LABOR MOVEMENT, FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT'S NEW DEAL, THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, AND THE 'WAR ON CRIME.' AN EPILOGUE CONCERNING THE LEGACY OF PROFESSIONALISM, REFERENCE NOTES, AND AN INDEX ARE ALSO PROVIDED. (KBL)