Law Reinforcement

In chapter three it talks about the understanding of Law Enforcement in the United States. What do you think about when you hear the term Law Enforcement?

William G. Doerner Florida State University


To my best friend and buddy—my wife Judy.

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earlY effortS at polIcInG

Sir Robert Peel and the Bobbies

Law Enforcement in Developing America

Law and Order on the Frontier

Vigilante Policing

The Rise of Private Security


Review Questions

Discussion Questions

Selected Internet Sites


chapter out l Ine

Key Terms

Learning Objectives


Maintaining Social Order

Standards of Behavior

Controlling Social Behavior

Types of Society

Societal Development

Early English Law Enforcement

The Challenge of Urban Growth

A Step toward Paid Police Protection


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4 Part 1 the context of law enforcement

informal social control


mutual pledge system

night watch system


primary relationship


secondary relationship



Sir Robert Peel

social control

thief taker




KeY t ermS


assize of arms

Bow Street Runners

chief tithingman

common value system

conflict perspective

consensus viewpoint


deviant behavior

entrepreneurial avocational policing


formal social control



hue and cry


• sketch the early development of social control practices;

• comment on how the mutual pledge system was no match for urban development;

• explore the implications of entrepre- neurial avocational policing;

• acknowledge the principles that Sir Robert Peel formulated;

• appreciate the fears that Sir Robert Peel had to address;

• recognize two models of vigilantism; and,

• explain the rise of the private security industry.

l earn InG object IveS

The study of this chapter will enable you to:

• explain how social order is possible;

• compare and contrast the consen- sus and conflict perspectives;

• discuss how folkways and mores guide social behavior;

• illustrate how informal social control devices work;

• understand the importance of pri- mary and secondary relations;

• talk about how society develops and the problems associated with growth;

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Chapter 1 early efforts at policing 5

Introduction If one could turn back time, we would find that the police institution as we know it today did not exist in early times. People still had their fair share of arguments and disagree- ments, but they handled their disputes informally. Social disapproval was a weight that most people preferred to avoid. However, newer ways replaced the older traditions as society developed and became more complex. The shame once associated with misdeeds vanished as cities grew more impersonal. People became mere strangers to one another. The need for formal social control was more apparent than ever.

This chapter traces some of the important developments pertaining to early polic- ing. Because the roots of the American criminal justice system owe much to our English heritage, some attention focuses upon how law enforcement grew there. In fact, the early American settlers simply borrowed many English practices and adapted them for use in this country. But the American experience had its differences. Cities grew quickly. The frontier beckoned with adventure. The “Wild West” carried an image of lawless- ness; however, the truth of the matter is that many good people moved there. All these settlers wanted was to build a town and have a life that resembled what they had left behind. Justice, while swift and harsh, characterized the no-nonsense attitude of the townspeople.

It was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that law enforcement became a formalized bureaucratic entity in this country. As a result, this chapter will concentrate on how policing was achieved prior to that time and the following chapter will examine policing after 1900.

maintaining Social order The Hobbesian question of how society is possible has intrigued social scientists and philosophers dating as far back as Plato. How is it that people come to place the interests of the larger social group above their own individual pursuits? What mechanisms keep social relationships operating smoothly so that people can move about and accomplish their business? What keeps chaos and disorder from breaking out and havoc from run- ning rampant?

Two major competing explanations have emerged from the debate over how social order is possible. They are the consensus viewpoint and the conflict perspective. As one writer (Paternoster, 1985, p. 512) explains,

A central theme of this great debate was whether social order was best described as emerging from a commonly held set of values and beliefs (the consensus posi- tion) or is, instead, due to power and coercion (the conflict position).

Theorists who adopt the consensus viewpoint emphasize the degree to which people agree about what is right and what is wrong. They would explain that widely held beliefs

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or community standards guide the way in which everybody behaves. On the other hand, adherents to the conflict perspective believe that a small minority of powerful persons manipulate the legal system in order to preserve their advantage. Special interests con- trol the types of activities that the law prohibits and the way in which the law is adminis- tered. As we shall see, both views have been influential in criminological thought.

Standards of behavior Every culture contains a series of rules or norms that govern what people do, how they should act, and how others expect them to conduct themselves. Norms, then, are the standards for how people should behave. They make social interaction routine and pre- dictable. Generally speaking, there are two major types of norms: folkways and mores. Folkways pertain to behavioral expectations that deal with minor norms. A violation of a folkway generally results in a very mild sanction. One example of a folkway would be the various rules of etiquette. For instance, if a host or hostess places the silverware on the wrong side of a plate, people may scoff and make snide remarks. However, it would be inappropriate for a guest to call the police and report that this behavior has strayed from what one normally would expect at a dinner party. While it may be unconventional, a folkway violation is not a major affront to the social order.

Another example of a folkway is the courteous practice of holding a door open for someone else. Suppose, for a moment, that you open a door to exit a building. You notice that an elderly person is four or five steps behind you and is walking in your direction towards the exit. A common courtesy would be for you to stop momentarily and keep the door propped open rather than letting it slam on the person behind you. Suppose, though, that you failed to do just that and let the door close. You have broken a folkway. The other person might feel justified in making a sarcastic remark about your lack of manners. Once again, though, a call to the police station would hardly be necessary in this instance.

A second type of rule or norm is mores. Mores are normative standards that evoke strong reactions if violated. Mores are important because people consider them to be vital or essential to society’s welfare. As a result, violators receive harsh treatment for not observing a more. For instance, one strong taboo in American society is the prohibition against cannibalism. Other examples of disapproved actions include incest, murder, and infanticide. All these behaviors invite extreme reaction from other members of society.

One thing to be aware of is that mores sometimes change over time. Not so long ago, a common practice in this country was to put witches to death. Today, a person profess- ing to be a witch would not receive such harsh treatment.

As one can imagine, there are a large number of folkways and mores in American society. In addition, the American population contains many ethnic and demographic groups. Despite this heterogeneity, if one could put these differences aside and find out which norms people generally agree upon, then one would have identified the norma- tive structure or the common value system in which people believe. In other words, there

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would be consensus about what actions constitute conformity and what people consider to be deviant behavior. Deviant behavior, then, is any action that exceeds social tolerance levels or oversteps the boundaries established by the folkways and mores.

controlling Social behavior The responses to norm violations, or what we now are calling deviant behavior, and any subsequent punishments or sanctions fall under the rubric of social control. Social con- trol devices can take one of two forms. They can be either informal or formal devices.

Informal social control devices are actions taken by people to sanction behavior. A positive informal social control rewards people for certain behavior. Making the Dean’s List for outstanding accomplishments in the classroom or having one’s picture printed in the newspaper after making a heroic rescue fall into this category.

A negative informal social control device adversely affects the person whose behav- ior is not in compliance. Gossip, which is the spreading of rumors, can influence how people react to an individual. Ostracism is another powerful technique. Here the group isolates the transgressor and refuses to involve that person in social activities. Children resort to this technique when they respond with “I’m not talking to you” or “Leave me alone; I’m mad at you.” Vigilantism occurs whenever people band together to provide greater security than that which the criminal justice system provides. The justification for this type of action usually takes the form of “appealing to a natural right of self- defense and self-preservation and pointing to the obvious impotence of official police” (Klockars, 1985, p. 30). The Guardian Angels, a youthful group who began patrolling New York subways to keep thugs from victimizing riders, fit this description.

The most obvious formal social control device is the law and the criminal justice system. Law, in this sense, refers to the criminal statutes that the legislative branch of government enacts. Generally speaking, a law describes behavior that is proscribed or forbidden and specifies the penalty attached to a violation of that law.

The consensus viewpoint introduced earlier suggests that law reflects the common value system. In other words, the law upholds social norms, especially mores, that peo- ple regard as important for the smooth functioning of society. In this context, crime is any act that people think should be prohibited. It would be very difficult to argue that murder, robbery, and sexual battery do not violate the collective social conscience.

The conflict perspective, in contrast, would argue that persons who occupy power- ful positions use the law to coerce and regulate behavior that threatens the status quo. There are several theoretical camps within the conflict perspective. Despite their differ- ences, all would agree that legislating and enforcing laws reflect the biases of a small, but very powerful, segment of the population. Thus, law does not necessarily reflect a broad agreement about which acts are right or wrong. Instead, it is crafted to protect very special interests.

Despite differences between these two perspectives that will become more appar- ent later in this chapter, both schools agree that the criminal justice system represents a

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formal social control mechanism. The issue that we need to explore next is why there is a need for formal social control devices. In other words, what took place that rendered informal social control practices so impractical or ineffective that formal social control techniques replaced them?

types of Society When sociologists entertain the topic of societal change, a helpful distinction is the con- trast between “gemeinschaft” and “gesellschaft.” The German theoretician Ferdinand Toennies (1957) used these terms to describe two polar types of societies. These two words refer to very different and distinctive styles of living.

The word gemeinschaft describes a small network of persons who interact with each other in primary relationships. A primary relationship refers to the ability of people to behave in a close and intimate way. Each person knows the other party very well and has an emotional attachment to that individual. This closeness permits substantial face- to-face interaction. That is, both parties can reveal their true feelings to each other in a warm and trusting atmosphere. Some common examples of primary relationships are the bonds between parent and child, husband and wife, or two best friends.

The term gesellschaft describes the opposite condition. It signifies that social interac- tion takes place within secondary relationships. A secondary relationship describes social discourse between strangers or people who do not share a very close bond. One simply does not reveal his or her innermost feelings or personal secrets to people in this category. Instead, a person maintains a certain degree of social distance and lets roles and expecta- tions guide interaction. For example, a taxicab driver who asks how you are is engaging in a mere pleasantry. It would be appropriate to respond concisely and politely. On the other hand, it would not be appropriate to launch into a recital of all your problems. To do so cat- apults a secondary relationship into territory usually reserved for a primary relationship.

When sociologists use the word “gemeinschaft,” a special image is conveyed. Gemeinschaft describes a small community in which everyone knows everybody else. People stop and talk to each other in a very informal atmosphere. The adults know which children belong to whom and can delineate family trees very quickly and with very little effort. The word “gesellschaft” carries the opposite imagery. Gesellschaft refers to mod- ern society with all its hustle and bustle. People act and react on the basis of social roles and not to the person. The overwhelming number of social relationships is of a second- ary nature. Just about everyone is a stranger.

Let us return now to the earlier discussion of informal and formal social control. Devices that work well in a gemeinschaft society will not have the same impact in a gesell- schaft society, and vice versa. For example, gossip and ostracism are not as foreboding when the group consists of strangers. However, these techniques work quite well when people engage in primary relationships. When placed in this context, it appears that infor- mal social control techniques are more appropriate under gemeinschaft conditions, while

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Chapter 1 early efforts at policing 9

formal social control is necessary under gesellschaft conditions. As a result, there is a need to examine societal development as a backdrop to the history of law enforcement.

Societal Development One question that flows from the last section involves societal growth. How does society move from a gemeinschaft to a gesellschaft orientation? What processes take place dur- ing this transition?

Some sociologists link societal expansion to population characteristics. Durkheim (1964), for example, explains societal development in terms of population size and den- sity. He argues that a large number of people occupying a limited area results in more complexity. This increased diversity is evident in an expanded division of labor. The division of labor means that jobs become more specialized. Rather than be a jack-of- all-trades, people work at a single task and acquire greater proficiency. In the old days, for example, farmers grew their own corn, baked their own bread, fashioned tools, and sewed their own clothes. These people were virtually self-sufficient. Today, however, those tasks are spread among several persons and each makes a living from that one specialized task.

