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Chapter Five History and Structure of American Law


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Title: Chapter Five History and Structure of American Law

Chapter Five History and Structure of American
Law Enforcement
  • After completing this chapter, you should
  • be able to
  • Briefly describe the jurisdictional limitations
    of American law enforcement.
  • Trace the English origins of American law
  • Discuss the early development of American law

  • Describe the major developments that have
    occurred in policing in America.
  • Describe the structure of American law
  • Explain the relationship between the FBI and the
    Department of Homeland Security.
  • Discuss the development and growth of private
    security in the United States.

The Limited Authority of American Law Enforcement
  • The United States has almost 18,000 public
  • law enforcement agencies. The jurisdiction
  • of each agency is carefully limited by law.
  • Law enforcement is also limited by the
  • procedural law derived from U.S. Supreme
  • Court decisions.

  • The right or authority of a justice agency to
  • act in regard to a particular subject matter,
  • territory, or person.

The Limited Authority of American Law Enforcement
  • In comparison with other democratic
  • nations of the world, the United States has
    remarkably more police agencies
  • that operate under far more restrictions on
  • their authority.
  • Like much of the criminal justice system, this
    limited law enforcement model came from England.

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English Roots
  • Our familiar law enforcement system, in
  • which uniformed officers respond to calls for
  • help and plainclothes detectives investigate,
  • developed over hundreds of years in
  • England.

The Tithing System
  • By the twelfth century in England, the
  • practice of resolving disputes privately gave
  • way to a system of group protection, called
  • the tithing system.

Tithing System
A private self-held protection system in early
medieval England, in which a group of ten
families, or a tithing, agreed to follow the
law, keep the peace in their areas, and bring
law violators to justice.
The Tithing System
  • In larger areas, ten tithings were grouped
  • together to form a hundred, and one or
  • several hundreds constituted a shire. The
  • shire was under the direction of the shire
  • reeve.

The shire reeve was assisted by posses.
Shire Reeve and Posses
Shire Reeve
In medieval England, the chief law enforcement
officer in a territorial area called a shire
later called the sheriff.
Groups of able-bodied citizens of a community,
called into service by a sheriff or constable to
chase and apprehend offenders.
The Constable-Watch System
  • The Statute of Winchester, in 1285,
  • formalized the constable-watch system of
  • protection.
  • One man from each parish was selected to be
  • Citizens were drafted as (unpaid) watchmen, and
    were required to come to the aid of a constable
    or watchman who called for help.

The Constable-Watch System
  • A system of protection in early England in
  • which citizens, under the direction of a
  • constable, or chief peacekeeper, were
  • required to guard the city and to pursue
  • criminals.

The peacekeeper in charge of protection in early
English towns.
The Constable-Watch System
  • Two elements of this system made their way
  • to the American colonies
  • The people were the police.
  • The organization of the protection system was

The Bow Street Runners
  • In 1748, a London magistrate named Henry
  • Fielding (best known for his writings,
  • including the novel Tom Jones) founded the
  • first publicly funded detective force in a
  • district of London known as Bow Street.
  • The Bow Street Runners paved the way for a more
    professional response to crime.

The London Metropolitan Police
  • The Industrial Revolution brought a huge influx
    of people into London, and along with them,
    increasing poverty, public disorder, and crime.
  • In 1829, Parliament created the London
    Metropolitan Police, a 1,000-member professional

The London Metropolitan Police
  • The police became known as bobbies or
  • peelers after Robert Peel, the British Home
    Secretary, who had prodded Parliament for their

The London Metropolitan Police
  • The police were organized around Peels
  • Principles of Policing.
  • The London Police were organized according to
    military rank and structure.
  • The police were under the command of two
    magistrates (later called commissioners).
  • The main function of the police was to prevent
    crime by preventive patrol of the community.

