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Historical development . Use of force\SBSO shooting\SBSO shooting Use of force\Devin Brown Use of force\BART shooting\BART shooting Use of force\BART shooting\BART news clip Keystone cops\Keystone cops Riots\Watts 40-yr anniv British cops\Cool British cops. Police and society.

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Historical development l.jpg

Historical development

Use of force\SBSO shooting\SBSO shootingUse of force\Devin BrownUse of force\BART shooting\BART shootingUse of force\BART shooting\BART news clipKeystone cops\Keystone copsRiots\Watts 40-yr annivBritish cops\Cool British cops


Police and society l.jpg
Police and society

  • Social contract  legitimacy

    • Exchange relationship

    • Democratic constraints & accountability

      • Are police tools of dominant class?

  • Unique role

    • Authority to coerce compliance

    • Use of force

    • Discretion

      • Can’t arrest everyone

  • Public attitudes

    • 2008 Gallup poll on American institutions

    • Other polling on police

    • Minorities, especially African-Americans tend to have less favorable attitudes about the police


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LAPD Shooting ofDevin Brown

  • On 2/6/05 an LAPD officer shot and killedDevin Brown at the end of an early-morningpursuit. The 13-year old was driving astolen car. He had been smoking marijuana.

  • Once the vehicles came to a halt, Brownrapidly backed up, striking and damaging the police car.

  • The officer said he fired because he thought that Brownwas trying to crush him. Although the officer drewscorn from residents and the media, a late-comingwitness said that the officer, who had exited his car,was nearly “sandwiched”, leapt out of the way at thelast moment and instantly began firing.

  • On 12/5/05 the L.A. County DA issued a detailed report on the incident. The DA refused to charge the officer, concluding that his use of force was not unreasonable under the circumstances.


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BART police officer shoots,kills unarmed man at Oaklandtransit station

On January 1, 2009 BART officerJohannes Mehserle, 27, shot and killed a22-year old man who was being helddown by several officers following abrawl on a BART train. Although the man, who was on his stomach, was reportedly resisting being handcuffed, the shooting, which was captured by bystanders on cell phone cameras, was clearly unnecessary.

The shooting stirred strong emotions in Oakland and led to demonstrations and several nights of disturbances. According to the Alameda County D.A., murder charges were filed because the killing was unlawful and done purposefully.

Mehserle quickly resigned from the force. He was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder. At his trial, which was held in Los Angeles, he testified that he had meant to draw the Taser but accidentally fired his pistol instead. Jurors convicted him of involuntary manslaughter. [Police Issues 12]


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Early British policing

  • Shire-reeves supervised rural military, police and tax collection

  • Constables had similar duties in urban areas

    • Rotating, unpaid position; well-off paid others to serve

  • Justices of the Peace carried out local judicial functions

    • Issued warrants to be served by Constables and set bail

    • Criticized for being corrupt

  • Social change brought on by urbanization and the Industrial Revolution greatly increased crime but there was opposition to a professional police

    • Harsh sanctions for those caught (223 crimes carried the death penalty)

  • In late 1700’s the Fielding brothers, London magistrates, established the “Bow Street Runners” to fight widespread thievery and prostitution

    • Volunteers, paid rewards by victims

  • In the early 1800’s Colquhoun refined the Fieldings’ theories

    • Recommended a paid, professional police force

  • Concept: Police were to be role models for British society

Sheriff of London


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“Bobbies”

  • London, 1829: First professional, paid police force

  • London divided into 17 precincts, each with a boss,4 inspectors, 16 sergeants and 165 constables

  • Constables wore a uniform and carried a truncheon

  • Rules of the founder, Sir Robert Peelincluded:

    • Military organization and Government control

    • Hiring officers on a probationary basis

    • Careful selection and training

    • Good appearance, moderate temper

    • Keeping records of crime and deploying accordingly

  • Bobbies faced hostility and organized opposition

  • Public support increased as officer behavior grew more moderate

    • Principle that poor quality policing could make disorder worse


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Early American Policing

  • Political framework

    • Republicanism – govt. accountable to all, not just the privileged

    • Preference for local control, power flows up, not just down

  • Imported Sheriff and constable/watchman models from England

    • Like in England, the better citizens resisted service, hired others who proved unreliable

  • During the 1800’s urbanization and industrialization greatly increased urban crime and unrest. Economic depressions struck in the mid and late 1700’s, leading to waves of crime and forcing governments to act

    • 1751: Philadelphia organizes first paid police force

    • January 8, 1828: Watchman Steve Heimer is the first PPD officer killed on duty

  • Major issues

    • Should police wear uniforms? Carry arms? Use force?


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New York PD and the death ofMary Rogers

  • July 1841, New York City: Mary Rogers, anemployee of a cigar store, disappears. Mary’sbody is found floating in a river. Her death wasunsolved but is attributed to a botched abortion.