This developmental process also spells the demise of gemeinschaft society. As the population size grows and physical density increases, a larger number of people cram into limited space. People are less likely to know one another. This loss of a gemein- schaft flavor means that most people must interact within the context of social roles. The proliferation of secondary relationships invites impersonality and a sense of loneli- ness. This estrangement is what Durkheim calls “anomie.” Anomie refers to a state of normlessness. It means that people no longer feel attached to the common conscience or accountable to others.

One consequence of this entire process is a greater amount of crime and deviant behavior. Webb (1972, p. 644) explains,

as a community grows in complexity, size, and density . . . the processes expected to occur concomitant with these changes were the collective conscience becom- ing more abstract; law, morality, and civilization generally becoming more ratio- nal; a decrease in normative consensus; and an increase in deviant behavior.

Durkheim’s emphasis upon societal development intriqued other sociologists. One of the more famous formulations was an essay by Wirth (1938). Tracking Durkheim’s lead, Wirth predicted that city life would deteriorate primary relationships, encourage deviance, and would produce higher crime rates. Other theorists (Blau, 1977; Hauser, 1969) found promise in this line of thinking, although not always for the same reasons. They also reached the conclusion that ecological processes, such as urbanization, could alter the social structure.

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early english law enforcement The law enforcement mission in early England fell squarely on the shoulders of the local people. The mutual pledge system came into being during the reign of Alfred the Great (870–901 a.d.). England was very much a rural country at that time. People farmed the countryside and lived in little villages or tuns. Each tun was subdivided further into tith- ings or units consisting of ten families. Every male over the age of twelve belonged to a tithing. The tithing was responsible for the behavior of all its members. If one member committed a crime, the entire tithing was held accountable for that person’s actions.

Tithings usually elected one member to serve as the head of the group. This person was the chief tithingman. If a member became errant, it was the duty of the chief tithing- man to raise the hue and cry. In other words, the chief tithingman rounded up all the other tithing members and this posse would begin searching for the wayward individual. When the tithing located the violator, the members took this person into custody and either punished the crook or confined the deviant member until the authorities reached the tun.

As villages and tuns grew in size, the need for greater coordination culminated in the formation of a hundred. A hundred consisted of ten tithings and was led by a mem- ber who assumed the role of the reeve. The reeve was in charge of conducting meetings where members aired various disputes and arguments that arose between neighbors. Besides acting as a mediator, the reeve also appointed a constable. The constable’s job was to take care of all the weapons, equipment, and belongings of the hundred.

With the population expanding, hundreds became grouped into a shire or a county. The person in charge of this geographical area was given the title shire-reeve. This term, as well as the office and its duties, was the forerunner of the sheriff. Even today, the sheriff remains the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the county.

The rise of urban areas in medieval times created a need for a different type of con- trol structure. Most cities resembled fortresses. Some urban centers were surrounded by deep moats. Others had huge sturdy walls lining the perimeter to provide safety and security for the inhabitants. Anybody entering or leaving the city during daylight hours had to pass through the city gates. These massive gates closed at dusk, sealing the dwell- ers inside and protecting them against unwanted intruders.

Pre-industrial city life was very cramped and congested (Sjoberg, 1955, 1965). The streets were little more than mere alleys. These passageways were wide enough for a horse to pass through, but too narrow to let in much sunshine. Houses stood right next door to each other since space was at a premium. Most buildings were made of stone, clay, or wood and were topped off with thatch roofs. These materials were quite primitive in comparison with today’s building codes, construction standards, and fire safety requirements.

One constant fear that lingered in the back of everyone’s minds was the threat of fire. A tiny blaze in one corner of the city, especially if fanned by a gusty wind, could ignite into a major catastrophe. The lack of electricity and central heating made this worry a genuine concern. Homes were lit by candle, cooking was done at the hearth, and

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Chapter 1 early efforts at policing 11

fireplaces warmed the interiors. Few chimneys were equipped with spark arresters. As a result, fire was a major urban consideration.

These conditions prompted the early urbanites to establish a voluntary surveillance mechanism known as the night watch system. All the townspeople took turns watch- ing over the city and guarding the gates against unwanted intruders. If a fire broke out, the person on watch would sound an alarm to awaken the citizenry and mobilize them against the threat.

While the Statute of Winchester in 1285 addressed several concerns, it also formal- ized this arrangement. This royal decree established the office of the parish constable. A volunteer would assume the position for one year. This person was responsible for coordinating the night watch system and making sure that all able-bodied men took their turn standing watch.

Another interesting feature of the Statute of Winchester was the assize of arms. The Crown mandated that all adult males shared responsibility for maintaining law and order. They also had to keep at least one weapon in their houses for this purpose. In addition, the law required all citizens to seek out and capture criminals. Whenever the constable needed help, all he had to do was to raise the “hue and cry.” Every man had to stop whatever he was doing and assist the constable. If a crime had taken place, the men would form a posse and set out to capture the culprit. Failure to respond to the hue and cry resulted in social disapproval and a hefty fine.

the challenge of urban Growth As time went on, not many people welcomed the unscheduled intrusions thrust upon them by the practice of hue and cry. Too much time and energy was being diverted from their work. At the same time, massive migration into the cities was beginning to take place. Urban areas suddenly experienced unprecedented growth. Unemployment and poverty, as well as other social problems, accompanied this spurt and delivered their toll upon the social fabric. The transition from a gemeinschaft to a gesellschaft type of soci- ety was taking place. This meant that “what was everybody’s business became nobody’s duty” (President’s Commission, 1967, p. 4).

The watch system was no match for this rapid social development. Merchants and businessmen had their own economic ventures to pursue. If a shopkeeper tended to his business all day and then went on watch that night, he would have to close his store the next day to sleep. Not being open during normal hours meant the loss of income and the possibility that customers would buy from competitors. A more practical alternative to serving on the watch was to pay somebody else to take one’s place.

If economics were the top priority, then the price of this substitution became a major concern. The old, the poor, and the lame surfaced as prime sources of cheap labor. Of course, these people were not fit to deal with the rogues and scoundrels who roamed the streets. As a result, the quality of protective services rapidly deteriorated. Klockars (1985, p. 29) sums up this situation quite nicely:

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12 Part 1 the context of law enforcement

The deterioration and demise of the parish constable system illustrates the cen- tral fl aw in all systems of obligatory avocational police. As the work becomes more diffi cult, demanding, or time-consuming, obligatory avocational policing takes on the characteristics of forced labor. Unpaid, it has to compete with earn- ing a living. Motivated only by the threat of punishment, it becomes unwilling and resistant. Offering no one any reason to learn or cultivate the skills neces- sary to do it well, it becomes undependable, uneconomic, and of poor quality. In short, the more we expect a police to do, the less we can expect obligatory avocational police to do it.

a Step toward paid police protection An obvious way to attract more people into the law enforcement function would be to increase the fi nancial incentives. One avenue for achieving this goal was to encourage entrepreneurial avocational policing (Klockars, 1985, p. 34). What this phrase means is that private civilians perform law enforcement tasks on a part-time basis and get paid for their productivity.

The English Parliament passed the “Highwayman Act” in 1692 as an incentive for increasing citizen involvement in police work. Anyone who captured a criminal was entitled to a reward. The exact amount of the payment depended upon the gravity of the offense. In addition, the person who took the criminal into custody could keep that individual’s belongings. These assets included any money, property, weapons, jewelry, or anything else that belonged to the crook. Finally, any convicted felon who squealed on other criminals could become eligible for a pardon.

While the original intentions behind this legislation were noble, the idea quickly backfi red. These bounty hunters, or thief takers as they came to be called, soon lost sight of the lofty ideals of justice. They readily learned how to reap handsome sums of reward money through various combinations of lying and framing innocent persons. One thing was evident. Crime certainly did pay!

Crime continued to fl ourish in the urban environment. Prostitutes lined the streets, pickpockets worked furiously, and a general air of lawlessness prevailed. Parliament responded by attaching hefty penalties to all sorts of misdeeds. Just about every seri- ous offense carried the death penalty. Sunday afternoon public hangings became a common spectacle.

The growing crime problem necessitated a more systematic and formal response. Sir Henry Fielding attempted to fi ll this gap by introducing the Bow Street Runners around 1750. The Bow Street Runners were a specially chosen group of men who worked as paid detectives in London. These investigators would travel to a major crime scene, examine the evidence, and launch an intensive search for the violator. The success this squad had in capturing criminals won much public respect. As a result, this group even- tually expanded its mission by actively patrolling the streets and other local areas.

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Chapter 1 early efforts at policing 13

Sir robert peel and the bobbies This early success in crime fi ghting led many reformers to call for greater governmental intervention. In 1829, Parliament passed the “London Metropolitan Police Act,” which authorized the establishment of a government-subsidized police force. This new police force had a standing strength of a thousand men serving under the direction of Sir Robert Peel. Because of his sensitivity and fi ne leadership, some researchers refer to Sir Robert Peel as the “father of modern policing.”

Although crime was soaring, many people feared that this new police force would deteriorate into a militaristic tool for political oppression and the denial of freedom. Peel tried to alleviate these concerns in several ways. First, this new police force was not armed. Although these offi cers did carry short truncheons or batons, they concealed these tools underneath their coats from public view. The subtle emphasis here was on authority as opposed to brute force. Police work by its very nature involves coercion. That is, the objective or goal is to get people to do what they might not wish to do

f IGure 1 . 1 Sir robert peel’s principles for policing.

1. The police must be stable, effi cient, and organized along military lines.

2. The police must be under governmental control.

3. The absence of crime will best prove the effi ciency of the police.

4. The distribution of crime news is essential.

5. The deployment of police strength by time and area is essential.

6. No quality is more indispensable to a policeman than a perfect command of temper; a quiet, determined manner has more effect than violent action.

7. Good appearance commands respect.

8. The securing and training of proper persons is at the root of effi ciency.

9. Public security demands that every police offi cer be given a number.

10. Police headquarters should be centrally located and easily accessible to the people.

11. Policemen should be hired on a probationary basis.

12. Police records are necessary to the correct distribution of police strength.

Source: Germann, A. C., Day, F. D., & Gallati, R. R. J. (1968). Introduction to Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (6th Edition). Springfi eld, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, pp. 60–61. Courtesy of Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd., Springfi eld, Illinois.

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originally. Armed officers can intimidate people and, ultimately, resort to physical force, if necessary, to gain compliance. Peel wished to avoid angry confrontations between the public and his officers. As a result, the administrative decision not to arm the police set the tone for police-civilian encounters.

A second concern centered upon the issue of whether the police should wear a dis- tinctive uniform. On the one hand, uniforms symbolize a military presence. On the other hand, they are distinctive and make the wearer’s identity immediately known, thereby increasing public trust and accountability. What crystallized this issue was the discovery that a member of this new police force had infiltrated a radical political organization by assuming an undercover role. The public outcry surrounding the insertion of the police as political spies convinced Peel to outfit his officers in a distinctive and easily recogniz- able garb (Klockars, 1985, pp. 50–51).

A third worry dealt with the activities that would occupy the attention of these new officers. Peel wanted these unarmed and uniformed men to be out and about in public view. The sheer visibility of officers on patrol would diminish the ability of the crimi- nal element to prey upon innocent citizens. Besides this deterrence or crime preven- tion function, the appearance of officers in public would help establish a bond of trust between them and the citizenry.