Robert Peels Principles of Policing
The Development of American Law Enforcement
  • The United States has more police departments
    than any other nation in the world.
  • Virtually every community has its own police
    force, creating a great disparity in the quality
    of American police personnel and service.

Municipal Police Forces
  • In 1844, New York City created the first paid,
    unified police force in the U.S.
  • Other cities followed suit, creating their own
    police departments, often merely an organization
    of the existing day and night watch.
  • It was not until after the Civil War that police
    forces routinely began to wear uniforms, carry
    nightsticks and even carry firearms.

State Police Agencies
  • Growing populations, as well as the inability
  • of some local sheriffs and constables to
  • control crime, led states to create their own
  • law enforcement agencies.
  • Texas officially created the Rangers in 1835.
  • Pennsylvania established the first modern state
    law enforcement agency in 1905.
  • By the 1930s, every state had some form of state
    law enforcement agency.

Conflicting Roles
  • Americans have never been sure what role they
    want police officers to play.
  • Police have acted as
  • peacekeepers.
  • social workers.
  • crime fighters.
  • public servants.

Community Policing
  • A desire to actually improve neighborhoods
  • led to the modern concept of community
  • policing, which involves
  • A problem-oriented approach aimed at handling a
    broad range of troublesome situations.
  • Greater emphasis on foot patrols.
  • Building a relationship with citizens, so they
    would be more willing to help the police.

Community Policing
  • A contemporary approach to policing that
  • actively involves the community in a working
  • partnership to control and reduce crime.

The Structure of American Law Enforcement
  • American law enforcement agencies are
  • extremely diverse in
  • Jurisdictions.
  • Responsibilities.
  • Employers (hospitals, colleges, transit
    authorities may have their own police).

Public Law Enforcement Agencies in the United
Local Policing and Its Duties
  • If people know a law enforcement agent at all, it
    is probably a local police officer, but it is
    doubtful that even they understand what local
    police officers in America really do, besides
    what they see on television and in movies.

Municipal Police Departments
  • Most police departments in the United States
    employ fewer than 50 sworn officers.

continue on next slide
Characteristics of Local Full-Time Police Officers
Local Police Duties
  • Four categories of local police duties are
  • Law enforcement investigating crime and
    arresting suspects.
  • Order maintenance or peacekeepingcontrolling
    crowds, intervening in domestic disputes.
  • Serviceescorting funeral processions, taking
    people to the hospital.
  • Information gatheringdetermining neighborhood
    reactions to a proposed liquor license,
    investigating a missing child.

Organizational Structure
  • How a police agency is structured depends
  • on
  • The size of the agency.
  • The degree of specialization.
  • The philosophy the leadership has chosen.
  • The political context of the department.
  • The history and preferences of a particular

Organizational Structure
  • Large departments have many specialized
  • departments.

Small departments rarely have specialized departme
nts, or officers trained in complex investigation.
Organizational Structure
  • Police departments are usually organized in a
    military structure. Some people think a military
    structure does not fit police work because the
    work is so varied, and the structure impedes the
    flow of communication.

The Political Context of Policing
  • Police departments are part of larger
  • governments. Municipalities generally
  • operate under one of four forms
  • Strong Mayor-Council.
  • Weak Mayor-Council.
  • City Manager.
  • Commission.

Each style of government varies in the amount of
control citizens have over their leaders,
including the chief of police.
County Law Enforcement
  • A substantial portion of law enforcement work
  • in the United States is carried out by the
  • Sheriffs departments.
  • In 2000, the nation had 3,070 sheriffs
  • employing 293,823 full-time personnel.

continued on next slide
Characteristics of Sheriffs Personnel
County Law Enforcement Functions
  • County sheriff and department personnel
  • perform many functions
  • Investigating crimes.
  • Supervising sentenced offenders.
  • Enforcing criminal and traffic laws.
  • Serving summons, warrants, and writs.
  • Providing courtroom security.
  • Transporting prisoners.
  • Operating a county jail.

