Dr. Virginia Jeronimus
30 August 2008
Discuss the historical development of American Policing
The development of law enforcement in colonial America was similar to that of England during the same time period. Law enforcement in colonial America was considered a local responsibility. As in England, the colonies established a system of night watch to guard cities against fire, crime, and disorder. In addition to night watch systems, there were sheriffs appointed by the governor and constables elected by the people. These individuals were responsible for maintaining order and providing other services. Nalla and Newman have described the following problems plaguing colonial cities that were considered the responsibility of police: controlling slaves and Indians; maintaining order; regulating specialized functions such as selling in the market and delivering goods; maintaining health and sanitation; managing pests and other animals; ensuring the orderly use of vehicles; controlling liquor, gambling, vice, and weapons; and keeping watch for fires.
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