Sir Robert Peel made a concerted effort to impress upon his “Bobbies” (nicknamed after him) the notion that they were to serve and protect the public. His accomplishments were so notable that Parliament soon passed a series of reform legislation developing police forces throughout the country (President’s Commission, 1967, p. 5). Even today, the British police continue to exemplify many of the Peelian reforms.

law enforcement in Developing america When the early settlers came to this country, they brought the customs and practices of the old world with them. Since England governed the colonies, a simple transfer of many institutions took place. Constables took care of matters that came to their atten- tion. The night watch system became the first line of defense against fire. However, the unprecedented transition from gemeinschaft to gesellschaft communities in this coun- try necessitated a more reliable and effective social control system. As we saw earlier, informal techniques proved to be less efficient social control devices in an expanding urban atmosphere. Instead, there was a greater need for formal social control. A local- ized police force represented one immediate solution to the problem of maintaining social order (Bordua & Reiss, 1967; Parks, 1970).

Many cities followed the English actions and responded by establishing metropolitan police forces. Philadelphia started a 24-man daytime police force to augment its 120 night watchmen in 1833. Boston supplemented the night watch by beginning a daytime police force in 1838. Soon other cities began following suit. By 1870, just about every major American city had a full-time police force in place (President’s Commission, 1967, p. 5).

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Chapter 1 early efforts at policing 15

While this new urban police force had its roots in the English tradition, American officers differed considerably from the English Bobbies. Although American police started out being unarmed, many officers soon found themselves confronting armed criminals. Several officers were slain in the line of duty. These deaths provoked much concern. Although departmental regulations outlawed carrying a firearm on duty, many police officers disregarded this rule (Klockars, 1985, pp. 48–49; Miller, 1975).

Another notable difference between the early American and English police was the infusion of politics. The British system steadfastly resisted attempts to inject favor- itism into the police selection process. Such was not the case in the United States. For example, in 1844 New York City required that anyone appointed by the mayor to serve as a police officer had to live in the area where he would patrol (Klockars, 1985, p. 41). This political patronage system courted much abuse and instability. When one politician ousted an incumbent in an election, new appointees replaced current police officers. The lack of any selection standards beyond party affiliation invited corruption and a lack of public respect. Interestingly, these themes persist today as areas ripe for administrative reform.

Policing in America faced challenges on several fronts. Many cities were experienc- ing massive urban unrest. Inflation and unemployment sparked worker riots throughout the country (Flinn, 1887; Lane, 1967; Silver, 1967). The enforcement of blue laws, vice statutes, and alcohol regulations promoted great resentment because raids and sweeps appeared to be directed at distinct ethnic groups. Selective enforcement, as opposed to full enforcement, led critics to raise charges of corruption, insensitivity, and ineffective- ness. Clearly, this was not the police service that Peel had envisioned.

law and order on the frontier While America was developing its urban environment on the east coast, the frontier was expanding this country’s borders simultaneously to the south and to the west. Formal social control devices were primitive or nonexistent in these newly settled areas. Most newcomers to these territories wanted to put down roots and imitate the life they had left behind. These settlers built towns and churches in order to re-establish the bonds they had grown to appreciate. Moreover, they relied upon traditional religious values and notions of morality to guide the prevailing opinion about what was right and what was wrong. It is easy to see how homogeneous communities would arrive at a common value system.

These frontier people soon came to realize that they were merely prey to be victim- ized by the unsavory elements. As one historian explained, frontier society consisted of three layers of people (Brown, 1969). The upper level was constituted by the local elite. Business leaders, bankers, large farmers, and other prominent people formed this social crust. The next layer represented the bulk of the community’s moral fiber. It contained the workers, the tradesmen, the teachers, and other upstanding citizens who formed the

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core or backbone of the community. The final strata represented the poorer elements. While these persons were not outright criminals, they had little stake in the commu- nity. Members of this group labored for a living and enjoyed the small luxuries of life whenever they could afford them. They were basically good people who relished a night of carousing, drinking, and fighting whenever possible. While these people were not criminals themselves, they often consorted with outlaws and identified more closely with these hooligans.

Unfortunately, outlaws banded together to interfere with the calm and orderly devel- opment of these new settlements. Since most of these newly established areas lacked the formal arrangement of publicly endowed police officers, law-abiding citizens found themselves at a distinct disadvantage. In order to make the odds more even, many com- munities resorted to the traditional practice of vigilante policing.

vigilante policing Vigilantism means that people take the law into their own hands in order to regain con- trol and to secure values that they think are appropriate (Brown, 1969, p. 144). These groups are more than just unruly crowds. They usually have some type of formal social organization and they exist for a definite period of time. There are two general types of vigilante policing. The first is the “good” kind, which people call the socially construc- tive model. The “bad” form is the socially destructive model. Both styles have important social ramifications.

The socially constructive model of vigilantism arises from a genuine concern over social tranquility. Prominent and respectable community leaders often head these types of groups. Their goal is to wrestle control away from the grips of the outlaws and to establish an orderly existence free from terrorism and fear of crime.

Perhaps one of the earliest American vigilante movements was the South Carolina Regulators, which lasted from 1767 until 1769. When the early pioneers expanded into the Piedmont region of South Carolina, they encountered roving bands of outlaws and marauders. These lawless drifters did nothing more than wreak havoc upon the settlers. They stole cattle and horses, plundered the colony at will, and attacked anyone who stood in their way.

The local people soon tired of these victimizations. They decided to organize them- selves and hunt down these intruders. This South Carolina Regulator movement, as it came to be known, worked hard to rid the surrounding area of these nuisances. Members searched high and low for recalcitrant desperadoes with the mandate to bring these people to justice. When violators were taken into custody, justice was dispensed in a summary fashion. A jury would be sworn in and a trial of sorts would ensue. Anyone found guilty would be sentenced to a whipping or a hanging. Punishment was quite swift. There was no room for legal appeals or other dillydallying. As one representative (Smiley, 1901, p. 116 as quoted in Brown, 1969, p. 144) explained:

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Chapter 1 early efforts at policing 17

We never hanged on circumstantial evidence. I have known a great many such executions, but I don’t believe one of them was ever unjust. But when they were proved guilty, they were always hanged. There was no getting out of it. No, there were no appeals in those days; no writs of errors; no attorneys’ fees; no pardon in six months. Punishment was swift, sure and certain.

As you can imagine, the South Carolina Regulators met with considerable success in ridding their communities of these undesirable elements. More important, though, the ability of these early settlers to combat criminals in this fashion spawned imitation in other areas of the country. Many western pioneers carried this innovation with them. For example, horse thieves and cattle rustlers received immediate attention in order to minimize these problems. In short, the socially constructive model of vigilantism merely reaffirmed community values. Remnants of this tradition still exist in such groups as the Guardian Angel movement, which began in order to protect New York City subway riders at night.

The less desirable alternative, the socially destructive model, is what has given vigi- lantism a bad name. These groups were nothing more than elevated instances of lynch mobs. These factions generally championed unfavored causes. While they inflicted terror into the hearts of those whom they chastised, these groups advocated unpopu- lar positions. Sometimes these organizations represented an outgrowth of the more respectable vigilante groups. In these instances, some individuals took a sadistic pride or pleasure in torturing or inflicting excessive punishment upon wayward persons. In other cases, the very basis for the formation of such a group was counterproductive to the maintenance of law and order. The Ku Klux Klan and other similar radical groups fall into this category.

the rise of private Security Despite intensive social control efforts through vigilantism, lawlessness and rowdiness continued to plague the plains. Images of the “Wild West” soon became popular. The California gold rush around the middle of the nineteenth century lured thousands of for- tune seekers from the east. This sudden population influx stretched available resources. Boom towns sprang up almost overnight. Railroad tracks had to be laid in order to transport goods from one side of the country to the other. Telegraph lines were erected to facilitate communication, and mail service was in demand. The vast uncharted wilder- ness required taming and public resources were already strained.

The private security sector began to develop and thrive during this period. The unavailability of effective law enforcement created a demand for specialized protec- tive services. Stage coach companies hired guards to prevent losses. The Wells Fargo Company, Brinks, the Pony Express, and other private enterprises began business and filled an important gap in security. In short, public safety had become a lucrative pri- vate enterprise.

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18 Part 1 the context of law enforcement

Summary The job of social control in modern society has changed considerably from the prac- tices used in earlier days. While most people subscribe to the norms that characterize the common value system, informal social control devices no longer work efficiently in a complex society. Urban development necessitates a change from a gemeinschaft society to a gesellschaft society. The corresponding reduction in primary relationships and their replacement by more impersonal role behavior creates a sense of isolation. As a result, formal social control devices must take over the niche once occupied by informal social mechanisms.

Early English law enforcement practices also reflect this development. The mutual pledge system organized people into tithes. Tithes were responsible for the behavior of their members. Under this system, whenever someone needed help or protection, all that person had to do was raise the “hue and cry.” Everyone within earshot would drop what they were doing and come to the aid of the person needing help.

Eventually this system proved too cumbersome to meet the demands of an expand- ing society. The offices of the constable and the shire-reeve came into being. The night watch system, once a voluntary effort, became a job for one person. Despite this devel- opment, crime was rampant and there was a need for a more formal institution. The solu- tion was to establish a distinct organization that bore responsibility for crime control.

The American police developed in a similar fashion. However, local law enforce- ment was a puppet controlled by those in political power. Appointments to the police force served as rewards for campaign support. Police chiefs came and went after every election. This favoritism invited corruption and blatant misuse of the badge for personal gains. As a result, most common people had a difficult time distinguishing the police from the criminal element. Clearly, it was time for a change.

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Chapter 1 early efforts at policing 19

revIew QueStIonS

1. Why is social order important?

2. What is the consensus viewpoint and how does it relate to maintaining social order?

3. What is the confl ict perspective and how does it relate to maintaining social order?

4. Explain what a norm is?

5. What is a folkway? A more?

6. What is deviant behavior?

7. Give an example of an informal social control device. Why is this device so powerful?

8. Given an example of a formal social control device.

9. Distinguish a gemeinschaft from a gesellschaft society.

10. What does the term primary relationship mean?

11. What does the term secondary relationship mean?

12. What is anomie?

13. What benefi ts accompany the transition from a gemeinschaft to a gesellschaft society?

14. What is a tithing? Was it an informal or formal social control technique?

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20 Part 1 the context of law enforcement

15. What does the hue and cry mean?

16. Connect the terms shire and reeve and explain what they mean.

17. Describe the night watch system.

18. What did the Statute of Winchester in 1285 accomplish?

19. What is entrepreneurial avocation policing?

20. Why were the thief takers an imperfect solution in the effort to control deviant behavior?

21. Who was Sir Robert Peel?

22. Select any three of the principles that appear in Figure 1.1 and explain what they mean.

23. What three major concerns did Sir Robert Peel have to resolve when forming the Bobbies?

24. What is vigilantism mean and why did the early frontier people resort to it?

25. What is the difference between social constructive and destructive vigilante policing?

26. What accounted for the rise of private security?

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Chapter 1 early efforts at policing 21

DIScuSSIon QueStIonS

1. Suppose that either the local police department or your university police depart- ment is interested in writing a history of that agency. What kinds of materials, topics, and information should go into that account? Where would you go to gather these things?

2. Most colleges and universities have established an honor code that deals with items like academic honesty. Get a copy of the provisions that are in effect at your institution. Does the document rely upon informal or formal social control devices to achieve conformity? Why? Does this expectation work? Why or why not?

3. Continuing with the previous question, does your institution’s academic honesty code stem from a common value system or does it attempt to impose norms and other regulations? How does this document relate to the consensus and confl ict viewpoints discussed in the beginning of the chapter?