  • In 1844 her death spurred the establishment of a paid,full-time police force in New York City

    • Patronage positions - selections made by Aldermen in each Ward

    • Chief without real authority over officers

    • Decade before officers uniformed; only ID was copper badge (“coppers”)

    • Major departure from British model: officers carried side arms because criminals were often armed


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Development ofAmerican police

  • Patronage for selection and advancement

    • Chiefs had little authority

    • Political corruption infused decisions

  • Training mostly on the job “war stories”

  • Local control: heavily decentralized, autonomous precincts

  • Rampant police corruption

    • Chiefs and precinct commanders established paymentsystems to allow vice and prostitution

    • Individual officers shook down peddlers and thieves

  • Heavily involved in strikebreaking

  • Community roles – worked soup lines, helped immigrants

    • Closeness a double-edge sword

    • Promoted corruption, interfered with supervision


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The Progressive eraand professionalization

  • During1890-1920 the “Progressives”tried to reform the police & remove itfrom political control

    • Centralized command

    • Better quality officers

    • Narrower mission

    • Civil service

  • Distance officers from citizens to reduce corruption

  • Focus policing on law enforcement

  • Scientific administration (Taylor’s management principles)

    • Develop standard procedures: “routinize” police work

    • Reduce discretion where possible

    • Task specialization: special assignments and units

    • Measure output: quantifiable results (arrests and crime rate)


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Chief August Vollmer –Berkeley PD

  • Bicycle, then motorized patrol

  • Records system

  • Scientific investigation

    • 1920: lie detector

    • 1924: fingerprint system

  • Modus Operandi system (track criminals by their methods)

  • Formal police training

    • 1916: Established UC Berkeley School of Criminology

  • Applicant psychological and aptitude testing

  • Recruit college graduates

  • Against the tide: encouraged police to do social work


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1931 – Wickersham Commission onLaw Observance and Enforcement

  • Spurred by high crime, gang wars, policeabuses (“third degree”) and corruption

  • Recommendations

    • Get politics out of law enforcement

    • Select Chiefs and officers on merit

    • Minimal physical standards

    • Improve salaries and working conditions

    • Good training

    • Professionalize, specialize

      • Hire women

      • Crime prevention and crime investigation bureaus


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The Professional Model:William H. Parker and the LAPD

  • Hired as a patrol officer in 1927

  • 1930’s L.A. was beset by municipalcorruption under the regime of MayorFrank L. Shaw, who was recalled in 1938

  • Parker became Chief in 1950, revamped the Department into the epitome of the “professional model”

    • Dismissed many abusive and incompetent officers

    • Implemented modern organizational principles

    • Imposed rigorous civil-service driven officer selection process

    • Greatly improved training

    • Instilled discipline and esprit de corps


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Urban disorder ofthe 1960’s – 1970’s

  • Urban unrest, including the Watts riotofAugust 1965 led many to question theassumptions of the professional model

  • A series of Government studiessuggested that poor policepractices contributed todisorder and recommendedchanges:

    • More minority officers

    • Higher educational standards

    • Enhance officer training

    • Improve oversight and discipline

    • Focus on community relations


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Criticisms of the professional approach

  • Police agencies are isolated and unresponsive

  • Police have overlooked other obligations to the community

  • Officers have become detached from the citizens they serve

  • Police officers stereotype persons and are careless about using force

  • To-do list

    • Defuse tensions in inner cities

    • Narrow the distance between police and the public

    • Improve police-citizen relations, build trust

    • Share information to learn more about local problems


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Evolution of policing:Community Policing & Problem Solving

  • 1970’s – Team policing

    • Officers as generalists, provide all services in a fixed area

    • Handicapped by lack of investigative knowledge

  • Community meetings

  • Neighborhood police stations

  • Foot and bicycle patrols

  • 1980’s - Community policing

  • 1990’s - Problem-solving approach

  • COPPS (combining the above)

Check this link for a definition of Community Policing


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What “determines” police behavior: police or the environment?

L.E. officers feloniously killed, U.S. & U.K. 1995-2008

U.S.Population: 304 million

U.K.Population: 61 million

5 X

Guns Other Total

  • 62 12 74

  • 57 4 61

  • 68 2 70

  • 58 3 61

  • 41 1 42

  • 47 4 51

  • 61 9 70

  • 51 5 56

  • 45 7 52

  • 54 3 57

  • 50 5 55

  • 46 2 48

  • 55 2 57

  • 35 6 41

    730 65 795

Guns Other Total

2 0 2

0 0 0

3 2 5

0 1 1

0 2 2

0 2 2

0 2 2

0 1 1

1 2 3

0 1 1

1 0 1

0 0 0

1 2 3

0 0 0

8 15 23

34.5 X


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