Police Officer Has Changed Over Time And Where The Future Of Policing Is Heading

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What do we expect our police officers to do? Historically the role of police officer has been recognized as that of a law enforcer, however, in truth the role of police is multifaceted and not easily defined (Bittner, 1974). Overtime police officers have assumed various roles and functions that are often ambiguous and conflicting, leaving officers with mixed messages on what their roles should be (Nowicki, 1998). In order to discuss the myriad of roles police officers assume on a daily basis, it is important to discuss how police organization has changed over time and where the future of policing is heading.
Change has been a constant theme from the beginning of policing history. There are three notable distinct eras that examine the progression of policing strategies: the political era, the reform era, and the community era. The political era beginning in the late 1800s was an organizational strategy aimed at crime control and order maintenance, where as the reform era, which began in the 1930s, focused on crime control and criminal apprehension. During the political era, police agencies were fragmented, decentralized, and relied heavily on political resources. This ultimately led to corruption and the inevitable demise of the political era. With the emergence of the reform era, political ties to police were cut and the strategy focused on maintaining a centralized and government-regulated paramilitary police force. This minimized police discretionary powers that had…

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