4. What other areas of behavior are mentioned in the student handbook at your insti- tution? How do these provisions refl ect the discussion about the transition from a gemeinschaft to a gesellschaft existence?

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22 Part 1 the context of law enforcement

S e l ecteD In ternet S I t e S

The Alliance of Guardian Angels

Émile Durkheim

Ferdinand Toennies,%20Ferdinand/ toennies,_ferdinand.htm

New York City Police Museum


Pony Express

Sir Robert Peel

Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum

The London Metropolitan Police

Wells Fargo Bank

referenceS Blau, P.M. (1977). Inequality and heterogeneity: A primitive theory of social structure.

New York: Free Press. Bordua, D.J., & Reiss, A.J., Jr. (1967). Law enforcement. In P.F. Lazarsfeld, W. H. Sewell,

& H.L. Wilensky (eds.), The uses of sociology (pp. 275–303). New York: Basic Books. Brown, R.M. (1969). The American vigilante tradition. In H.D. Graham & T.R. Gurr

(eds.), Violence in America: Historical and comparative perspectives (pp. 144–218). New York: Signet Books.

Durkheim, E. (1964). The division of labor in society, trans. George Simpson. New York: The Free Press.

Flinn, J.J. (1887). History of the Chicago police. Chicago: Police Book Fund. Germann, A.C., Day, F.D., & Gallati, R.R.J. (1968). Introduction to law enforcement and

criminal justice (6th edition). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher.

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Chapter 1 early efforts at policing 23

Hauser, P.M. (1969). The chaotic society: Product of the social morphological revolu- tion. American Sociological Review, 34, 1–19.

Klockars, C.B. (1985). The idea of police. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Lane, R. (1967). Policing the city: Boston 1882–1885. Cambridge, MA: Harvard

University Press. Miller, W.R. (1975). Police authority in London and New York City: 1830–1870. Journal

of Social History, 8(2), 81–101. Parks, E.L. (1970). From constabulary to police society: Implications for social control.

Catalyst, 6(5), 76–97. Paternoster, R. (1985). Book review: The consensus-conflict debate by Thomas J.

Bernard. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 76, 512–519. President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (1967).

Task force report: The police. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Silver, A. (1967). The demand for order in civil society: A review of some themes in the

history of urban crime, police, and riot. In D.J. Bordua (ed.), The police: Six socio- logical essays (pp. 1–24). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Sjoberg, G. (1955). The preindustrial city. American Journal of Sociology, 60, 438–445. Sjoberg, G. (1965). The preindustrial city: Past and present. New York: Free Press. Smiley, J.C. (1901). History of Denver. Denver: Denver Times/Times-Sun Publishing

Company, p. 116. As quoted in R.M. Brown (1969), The American vigilante tradition (p. 167) in H.D. Graham and T.R. Gurr (Eds.), Violence in America: Historical and comparative perspectives. New York: Signet Books.

Toennies, F. (1957). Community and society, trans. C.P. Loomis. East Lansing: Michigan State University. (Original work published 1887).

Webb, S.D. (1972). Crime and the division of labor: Testing a Durkheimian model. American Journal of Sociology, 78, 643–656.

Wirth, L. (1938). Urbanism as a way of life. American Journal of Sociology, 44, 1–24.

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R O D D Y , A N T H O N Y 6 9 7 3 B U


c h a p t e r


crItIcaL ISSUeS OVer the LaSt ceNtUrY

The Mollen Report

The Christopher Report

The Sequel to the Christopher Report

Hurricane Katrina


Review Questions

Discussion Questions

Selected Internet Sites


c h a p t e r O U t L I N e

Key Terms

Learning Objectives


The Wickersham Commission

The 1967 President’s Commission

The Kerner Report

Standards and Goals

The Knapp Commission

Contemporary Critical Incidents


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26 Part 1 the context of Law enforcement

police officer

police riot

pretextual stop

racial profiling


rotten apple theory

shake down


K e Y t e r m S

booming doors


code of silence

community service officer




police agent

• Recognize how racial tensions were adversely affecting police-community relations;

• Talk about plans to use education as one way to upgrade the quality of police personnel;

• Debate whether police corruption is an individual aberration or an orga- nizational concern;

• Suggest ways to control police mis- behavior; and,

• Talk about other nationally recog- nized problems in law enforcement.

L e a r N I N g O b j e c t I V e S

The study of this chapter will enable you to:

• See how law enforcement lacked adequate personnel standards and training over the years;

• Appreciate the obstacles that hin- dered the police force from devel- oping into the police service;

• Understand how issues like the third-degree would give rise to later reforms;

• Explain why some people were afraid of their own police;

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Chapter 2 critical Issues Over the Last Decade 27

Introduction It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that law enforcement became institu- tionalized in this country. In those days, police practices could be harsh, brutal, and quite crude. Prisoners suffered from mishandling. The public viewed the police with contempt and regarded them as second-class citizens. Political interference and corruption were rampant. Bullies, hooligans, and ruffians disgraced the uniform. No respectable person would ever dream of making law enforcement a career.

Alarmed by this state of affairs, influential community leaders set the wheels of change into motion. Task forces, commissions, and blue-ribbon committees began reviewing law enforcement activities. Recommendation after recommendation advocated reform. Slowly, but surely, law enforcement was starting to change and beginning to mature.

This chapter visits some of the more prominent inquiries that launched investiga- tions into law enforcement activities. Each of these panels reviewed police practices at the time and then made a series of recommendations aimed at upgrading law enforce- ment operations. More importantly for our purposes, though, is that many of the topics discussed throughout this text will echo these very same concerns over and over again. To borrow a phrase from Dorothy Guyot (1979), sometimes reforming the police is like “bending granite.”

the Wickersham commission A federal fact-finding body was appointed in the first part of this century to survey exist- ing practices within the American criminal justice system. This oversight committee, known as the Wickersham Commission, issued a series of reports in 1931. Although the Commission found the entire criminal justice system to be in dire need of improvement, our discussion will confine itself to the police sector.

One common practice that occupied the Wickersham Commission’s attention was the widespread reliance upon coercive tactics to extract confessions from suspects. The Commission documented many instances all over the country during which interroga- tors used torture, beatings, sleep deprivation, withholding of food, and psychological trickery to get arrested persons to confess to a crime (U.S. National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, 1931a). This use of coercive techniques was known as the third-degree. The goal was to force unwilling people to make self-incriminatory remarks involuntarily.

The Wickersham Commission decried the use of third-degree practices. As we shall see later in Chapter 8 when we deal with constitutional law and interrogation standards, these concerns foreshadowed the famous 1966 federal Supreme Court decision, com- monly known as Miranda, and a string of clarifying rulings. Today, officers must advise in-custody suspects of their constitutional rights prior to any questioning. In addition, there is an embargo against using coerced statements as evidence in court.

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28 Part 1 the context of Law enforcement

Another major deficiency that the Wickersham Commission denounced vehemently was the political manipulation of rank-and-file employees. Patrol officers often received their jobs in exchange for political favors. Entrance qualifications, which would guaran- tee that a person would be a good police officer, were nonexistent.

Some men who wore police uniforms had criminal histories. Background investiga- tions were cursory and fingerprint checks were rare. Computers, of course, were nonex- istent. The transition from brawn to brains had not materialized yet. As the Wickersham Commission (1931b, p. 57) wryly noted:

many police administrators still seem to be obsessed by the idea that brawn fully compensates for low intelligence and the lack of other desirable personal- ity traits.

Many police officers had barely finished grammar school. In fact, the Wickersham Commission (1931b, p. 61) lamented that “over 75 per cent of the members of the police force of this country are not mentally endowed to perform the duty assigned.” Dismayed by the lack of occupational standards, the Wickersham Commission recommended that all agencies tighten up entrance requirements and screen applicants more thoroughly.

The Wickersham Commission soon learned that upgrading entrance standards would not be enough. New employees hardly ever received any job orientation. Half of the 383 cities surveyed by the Commission replied that they placed new officers out on the streets without any training and without partners. Over half the agencies never even asked if the rookie knew how to shoot a gun, although they issued a service weapon (U.S. National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, 1931b, p. 70). This state of affairs flabbergasted committee members. Agencies needed to take job training much more seriously.

The Wickersham Commission found that the lack of an adequate communications system seriously hampered field units. Most towns used a light or siren system to notify patrol officers when to contact headquarters. For instance, if a citizen contacted the police station and reported that a burglary had taken place, the desk sergeant would turn on the light switch. Lights were located in such strategic points as on top of water tow- ers, city hall, or other tall structures. When officers noticed this signal, they would return to the police station or call the desk sergeant and get the information. Then the officer would be en route to the complainant. As one might imagine, response times and clear- ance rates were not very impressive under these conditions.

This lack of communication paralyzed most agencies. A crime could be taking place a block away and officers in the area would be unaware of the event. If an officer did happen to stumble upon an ongoing crime and observed the criminal making an escape, he was not able to contact other officers to assist in the capture. Thus, in one sense, the emphasis on brawn as opposed to brains is understandable under these conditions.

The invention of the wireless radio had the potential of elevating police communi- cations systems from primitive to state-of-the-art status. Placing radios in patrol cars

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Chapter 2 critical Issues Over the Last Decade 29

provided supervisors with instant access to street units. Response time became an oper- able concept, and the police had a new tool in their arsenal. Of course, it would be many years before officers would have the luxury of a portable radio system.

In short, the Wickersham Commission uncovered many deplorable conditions within the police world. As we shall see in a moment, subsequent task forces would revisit some of these same basic themes and still find the need for a remedy. Even more ironic, though, is that seventy years later, law enforcement continues to struggle with some of these very same concerns. As we will see in Chapters 4 and 5, personnel selection today is still imprecise. Even though police training has made considerable progress, some basic issues continue to wait for resolution.

the 1967 president’s commission The 1960s were a time of unrest and turbulence. Inner city residents rioted in sev- eral major cities. Protestors carried placards denouncing the military involvement in Vietnam. A dissident assassinated President Kennedy and, in turn, another killer mur- dered the assassin. The Reverend Martin Luther King. Jr. died from a sniper’s bullet in Memphis, Tennessee. The country was in the midst of much upheaval and racial discord.

President Johnson convened a group of scholars, political leaders, and criminal jus- tice system representatives to form the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. As Figure 2.1 explains, he charged this body with the task of finding solutions to America’s internal crime problems. Besides looking for the root causes of crime and delinquency, the President’s Commission also investigated the inner workings of the criminal justice system. Once again, law enforcement came under watchful eyes.

One area that occupied the Commission’s attention was the hostile and antagonistic relations that characterized much of the contact between police and civilians. Many of these tensions stemmed from poor relationships between the police and members of minority groups. One way to soothe this animosity, according to the Commission, would be to involve more citizens in an advisory capacity to law enforcement agencies.

Regularly scheduled meetings open to the public would provide citizens with a forum in which to air complaints. Police officials could explain their stance on these matters and become involved in a beneficial dialogue with the community. Another way to improve police-community relations would be to hire more minority members as law enforcement officers. However, the President’s Commission cautioned that such efforts must be taken carefully and in good faith. Assigning black officers to patrol ghetto areas only and failing to promote deserving minority officers would only high- light a double standard.

Another personnel issue dealt with upgrading the quality of police officers. While the Commission recognized that there was not an overabundance of police officers in this country, it pressed the issue of personnel quality over quantity. Quality, as far as the

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30 Part 1 the context of Law enforcement

f I g U r e 2 . 1 excerpts from the presidential executive order establishing the president’s commission on law enforcement and administration of justice.

