The development of policing was originally meant to create an organized form of protection to help and protect citizens. Policing goes all the way back to the year of 1829, starting in England where the officers were then called bobbies named after Sir Robert Peel. In the police force there was more than one thousand men, who were paramilitary known as the London Metropolitan Police Department. With it mostly being made up of corrupt officers and resulted in one-third of the bobbies to be dismissed a year. The corruption in the police force caused many issues and didn’t help do the job it was developed to do.
The original policing was used more for maintaining order when it was developing. But with the increasing of crime such as drugs, riots, racial tension and the Vietnam war protest, there became a need for more organized law enforcement. During the Twentieth Century, there was the police professionalism movement that was to reduce political influence and other corruption, to developed professional organizations and to turn the officers into crime fighters. Two of the early reformers were August Vollmer and O.W. Wilson, which had huge influences on the movement and helped it go the way it did.
In the 1990s, there was the start of reforming on the way the police force was enforcing the law. The police began developing relationships with the community to combine patrol and citizen contact by re-adding foot patrol after they took it away years ago. The police began to treat the public citizens more fair compared to the 1960s and became more diverse in the 1990s. Throughout the years, policing became more demanding due to new technology that helped lead to more crime and opened new opportunities for criminals to commit a crime that wasn’t capable of being created years before.
Detective Greg Sheppard, who I recently interviewed has worked in the Columbus City Police Department for twenty and a-half years and is still currently employed. His main reason to get into law enforcement was after he served four years in the army and then decided he wanted to serve his community as a police officer and detective once he returned home from the military. Cases he has worked varied from undercover narcotics, felony assaults, kidnapping, homicides and police involved shootings. I asked him about how he resolved the cases, and he told me “most cases I work are resolved by arrest because I mostly work homicides”. In the interview I also asked him the question of what is his least and most favorite part about being an officer, and detective, he said “my least favorite part is telling a family someone has died, but a possible favorite is to give a family closure”.
The detective loves what he does and ended up telling me that one of his favorite things to do was to figure out why people may do things that they do. He also explained to me that the most occurring crime of where he worked as an officer was “drug sales” because the time he worked on the street it was an upcoming sensation. I asked if the training that he went through at the academy was something that helped him throughout the years of being a police officer and he responded “Yes, because without that I wouldn’t have been as alert and focused as I have been the past years as an officer or even now as a detective”. In the interview, I asked if he has ever been scared as an officer/detective, and he simply told me “Yes, if you don’t have some fear, you will get hurt or get someone else hurt”, which was eye-opening to me because that’s an everyday job that many police officers or detectives do and take on the task at hand being fearful of a situation that may be out of their control and could lead to an event or series of events that could change their lives forever.
As I mentioned in the beginning of how the first police force known as the London Metropolitan Police Department was made up of more than a thousand men, Detective Sheppard printed out a sheet of sworn personnel statistics of The Columbus City Police Department, and it showed that in the division of police it had around one-thousand eight hundred and seventy-five police officers. In the early times of policing, officers were only supposed patrol around areas without being enforcers of the law but acted more as peacekeepers. Detective Shepard stated that the role of officers these days are to be law enforcers, community oriented and problem solvers. Then and now were very different times, which shows the changes between early and modern technology and intelligence.
Interviewing the detective helped me get an insight on how the policing is really done, and the impact they have on everyday life of the citizens as well as the things officers and detectives go through on a daily basis. I was interested in the facts that he told me and having an in depth conversation with someone that had been in both the military and law enforcement gave me the kind of thought process I need to know on how to decide on which route I should take later down the road after college. He mostly emphasized the importance of what the law enforcement stands for and on how they work to help the community be a safer place. Towards the end of our interview I asked him “what is the biggest advice you would give to a criminal justice major?”, and he responded “Always try to get the most information before passing judgement, because the first bit of information you get will change the more you as questions”. That being said, what I believe he meant when he said that was, whatever someone first may think or get the impression of, may not be the correct thing in the end because the more questions that are asked, the more things seem to change.
- Siegel, L. J., & Worrall, J. L. (2016). Essentials of criminal justice (Tenth ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage., pgs. 85-151.