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Law enforcement in the United States

Law enforcement in the United States has a rich and varied history. Although most people are familiar with the ôboys in blueö who patrol the nationÆs neighborhoods, many are utterly ignorant of the role military police play in enforcing the laws of our nation. Military and civilian police forces around the country perform similar tasks for different constituents. However, with the advent of domestic terrorism rising in recent years, the lines differentiating the military police from the civilian police have started to blur. As civilian police forces become increasingly militarized, it is important to explore the differences and similarities between civilian and military police forces and what their goals are. In the end, both military and civilian police forces have one mission: to provide for the safety of the citizens of the United States.

Any exploration of military and civilian police forces needs to start with an analysis of their respective histories. Law enforcement in America has its roots in British common law. When the settlers arrived in the New World, they brought with them many of EnglandÆs laws and institutions. Chief among these was the British system of law-enforcement, which was comprised of a Constable who oversaw the law and a group of night watchmen who patrolled a townÆs streets during the night. In 1833, Philadelphia started a 24 man daytime police force to augment its 120 night watchmen, and our modern conception of round-the-clock policing was born. By 1870, almost every major American city had a full-time police force in place (Doerner, 12). The reason behind this expansion of the police forces was the need to provide the security and peace-of-mind required by the average citizen. As urban areas grew and immigrants poured into the country from far and wide, it was necessary to institute some form of social control to ensure that each citizenÆs rights were maintained (14). The roots of...

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Law enforcement in the United States. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:04, February 22, 2017, from