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, it is ordered as follows:

SECTION 1. Establishment of Commission.

(a) There is hereby established the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (hereafter referred to as the “Commission”).

(b) The Commission shall be composed of such members, not to exceed twenty, as the President shall appoint, one of whom shall be designated by the President as the chairman. The members and chairman of the Commission shall serve at the pleasure of the President.

Sec. 2. Functions of Commission. The Commission shall:

(1) Inquire into the causes of crime and delinquency, measures for their prevention, the adequacy of law enforcement and administration of justice, and the factors encountering respect or disrespect for law, at the national, State, and local levels, and make such studies, conduct such hearings, and request such information as it deems appropriate for this purpose.

(2) Develop standards and make recommendations for actions which can be taken by the Federal, State, and local governments, and by private persons and organizations, to prevent, reduce, and control crime and increase respect for law, including, but not limited to, improvements in training and qualifi cations of person- nel engaged in law enforcement and related activities, improvements in tech- niques, organization, and administration of justice, improvements in correction and rehabilitation of convicted offenders and juvenile delinquents, promotion of better understanding between law enforcement offi cials and other members of the com- munity, and promotion of greater respect for law throughout the community.

Sec. 8. Reports to the President and Termination. The Commission shall make reports and recommendations to the President from time to time as it deems suitable and shall present a fi nal report and recommendations no later than eighteen months from the date of this order. The Commission shall terminate not later than ninety days after presenting such fi nal report and recommendations.

Signed: Lyndon B. Johnson The White House July 23, 1965

Source: Executive Order 11236, Federal Register, Vol. 30, pp. 9349–9350.

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Chapter 2 critical Issues Over the Last Decade 31

Commission was concerned, meant better educated officers and officers who were more representative of the communities they served (President’s Commission, 1967, p. 273). Finally, the emphasis was switching from brawn to brains.

Besides the pitch for higher starting salaries and better job conditions that would attract college graduates, one proposal called for an alternative entrance structure. Part of the reasoning behind this new device was the recognition that “recruitment from minority groups will be all but impossible in the immediate future if rigid higher educa- tion standards are instituted for all police jobs” (President’s Commission, 1967, p. 274).

In order to attract minority members and still advocate higher entrance standards, the President’s Commission recommended a three-tiered system. The police agent occu- pied the top notch of the career ladder. The agent would have at least two years of college study. This person would coordinate a police team and conduct criminal investigations. The middle rung would be the police officer. Routine patrol, emergency response, and traffic enforcement would constitute the main responsibilities of this position.

The final rank, where the innovation came into this scheme, was the community service officer (CSO). The CSO would be a youthful person, between the ages of 17 and 21. While not operating in a sworn capacity, people in these spots would assist with many of the social services provided by police agencies. This incumbent would establish a liaison with juveniles, could be assigned to a neighborhood center, or would perform other miscellaneous duties that would promote a more positive community image for the department. These people would continue their education and receive scholarship aid. These so-called work-study opportunities would help CSOs launch their police careers and work their way up through the ranks.

As we will see later, the President’s Commission emphasized the need for new officers and supervisory personnel to complete a college education prior to promotion. Better applicant screening was essential, as was intensive pre-service training, before patrol duties were assumed. The hope that flickered here was that a higher caliber of recruits would raise police service delivery, promote tranquility within the community, and relegate police corruption to a thing of the past.

the Kerner report Racial disturbances inundated American cities throughout the 1960s. Confrontations arose between blacks and whites during civil rights demonstrations. Protestors would gather and march upon city hall in the aftermath of incidents alleging police brutality. Some of these assemblies became violent. Agitators would shout insults and curses to goad participants into fights. In other instances, demonstrators or counter-demonstrators hurled rocks and bottles towards onlookers. Store windows were shattered and unruly crowds took advantage of the melee by scattering and embarking on looting sprees. Arsonists torched buildings while dissidents pelted responding firefighters with bricks. Mob violence reigned over calm collective responses.

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32 Part 1 the context of Law enforcement

These civil disorders, along with projections of more incidents of even greater inten- sity and further losses, worried President Johnson. As a result, the President signed an Executive Order on July 27, 1967, authorizing the appointment of a Commission on Civil Disorders. The directive placed Illinois Governor Otto Kerner at the helm of the Commission. The President instructed Kerner and his associates to investigate urban riots to determine what had happened, why it had happened, and what should be done to prevent similar outbreaks in the future.

The Kerner Commission (1968, pp. 112–113) estimated that 164 disorders took place during the first nine months of 1967. All these incidents had a racial overtone in that they “involved action within Negro neighborhoods against symbols of white American society” (Kerner Commission, 1968, p. 110). In other words, participants were reacting to social injustices that included discrimination, impoverished living con- ditions, and blocked aspirations.

The largest insight that the National Advisory Commission gained was the deep- seated hostility and antagonism between the police and minority members. Since the police are the most visible arm of the criminal justice system, changes in police operations would benefit the entire legal machinery. As a result, the National Advisory Commission focused upon several areas in need of improvement.

First, community surveys consistently revealed that ghetto residents resented what they believed to be police brutality and harassment. Verbal discourtesy, exemplified by the tone of voice and a lack of patience when explaining how to resolve a matter, created an immediate chasm between the police and the policed. As a result, the Kerner Report recommended greater care in assigning officers to these areas and more sensitivity to the frustrations and problems of ghetto life.

Second, many residents complained that the police had a more tolerant posture towards crime in underprivileged areas. Officers were less likely to wage a conscious war against prostitution, drugs, and street violence in these locations. Little priority was given to patrolling ghetto areas and reducing response time. To counteract these feelings, agencies needed to instill a sense of equal protection for both black and white citizens. One way to accomplish this goal would be to deploy a sufficient police presence within the poorer areas.

A third factor contributing to the gulf between the police and citizenry was the lack of an adequate grievance mechanism. Many residents were skeptical that agencies would investigate complaints against their own members. Civilians believed that officers would stick together and find ways to circumvent allegations of misconduct. In order to build public trust, the Kerner Commission felt it was necessary to establish a review board that was independent of the police agency. This way, any person who wished to lodge a complaint or criticism against a police officer could do so and feel that an impartial and fair review would follow.

The final series of recommendations focused on police personnel. The Kerner Commission found that most law enforcement agencies had hired only a few minority members. In order to reduce community tensions, the Report proposed that police depart- ments expend greater energies recruiting, hiring, and promoting minority officers. After

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Chapter 2 critical Issues Over the Last Decade 33

hearing about the community service officer (CSO) plan developed by the President’s Commission, the Kerner Commission enthusiastically threw its support behind this idea.

Although many of its conclusions drew popular approval, the Kerner Report did not receive a favorable reception from all quarters. Critics assailed the document as simply another political whitewash (Kopkind, 1969; Lipsky & Olson, 1977). At least one researcher thought it was important to take another look at the police response to crowd control.

Television viewers watching the evening news saw Chicago police officers dis- persing peaceful demonstrators outside the national Democratic Party convention with batons and tear gas. Reporters and bystanders found themselves absorbing blows from the police. Why were the police chasing people, striking them, taunting and jeering, and throwing rocks at fleeing subjects?

What people were seeing was a police riot in progress. According to Stark (1972, p. 17), a police riot occurs

when roving bands of policemen set upon nonprovocative persons and/or prop- erty in an excessively violent manner. When only one small group of policemen sets upon citizens and/or property in a single location it may be useful to call this a police attack. A police riot is any such event involving two or more attacks.

There are two ways of determining if a police riot is taking place. The first test is whether the police arrest the people against whom they have exerted force. The attempt to subdue a person through the use of force and then abandon that person without arrest or medical care implies that there was no lawful charge initially. The second indicator is whether the police file a report after destroying or damaging property in the line of duty. Not writing an official account is tantamount to admitting that the destruction was not warranted.

In any event, both the Kerner Report and the reaction to its findings sensitized peo- ple to the diverse problems confronting law enforcement. While better selection and training might diminish police abuse, the solution did not lie within individual police officers. As the Knapp Commission discovered, there was a tremendous need to revamp the police organization itself.

Standards and goals The National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals came into existence in the fall of 1971. The purpose of this board was “to formulate for the first time national criminal justice standards and goals for crime reduction and prevention at the state and local levels” (National Advisory Commission, 1973, p. i). Once again, the law enforcement sector came under scrutiny.

The basic purpose that guided the Commission was the desire to reduce high-fear stranger-to-stranger crime. The specific target crimes included homicide, sexual battery,

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aggravated assault, robbery, and burglary. These crimes were chosen because of their high economic impact, as well as for the paralyzing effects associated with the aftermath of victimization and the fear of crime. In addition, these offenses showed no signs of abatement. Trend analyses revealed that this country was in the throes of a massive crime wave. Crime was rising at a rate that was outpacing criminal justice system resources. As a result, the Commission zeroed in on four major priorities: (1) the prevention of juve- nile delinquency, (2) improved delivery of social services, (3) streamlining the criminal justice process, and (4) increasing citizen participation in crime control strategies.

The Commission looked for ways to make law enforcement operate more effi ciently and effectively. It recognized that inroads against crime had to come at the patrol level. As a result, the Commission sought to enhance this police role by issuing a series of rec- ommendations that would make the police function more productive. Figure 2.2 displays some of those major recommendations.

f I g U r e 2 . 2 Selected recommendations issued by the National advisory commission On criminal justice Standards and goals.

• Active crime prevention efforts by the police working with the community.

• Diversion of juveniles, drunks, and mental patients from the criminal justice system.

• Use of the patrolman as the primary investigator for crimes which come to his attention.

• Consolidation or elimination of police departments with fewer than 10 full-time police offi cers.

• Increased use of civilians.

• College education entrance requirements for employment of police offi cers.

• Legislation authorizing police offi cers to obtain search warrants by telephone.

• Continuing analysis of crime trends and deployment of special units to react to developing crime trends.

• Establishment of different classifi cations and pay levels within the basic patrol- man category.

• Development of units within police departments to work with prosecutors, courts, and corrections offi cials and to follow specifi c cases and individuals through the criminal justice system.

Source: National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals (1973). A national strategy to reduce crime. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Offi ce, pp. 71–72.

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A major thrust behind the Commission’s views was that police officer salaries account for approximately 80% of any agency’s budget. If police administrators wished to maximize the returns on these personnel expenditure, several courses of action would be necessary. One primary concern was police-community relations. It is mandatory for agencies to inspire public confidence in them. Agencies should encourage officer participation in the educational system and in youth programs to promote good will. A second prong to enhance the police image would be to involve neighborhoods in crime prevention programs and safety groups.

Since effective use of police officers would go far in suppressing the criminal ele- ment, there needed to be a greater emphasis on assignments. Agencies should plan and allocate officers on the basis of calls for service and activity patterns within areas. Hiring civilians to replace officers in clerical and other support positions, or what is known as civilianization, would put more police on the streets. Similarly, diverting juveniles and persons needing rehabilitation or counseling services into the mental health system would benefit the entire criminal justice system.

Another way to upgrade law enforcement is to recruit college-educated applicants. The blunt reality is that “an undergraduate degree today is equivalent in prestige to a high school diploma at the turn of the century” (National Advisory Commission, 1973, p. 81). By refusing to raise personnel entrance standards, departments were encouraging the public to view police work as a second-class occupation.

Another push was made in the area of increased and improved training. The Commission (1973, p. 83) noted that the “average barber receives 4,000 hours of train- ing. The average policeman receives less than 200 hours.” Given the multiple tasks and the importance of the law enforcement mission, better training is imperative.