Politics and County Law Enforcement
  • Most sheriffs are directly elected and depend
  • on an elected board of county commissioners
  • or supervisors for funding.
  • Sheriffs generally have a freer hand in
  • running their agencies than do police chiefs.

State Law Enforcement
  • State law enforcement agencies provide
  • criminal and traffic law enforcement, and
  • other services particular to the needs of that
  • state government.
  • In 2000, the 49 primary state law enforcement
    agencies (Hawaii has no state police agency) had
    87,028 employees

State Law Enforcement
  • Each state has chosen one of two models for
  • providing law enforcement services

State Police Model
Example Texas Rangers
Highway Patrol Model
Example California Highway Patrol
State Police Model Highway Patrol Model
  • State Police Model

A model of state law enforcement services in
which the agency and its officers have the
same law enforcement powers as local police, but
can exercise them anywhere within the state.
Highway Patrol Model
A model of state law enforcement services in
which officers focus on highway traffic safety,
enforcement of the states traffic laws, and the
investigation of accidents on the states roads,
highways, and on state property.
State Law Enforcement
  • Both state police and highway patrol
  • agencies perform the following services
  • Help regulate commercial traffic.
  • Conduct bomb investigations.
  • Protect the governor and the capitol grounds and
  • Administer computerized information networks for
    the state, which link up with the National Crime
    Information Center (NCIC) run by the FBI.

Federal Law Enforcement
  • Among the best-known federal law
  • enforcement agencies are
  • FBI
  • U.S. Secret Service
  • Treasury Department
  • Drug Enforcement Agency
  • As of June 2002, federal agencies employed
  • nationwide more than 93,000 full-time personnel
  • authorized to make arrests and carry firearms.

Federal Law Enforcement
  • Major differences between federal law
  • enforcement and local and state police are
  • Federal agencies operate across the nation.
  • Federal agencies usually do not have peacekeeping
  • Some federal agencies have very narrow

American Private Security
  • Private security in the United States is a huge
  • enterprise.
  • It has been estimated that twice as many
  • people work in private security as in public
  • law enforcement.

American Private Security
  • Private security employment is often
  • categorized two ways

Contract Security
Example security guards hired for a college
football game
Proprietary Security
Example the security force for a corporations
manufacturing plants
Contract Security Proprietary Security
Contract Security
Protective services that a private security firm
provides to people, agencies, and companies that
do not employ their own security personnel or
that need extra protection. Contract security
employees are not peace officers.
Proprietary Security
In-house protective services that a security
staff, which is not classified as sworn peace
officers, provide for the entity that employs
Private Security Officers
  • In 2002, there were more than one million private
    security officers. A private security officers
    duties vary and depend on the employers
    particular needs.
  • Private security officers may protect
  • Office buildings
  • Parking garages
  • Hospitals
  • Armored vehicles

Reasons for Growth
  • A number of factors have stimulated the
  • phenomenal growth of private security since
  • the 1970s
  • Declining revenues for public policing.
  • The private nature of crimes in the workplace.
    Companies can control and hide crimes by
  • Better control and attention to the problem,
    particularly within a business.
  • Fewer constitutional limitations on the actions
    of private security officers.

Issues Involving Private Security
  • A number of unresolved problems and issues
  • hamper the private security industry
  • Legal status and authority derive from the rights
    of the employer. Private security has few
    constitutional limitations and can be held
    civilly liable.
  • Public policing in a private capacity. Sworn
    officers often work for private companies,
    blurring the lines of responsibility and

continued on next slide
Law Enforcement vs. Security
  • Law Enforcement officers have limited authority.
  • Law Enforcement officers cannot stop anyone.
  • Miranda Warnings needed.
  • Criminal Law
  • Private security has more authority .
  • Private security can interact with anyone at
  • Miranda Warnings not needed.
  • Civil Law

End Chapter Five
  • History and Structure of American Law Enforcement