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Police Professionalism: The Renaissance of American Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
T J Deakin
Date Published
343 pages
This text examines progress toward law enforcement professionalism during the past century, with a particular focus on the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the development of police professionalism.
While police pioneer August Vollmer advocated less political control of policing, he also advocated a social work role for police. J. Edgar Hoover also advocated ending political control of police, but eclipsed Vollmer in the 1930's with his crime fighting model of professionalism, an alternative that appealed more to the public at that time. For Hoover and the FBI, professionalism included scientific crime detection, fingerprint identification, and nationwide police training. The crime fighting role of police, along with the military model of organization and organizational efficiency reached its peak in the 1950's. In the 1960's, America's political stance returned to the progressive movement's reform era. A redefinition of the police role resulted on the part of academic students of criminal justice, protesting intellectuals, and representatives of the ghettoes. A new academic approach to policing appeared, in part financed by the Federal Government. Police managers reevaluated their approach to policing. The FBI made radical changes in training and crime laboratory functions. This marked a second renaissance in police professionalism and a return to a social work or community service model of police professionalism. Index, chapter notes, and approximately 270 references.