Technology was addressed in a way that was reminiscent of the past. If you recall, the Wickersham Commission was fascinated with the promise wireless radio technol- ogy held for law enforcement. Advances over the years now make it possible for offi- cers to carry portable radios. This innovation allows officers to be in constant touch with dispatch even if they are some distance from their patrol vehicles. As a result, the Commission (1973, p. 88) recommended that “all patrol cars should be equipped with two-way radios, and every police agency should equip all on-duty uniformed officers with a portable two-way radio.” Today, light-weight models that officers wear wherever they go while on duty are standard issue.

Work continued after the National Advisory Commission issued its findings. A National Advisory Committee, in conjunction with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, carried on by conducting a series of studies. One area of focus was the develop- ment of police leadership, particularly chiefs and sheriffs. A survey of police executives around the country produced some startling results. For example, the National Advisory Committee (1976, p. 7) noted “16 percent of the police chief executives indicated that they had not completed their first year in office, an additional 11 percent had not completed their second year, and yet another 13 percent had fewer than 3 years in the top position.” In addition, over half the chiefs and sheriffs had been in office less than four years.

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The Committee agreed that it would be extremely diffi cult to reform law enforce- ment with such instability at the helm. Consequently, it drew up a blueprint to guide local offi cials in the selection of police executives. This plan begins with an assessment of agency needs, a decision as to what the evaluation criteria should be, a delineation of the minimum qualifi cations the new leader should have, a discussion of whether can- didates should come from within or outside the agency, and deciding what input the selection board should have on the fi nal outcome. As one can see, each standard aims to remove the leader from political infl uence and to render the selection process as objec- tive as possible.

the Knapp commission Newspaper reporters working for The New York Times broke a chilling story in early 1970 about corruption within the New York City Police Department (NYPD). The exis- tence of corruption was not as shocking as the way in which police offi cials ignored reports that had come to their attention. In any event, a major scandal that would tarnish the badge was brewing.

Soon after receiving a transfer assignment to a plainclothes division in a new pre- cinct, an offi cer gave Offi cer Frank Serpico an envelope containing $300 in cash. The envelope represented Serpico’s monthly share of the protection money that a local gam- bler routinely paid the police. Serpico immediately notifi ed Captain Foran, who was the head of the Department of Investigation. After hearing the story, Captain Foran advised Offi cer Serpico to turn the envelope and money over to his supervisor. Nothing else became of this incident.

Shortly thereafter, Serpico transferred to another division. Once again, another offi – cer offered him a $100 payment. Serpico notifi ed his superiors, who then contacted the First Deputy Commissioner, John Walsh. Walsh was the second-highest ranking mem- ber of the police department. After several months had gone by, the police administra- tion still had not taken any action. Communication with other city offi cials produced similar inactivity. Thus, it seemed that the brass would sweep Serpico’s allegations of corruption and collusion under the carpet.

The appearance of a front-page newspaper story altered the situation dramatically. Mayor John Lindsay empaneled a blue-ribbon committee, which came to be known as the Knapp Commission, to examine local police corruption. The Knapp Commission found a widespread “strikingly standardized pattern of corruption” (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption, 1972, p. 1). Gamblers, pimps, and narcot- ics dealers made regular monthly payments to police offi cers who patrolled the area. This sum was called the “pad.” Usually, one offi cer would collect the “pad” and later divide it into several “nuts,” the share owed to each offi cer involved in the scheme. Some shakedowns netted as much as $3,500 a month per business. This fi gure translated into a $300 to $400 supplement to an offi cer’s monthly paycheck.

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The structure behind these activities was deeply ingrained. Supervisors typically received one-and-a-half shares, while offi cers on the bottom got a single share. An offi – cer new to a precinct would be watched while others checked out his or her past. If the new offi cer could be trusted, he or she started to collect a share. In order to make up for losses during the background check, departing offi cers received two month’s severance pay when they transferred to another precinct.

Not all offi cers participated in these shakedowns. One distinction that did emerge was the difference between “meat-eaters” and “grass-eaters.” A meat-eater describes the offi cer who actively looks for opportunities to extort money from participants of illegal

f I g U r e 2 . 3 an example of a bribery statute.

Unlawful compensation or reward for offi cial behavior.

(1) It is unlawful for any person corruptly to give, offer, or promise to any public ser- vant, or, if a public servant, corruptly to request, solicit, accept, or agree to accept, any pecuniary or other benefi t not authorized by law, for the past, present, or future performance, nonperformance, or violation of any act or omission which the per- son believes to have been, or the public servant represents as having been, either within the offi cial discretion of the public servant, in violation of a public duty, or in performance of a public duty. Nothing herein shall be construed to preclude a public servant from accepting rewards for services performed in apprehending any criminal.

(2) It is unlawful for any person corruptly to give, offer, or promise to any public ser- vant, or, if a public servant, corruptly to request, solicit, accept, or agree to accept, any pecuniary or other benefi t not authorized by law for the past, present, or future exertion of any infl uence upon or with any other public servant regarding any act or omission which the person believes to have been, or which is represented to him or her as having been, either within the offi cial discretion of the other public servant, in violation of a public duty, or in performance of a public duty.

(3) Prosecution under this section shall not require that the exercise of infl uence or offi cial discretion, or violation of a public duty or performance of a public duty, for which a pecuniary or other benefi t was given, offered, promised, requested, or solicited was accomplished or was within the infl uence, offi cial discretion, or public duty of the public servant whose action or omission was sought to be rewarded or compensated.

(4) Whoever violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree . . . .

Source: Florida Statutes 2011, § 838.016.

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enterprises. A grass-eater, on the other hand, does not search out payoffs. However, this offi cer would not pass up a chance to “score” if the opportunity presented itself. Despite this line between heavy and occasional involvement in bribery, one must bear in mind that neither type is engaging in proper actions. As Figure 2.3 demonstrates, this behavior constitutes a serious criminal charge.

One concern that perplexes many people is the question of how police corruption can fl ourish. A common argument that has the effect of shielding the police organization from derision is the rotten apple theory. Police administrators routinely denounce tainted offi cers as a few bad apples in a barrel of mostly good apples. The implications behind this analogy are quite simple. Once the administration removes these few disgraceful offi cers from the police service, the organization can reassure the public that the remain- ing members are upstanding workers who continue to do good work.

An important distinction emerges here. According to Sherman (1978, p. 4), there is a difference between deviant behavior committed by an organization compared with deviant behavior committed within the organization. Corrupt organizations permit mem- bers to embark upon widespread collective rule breaking. Such abuse requires sustained support, either tacitly or directly, from ranking offi cials within the organization.

Many agencies have instituted reform measures to prevent such undesirable activity from occurring in the fi rst place. Most departments have created internal units to investi- gate allegations of offi cer misconduct. First-line supervision of fi eld units has increased. Some agencies even encourage citizen initiation of complaints. Others have tightened entrance and training requirements. Many policy manuals now include prohibitions such as the directives appearing in Figure 2.4, forbidding employees from accepting gratuities or discounts that are not also available to the public.

contemporary critical Incidents Law enforcement has weathered a number of critical incidents over the past quarter of a century. Rather than elaborate on each and every one of these events, this section of the chapter selectively highlights a handful of these episodes. What is interesting about these choices is that they are not isolated occurrences. In other words, despite earlier attention to these matters, certain systematic diffi culties still continue to persist.

the mollen report Several members of the New York City Police Department were arrested on narcot- ics violations in May of 1992. One of these offi cers had compiled an extensive inter- nal affairs history of allegations regarding his participation in criminal activities. Yet, despite an impressive body of accumulating evidence, the agency had failed to take any investigative, let alone disciplinary, actions against this offi cer.

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Because this situation bore such an uncanny resemblance to earlier police misbe- havior uncovered by the Knapp Commission, the mayor appointed a committee headed by Milton Mollen to look further into these matters. The Committee had three charges. It was instructed to explore the nature and extent of corruption within the NYPD, to assess whether organizational efforts to combat corruption were suitable, and to make recommendations to strengthen anti-corruption measures (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption, 1994, p. 1).

The Commission revealed a startling pattern of bold and brazen criminal activ- ity by both on-duty and off-duty offi cers. Organized groups of offi cers, called a crew, would raid drug dealers under the pretense of a lawful police investigation, steal the contraband, and then resell the narcotics to other dealers. These rogue bands of offi cers would split any cash or other valuables they looted from crime scenes. In addition, some crooked cops provided protection to select dealers and would harass other entrepreneurs who were in competition with these operators. The services also included roughing up people and covering up these covert activities by perjury and falsifi cation of offi cial police records. In at least one instance, an off-duty offi cer robbed a liquor store and used his department-issued service weapon to kill the owner.

f I g U r e 2 . 4 an example of an agency policy prohibiting employee acceptance of gratuities.

A. All personnel shall not, under any circumstances, solicit or request a gratuity from any person for private use.

B. All personal shall not accept, use, or retain any gratuity where:

1. The person offering the gratuity is in any way involved with the employee’s performance of his/her duties.

2. The employee has performed, or is expected to perform, any special service for the person offering the gratuity.

3. Discounts on food, merchandise, services, etc., that are not open to the gen- eral public shall not be accepted while in the performance of duty.

4. The full price for any food item is to be paid or a tip at least the equivalent to the full price shall be left.

C. The Chief of Police may authorize a gift when it is only for the benefi t of, or use by, the entire department.

Source: Olin, W.R. (2006). Chapter 3, section 3.12: Gratuities/discounts. Lawrence, Kansas, Police Depart- ment’s policy manual. Lawrence, KS: Lawrence Police Department. Retrieved on January 20, 2012 from

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A host of clandestine activities lined police pockets. Officers would “shake down” street dealers, relieve them of their wares, and keep these items. On-duty patrol officers would monitor the radio for what sounded like lucrative calls for service. They would then race to the scene, pre-empt any assigned units, and ransack the premises. “Booming doors” referred to the practice of crews breaking into locations, without a search warrant, and taking whatever they found. Not listing on the impound sheet an item seized during the course of a lawful search was another popular, but illegal, enrichment procedure.

Business was so good that an enterprising officer could net in the neighborhood of $1,500 to $2,500 a week (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption, 1994, p. 22). That illegal supplement could easily amount to an extra $100,000 on an annual basis. In fact, one participant boasted that this outside income was so profitable he often forgot to pick up his regular city-issued paycheck.

Given the lessons imparted by the Knapp Commission some 20 years earlier, how could such pervasive corruption worm its way back and persist? Were these practices firmly entrenched within the organization? The Mollen Commission placed the blame squarely on the police subculture and the collapse of the agency’s corruption controls.

Just like the Knapp Commission, the Mollen Commission lamented the code of silence rooted among the rank and file. Otherwise honest and law-abiding officers tolerated unscrupulous coworkers and tacitly endorsed their misdeeds by adhering to “the unwritten rule that an officer never incriminates a fellow officer” (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption, 1994, p. 51). The alternative, reporting a corrupt officer, is just not palatable. However, as Figure 2.5 shows, many agencies have installed policy guidelines which demand that officers cooperate fully and completely with an internal affairs investigation. Failure to do so could result in disciplinary action, including the loss of one’s job.

Ostracism, an informal social control technique mentioned in the last chapter, means that other officers would not trust the rat or informant. The other officers, even those who were not involved in corrupt activities, would avoid having anything to do with the tattler at all costs. Ostracism is an extremely potent device in a setting where members must depend upon each other in a life-or-death situation.

Even more astonishing was the organization’s failure to monitor wrongdoing by its members, especially in the wake of the Knapp Commission. The brass were reluctant to uncover corruption because they wished to avoid any embarrassment whatsoever to the department. Their goal was to avoid all negative publicity at any cost. Fear that proactive uprooting of misconduct would stymie career advancement paralyzed many supervisors and produced inaction. For example, one officer revealed that when he “was using drugs and drinking on the job daily, had not made a single arrest in one of the most crime- ridden precincts in the City, was driving a red Corvette and living an openly lavish life- style from his illicit drug profits, his supervisor gave him a ‘meets standards’ evaluation” (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption, 1994, p. 81). Essentially, the NYPD had abandoned its corruption controls.

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In light of its fi ndings, the Mollen Commission (1994, p. 7) issued a number of rec- ommendations aimed at reducing police corruption. These reforms targeted a number of areas. The following list highlights some of these concerns:

• improving screening and recruitment;

• improving recruit education and in-service integrity training;

• strengthening fi rst-line supervision;

• reinventing the enforcement of command accountability;

• challenging other aspects of police culture and conditions that breed corruption and brutality;

• enhancing sanctions and disincentives for corruption and brutality;

• strengthening intelligence-gathering efforts;

• preventing and detecting drug abuse;

• soliciting police union support for anti-corruption efforts;

• minimizing the corruption hazards of community policing; and,

• legislative reforms.

f I g U r e 2 . 5 an example of an agency policy requiring full and complete testimonial disclosure from offi cers during an internal affairs investigation.

III. Individual Employee Responsibilities

F. Employees shall cooperate in a Department internal investigation of an alle- gation of misconduct when so directed by the Department, and shall truthfully answer questions and render complete, material and relevant statements, including all facts and circumstances surrounding the subject matter of the investigation, which may be known by the employee. Omissions of material fact shall be classifi ed as failure to cooperate in an internal investigation.

H. No employee shall retaliate against any person who initiates or provides infor- mation pursuant to any citizen or internal complaint, or against any person who provides information or testimony at a Department hearing, because of such person’s participation in the complaint process. Such retaliation may be a criminal act and/or constitute separate grounds for discipline.

Source: Diaz, J. (2011). Chapter 11.001—public and internal complaint process. Seattle Police Department policy and procedure manual. Seattle, WA: Seattle Police Department. Retrieved on January 20, 2012 from

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the christopher report Two California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers were on routine patrol shortly after mid- night on March 3, 1991, when a car, driven by Rodney King, sped past them at a high rate of speed. Although the CHP officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop, the driver refused to halt. The CHP officers radioed out that they were engaged in a high-speed pursuit. Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) heard this transmis- sion and joined the chase. King eventually ended the pursuit by halting his vehicle. At this point, LAPD officers directed King to exit the vehicle. He did not comply with this command. After repeated orders, King came out of the car, but he ignored subsequent orders to get down on the ground. At this point, Sgt. Koon fired an electric Taser stun gun which struck King. However, the electrical charge failed to generate any appreciable impact. King was still not complying with the verbal commands.

Sgt. Koon directed other officers to strike the suspect with their batons. Unbeknownst to the officers, a nearby resident saw what was taking place and began to videotape the incident. Multiple LAPD officers struck King 56 times with batons and kicked him several times before they swarmed and handcuffed him. After being taken into custody, King was transported to a local hospital by ambulance for medical assistance. In addition to a num- ber of abrasions and contusions, King sustained a broken cheekbone and a fractured ankle.

The amateur cameraman sold the tape to a television station which aired the contents. People all over the country saw replays which recounted King, surrounded by a number of officers, absorbing a hail of baton strikes. The public outrage compelled the city’s mayor to empanel a special independent commission, chaired by Warren Christopher, to conduct an inquiry into the LAPD.

Special investigators combed through citizen complaints concerning police use of excessive force. They discovered that a small colony of officers surfaced in an inordinate number of allegations. Ten percent of the agency’s members accounted for a third of the use-of-force reports that were filed (Christopher, 1991, p. 36). Further checking revealed a pattern of botched internal inquiries and a lack of appropriate disciplinary actions aimed at curtailing this type of behavior. In other words, the agency lacked an efficient mechanism that would flag troublesome officers for corrective action.

The special investigators also sifted through the computerized records of car-to-car messages that officers typed to each other. The contents, which supervisors either failed to monitor or conveniently ignored, were shocking. They revealed an undercurrent or tone that was most unflattering. Some of these discovered excerpts, reprinted below (Christopher, 1991, pp. 49–52), illustrate how some officers thrived on violence:

• Gary, if you see [name omitted], grab him and beat him, he has a fel war [ felony warrant]. Rgr will destroy him.

• I obviously didn’t beat this guy enough. He got right back up and is still being obnoxious.

• They give me a stick, they give me a gun, they pay me 50G’s to have some fun.

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Other transmissions contained racial slurs, pejorative comments, and definite ethnic biases. Look, for example, at these excerpts (Christopher, 1991, pp. 72–73):

• Sounds like monkey slapping time.

• What’s happening . . . . we’re huntin wabbits.

• Actually, muslim wabbits.

• Almost got me a Mexican last nite but he dropped the dam gun too quick. . . .

Given these observations, as well as other revelations that materialized during the course of the investigation, the Commission advanced a number of recommendations for improvement. For instance, the report insisted that immediate steps be taken to implement a host of practices premised on “the principle that racism and ethnic and gender bias will not be tolerated within the Department” (Christopher, 1991, p. 91). Furthermore, stricter controls should govern recruitment, selection, and psychologi- cal testing of new recruits. The agency should revamp its pre-service and in-service training to stress greater sensitivity when dealing with diverse groups. LAPD needed to institute more stringent complaint procedures with an emphasis on greater accountabil- ity. Continuing along these lines, the Commission also called for sweeping managerial changes, as well as greater civilian oversight of LAPD, to restore public trust and to enhance the credibility of the reform efforts.

The following statement reflects the disappointment and summarizes the sentiment that emerged from the Commission’s (Christopher, 1992, p. iv) review:

The LAPD’s failure to analyze and act . . . evidences a significant breakdown in the management and leadership of the Department. . . . We urge that the leader- ship of the LAPD go beyond rhetoric in carrying out its existing policies against excessive force. . . . Ugly incidents will not diminish until ranking officers know they will be held responsible for what happens in their sector, whether or not they personally participate.

The Sequel to the Christopher Report Instead of allowing the Christopher Report to languish and gather dust after its release, the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners initiated a subsequent review of the agency to determine what progress had been made (Bobb, Epstein, Miller, & Abascal, 1996; Hill, Mattox, Boeckmann, Fisher, & Perez, 1996). The follow-up investigation found that while many changes were effected, there was still room for improvement.

The foremost area of concern in the aftermath of the Rodney King incident centered upon the use of force. Inspection of agency records revealed that use-of-force incidents and officer-involved shootings had declined by over a third from 1990 until 1995 (Bobb et al., 1996, p. 3). Furthermore, the level of force witnessed a change. The introduction of “pepper spray” was associated with a drop in baton usage and a concomitant reduc- tion in suspect injuries. These plaudits, though, did not ease other worries. For example,

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the LAPD still did not have a system in place to fl ag offi cers who were overly involved in violent encounters (see Figure 2.6 for an example of such a policy). Furthermore, internal affairs investigations and the way citizen complaints were resolved still left much to be desired.

f I g U r e 2 . 6 an example of an agency policy regarding a personnel early warning system.


A Personnel Early Warning System is designed to assist supervisors in identifying police employees whose performance and/or behavior indicates that intervention may be necessary to prevent negative consequences for the employee and the Department. Involvement in multiple citizen complaints/administrative investiga- tions, multiple on-duty traffi c collisions, multiple vehicular pursuits, and multiple use- of-force incidents may be indicative of an employee who is in need of intervention.

The Internal Affairs Sergeant will maintain a computerized database that is designed to keep an accurate record of citizen complaints/administrative investigations, on- duty traffi c collisions, vehicular pursuits, and use of force incidents. Only those citi- zen complaints/administrative investigations with a disposition of sustained or not sustained, and those on-duty traffi c collisions that are found by the Department’s Safety Committee or the employee’s chain-of-command to be preventable, will be used to activate the Personnel Early Warning System.

The Personnel Early Warning System shall activate when an employee has:

• Three or more citizen complaints/administrative investigations within a twelve- month period.

• Three or more on-duty traffi c collisions within a twelve-month period.

• Three or more vehicular pursuits, which were initiated by the employee, in a twelve-month period.

• Three or more use-of-force incidents in a twelve-month period that required examination by the Use-of-Force Review Board.

• A combination of fi ve or more of any of the above incidents in a twelve-month period.

Source: Raney, K.J. (2011). Chapter 3.28: Personnel early warning system. General orders manual. Garden Grove, CA: City of Garden Grove Police Department. Retrieved on January 20, 2012 from http://www.

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The Christopher Commission felt that one way to counter the overt racial, sexual, and ethnic biases that had permeated police practices was to recruit a more diverse group of qualified employees. While the Commission found that the LAPD had made much progress in this arena, there was still room for improvement within the upper echelon. In other words, sufficient gains were evident at the entry level. However, minority and female representation in supervisory positions and in other coveted or more desirable assignments still lagged behind agency goals.

These reports revealed that the LAPD, while not fully recovered, was moving in an appropriate direction. Further improvements, though, would require ongoing assessment and continuous reappraisal.

hurricane Katrina In late August of 2005, meteorologists at the National Weather Service spotted a poten- tial storm brewing in the Caribbean. Observers began monitoring its development. The warm Gulf waters at this time of the year provided sufficient fuel for the winds to intensify and a center to solidify. Eventually, the tempest developed into a Category 1 hurricane. At this point, storm observers at the National Hurricane Center had no idea that this disturbance eventually would blossom into a full-blown Category 5 storm and unleash its fury upon New Orleans.

This modest storm meandered about in the Gulf of Mexico for several days as it become better organized, gained power, and grew infinitely more destructive. The pre- dicted storm track was taking aim at the upper Gulf Coast and authorities in New Orleans issued a mandatory evacuation order to city residents. In anticipation of unprecedented devastation, President Bush declared the region to be in a federal state of emergency two days before the hurricane arrived. The concern was that the storm surge would compro- mise the walls of the levee system and unleash torrents of water throughout the area. New Orleans, which sits below sea level, would be especially vulnerable to wide-scale flooding.

The massive evacuation out of the city caused tremendous congestion and innumer- able traffic delays along the escape routes. One estimate was that 100,000 residents who had not heeded earlier warnings to leave were now trapped (Collins & Lieberman, 2006, p. 25). These people had no way out. They had no choice except to remain in their homes and ride out the storm.

Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the Crescent City on August 29, 2005. The storm packed winds gusting up to 175 miles-per-hour. The downtown area saw plate-glass windows being blown off buildings and cascading into the streets below. The torrential downpours and swirling waters caused the weakened levees to give way and collapse. Rising waters forced the people who left behind to climb onto housetops, take refuge there, and wait for rescue efforts to find them. By the time this calamity passed, the storm of the century had left New Orleans in ruins and devastated its infrastructure. Hurricane Katrina went into the history books as the worst natural disaster ever to descend upon this country (Townsend, 2006).

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While federal troops and members of the National Guard were activated, along with a host of other national response teams, the local law enforcement community was not prepared to handle a disaster of this magnitude. The resources of the New Orleans Police Department were quickly overwhelmed. The most immediate need was to switch gears from a law enforcement mission and embark upon search-and-rescue and other relief efforts. However, a number of officers found it difficult to report for duty. The safety and well-being of their own families and homes were in jeopardy and commanded their undi- vided attention. In addition, local authorities were hampered by insufficient resources on a number of fronts. Radios became of little use. The vicious winds and floodwaters had dismantled communication towers. The electrical power outage meant that officers could not recharge their portable radio batteries. This blackout, in turn, deprived officers of contact with each other or with commanding officers. The 911 system sustained damage, rendering it inoperative. Floodwaters submerged a number of unattended marked units, reducing the available fleet. Fuel pumps were inoperative so many of the police vehicles that were in service soon ran out of gas. The city fire department did not own any boats and the police department could mobilize only five boats (Collins & Lieberman, 2006, p. 8). The flooding also meant that officers could not reach the jail if they had an arrestee in their custody. In fact, the jail itself was covered in five feet of water and there were no plans for a back-up facility.

The lack of an immediate and coordinated federal response only compounded the confusion surrounding local and state efforts. For instance, there were logistical difficul- ties with getting food, water, and other supplies on the ground and then distributing these materials. Area hospitals were swamped by an influx of people needing medical atten- tion and had to establish temporary field facilities. The volume of people needing critical medical attention quickly sapped existing inventories. As a result, the ensuing shortage of medical supplies and the lack of electricity hindered appropriate intervention. Every day, the standing water became more hazardous because of contamination from leaking fuel, failed septic systems, and decaying corpses.

A number of critical reviews materialized in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Their goal was to dissect the mistakes that had occurred and glean lessons from them. Obviously, local resources were no match for a catastrophe of this magnitude. Even state and federal responses also had their own shortcomings. Today, planning for a coordi- nated response, national preparedness, and a unified incident command structure falls to the Department of Homeland Security. As one report (Townsend, 2006, p. 52) explained:

The Federal government cannot and should not be the Nation’s first responder. State and local governments are best positioned to address incidents in their juris- dictions and will always play a large role in disaster response. But Americans have the right to expect that the Federal government will effectively respond to a catastrophic incident. When local and State governments are overwhelmed or incapacitated by an event that has reached catastrophic proportions, only the

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Federal government has the resources and capabilities to respond. The Federal government must therefore plan, train, and equip to meet the requirements for responding to a catastrophic event.

Summary The past 100 years have opened the door to many changes. Commissions, task forces, and other blue-ribbon panels took a hard look at what was wrong in policing. Several common themes emerged time after time from these independent bodies. The racial divide between the police and the policed was huge. The quality of recruits needed to be enhanced. Better selection and training were required. Salaries should be more competi- tive. Technology could help in the war against crime. Corruption was inevitable under a weak administration. Police leaders needed to be independent from political pressure, but yet, still held accountable. Although this list could go on and on, one resounding theme emerges from these analyses. The American police were in need of sweeping reform.

Some of the changes that were implemented during this period worked quite well. In other instances, well-intended efforts only led to other problems that required further study and more deliberate action. And, in still other cases, it seemed that very little meaningful reform was achieved.

Police reform is an ongoing struggle. Law enforcement continues to undergo much inspection, critical review, and appraisal. We shall see throughout the remainder of this book, though, that some of the very same themes that we have identified in these open- ing chapters will resurface over and over again in the continuing saga to upgrade the police. While hearing these ongoing refrains being replayed numerous times may be frustrating, it does indicate that there are many facets to police work that still deserve our attention. Even though Walker, the noted police historian, was referring to the work of the 1967 President’s Commission, his comments represent an apt summary of the reviews presented in this chapter and all the other august bodies not mentioned that have brought police practices under the microscope during the 20th century. He (1994, p. 33) wrote:

we can say that, with respect to the police, the President’s Crime Commission stood between two worlds. It marked the culmination of a half century of reform and the birth of a very different view of policing and police reform.

Our task in the upcoming pages will touch upon this theme. We will look at where the police have been, the changes that have been implemented and their impact, and the direction in which the institution is headed. In particular, we will emphasize the shifts and accompanying subtle changes that mark the philosophical transition from the police force to the police service. All these currents will rise to the surface as we begin to explore the various stages of the police career from the unique viewpoint of an insider.

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Chapter 2 critical Issues Over the Last Decade 49


1. What problems did the Wickersham Commission uncover?

2. What was the “third-degree?”

3. What problems did the Wickersham Commission discover with police offi cer selection and hiring practices?

4. What shortcomings in police training did the Wickersham Commission address?

5. What technological innovation did the Wickersham Commission see as holding great potential for police practices?

6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission identify?

7. How would the “Community Service Offi cer” proposal formulated by the 1967 President’s Commission, address personnel problems within law enforcement?

8. What did the Kerner Commission have to say about racial tensions in this country?

9. How did the Kerner Commission propose to address these problems?

10. What does the term “police riot” mean and how did it come about?

11. What recommendations did the National Advisory Commission on Standards and Goals issue with respect to combating the crime problem? How did these sugges- tions affect law enforcement?

12. What did the Knapp Commission do?

1. What problems did the Wickersham Commission uncover? 1. What problems did the Wickersham Commission uncover? 1. What problems did the Wickersham Commission uncover? 1. What problems did the Wickersham Commission uncover? 1. What problems did the Wickersham Commission uncover? 1. What problems did the Wickersham Commission uncover? 1. What problems did the Wickersham Commission uncover? 1. What problems did the Wickersham Commission uncover? 1. What problems did the Wickersham Commission uncover? 1. What problems did the Wickersham Commission uncover?

6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission 6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission 6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission 6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission 6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission 6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission 6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission

5. What technological innovation did the Wickersham Commission see as holding 5. What technological innovation did the Wickersham Commission see as holding

3. What problems did the Wickersham Commission discover with police offi cer

6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission 6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission 6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission

5. What technological innovation did the Wickersham Commission see as holding 5. What technological innovation did the Wickersham Commission see as holding 5. What technological innovation did the Wickersham Commission see as holding 5. What technological innovation did the Wickersham Commission see as holding 5. What technological innovation did the Wickersham Commission see as holding

6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission 6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission 6. What shortcomings in police personnel did the 1967 President’s Commission

3. What problems did the Wickersham Commission discover with police offi cer 3. What problems did the Wickersham Commission discover with police offi cer 3. What problems did the Wickersham Commission discover with police offi cer 3. What problems did the Wickersham Commission discover with police offi cer 3. What problems did the Wickersham Commission discover with police offi cer

5. What technological innovation did the Wickersham Commission see as holding 5. What technological innovation did the Wickersham Commission see as holding

3. What problems did the Wickersham Commission discover with police offi cer 3. What problems did the Wickersham Commission discover with police offi cer 3. What problems did the Wickersham Commission discover with police offi cer

5. What technological innovation did the Wickersham Commission see as holding 5. What technological innovation did the Wickersham Commission see as holding

3. What problems did the Wickersham Commission discover with police offi cer R O D D Y , A N T H O N Y 6 9 7 3 B U

50 Part 1 the context of Law enforcement

13. Are grass-eaters less of a problem than meat-eaters in terms of police corruption?

14. What corrupt practices did the Mollen Commission reveal?

15. How does the “code of silence” contribute to the problem of police corruption?

16. Go over some of the recommendations the Mollen Commission made to target police corruption.

17. What organizational deficiencies did the Christopher Report identify as contribut- ing to police misuse of force?

18. What individual deficiencies did the Christopher Report identify as contributing to police misuse of force?

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1. Suppose that city leaders decide to convene a committee that would examine the inner workings of the police department at your college or university. Your job is to devise an outline of topics that the committee should investigate. What would your list look like?

2. One popular position is to argue for better qualifi ed police personnel. Others maintain that police agencies are so understaffed that they need to hire a suffi cient number of offi cers to achieve a critical mass fi rst before they start imposing more stringent entrance requirements and having to raise the starting salary. What posi- tion do you endorse? Why?

3. A cynic might argue that all the blue-ribbon commissions and task forces dis- cussed in this chapter end up making the same basic recommendations. This per- son goes on to say that despite all the talk, law enforcement has not changed very much. In other words, the same problems are still there. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

4. The law enforcement community has incorporated many technological advances into its daily business. With all of these marvelous inroads being made, why is there still a problem with maintaining social order?

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S e L e c t e D I N t e r N e t S I t e S

National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives http://www.

Carolinas Institute for Community Policing

COPS: Community Oriented Policing Services

Community Policing

Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association

International Association of Chiefs of Police

Los Angeles Police Officers’ (Rodney King Beating) Trials

National Archives

National Sheriffs’ Association

Police Assessment Resource Center

Police Executive Research Forum

Police Foundation

Police Magazine

The Police Marksman Magazine

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r e f e r e N c e S Bobb, M.J., Epstein, M.H., Miller, N.H., & Abascal, M.A. (1996). Five years later: A

report to the Los Angeles police commission on the Los Angeles police department’s implementation of independent commission recommendations. Los Angeles: City of Los Angeles.

Christopher, W. (1991). Report of the independent commission on the Los Angeles police department. Los Angeles: City of Los Angeles.

Collins, S.M., & Lieberman, J.I. (2006). Hurricane Katrina: A nation still unpre- pared. Washington, DC: United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Retrieved on April 21, 2012 from pkg/CRPT-109srpt322/pdf/CRPT-109srpt322.pdf

Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and the City’s Anti- Corruption Procedures (1972). The Knapp commission report on police corruption. New York: George Braziller.

Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and the Anti-Corruption Procedures of the New York City Police Department (1994). Commission report. New York: City of New York.

Diaz, J. (2011). Chapter 11.001—Public and internal complaint process. Seattle police department policy and procedure manual. Seattle, WA: Seattle Police Department. Retrieved on January 20, 2012 from SPD_Manual.pdf

Executive Order 11236 (1965, July 23). Federal Register, 30, 9349–9350. Florida Statutes 2011. Guyot, D. (1979). Bending granite: Attempts to change the rank structure of American

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course of change: The Los Angeles police department five years after the Christopher commission. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners.

Kerner Commission (1968). Report of the national advisory commission on civil disor- ders. New York: The New York Times Co.

Kopkind, A. (1969, September 15–22). White on black: The riot commission and the rhetoric of reform. Hard Times, 44, 1–4. Reprinted in A. Platt (1971). The politics of riot commissions, 1917–1970: A collection of official reports and critical essays (pp. 378–391). New York: Macmillan Company.

Lipsky, M., & Olson, D.J. (1977). Commission politics: The processing of racial crisis in America. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.

National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals (1973). A national strategy to reduce crime. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals (1976). Police chief executive: Report on the police chief. Washington, DC: Executive Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

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Olin, W.R. (2006). Chapter 3, section 3.12: Gratuities/discounts. Lawrence, Kansas, police department’s policy manual. Lawrence, KS: Lawrence Police Department. Retrieved on January 20, 2012 from

President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (1967). Task force report: The police. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Raney, K.J. (2011). Chapter 3.28: Personnel early warning system. General orders man- ual. Garden Grove, CA: City of Garden Grove Police Department. Retrieved on January 20, 2012 from

Sherman, L.W. (1978). Scandal and reform: Controlling police corruption. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Stark, R. (1972). Police riots: Collective violence and law enforcement. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co.

Townsend, F.F. (2006). The federal response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons learned. Washington, DC: The White House. Retrieved on April 21, 2012 from http://library.

United States National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (1931a). Report on lawlessness in law enforcement. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

United States National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (1931b). Report on police. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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