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The Role Of Police In American Society

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Overview

From the night watchmen of the 17th century to the highly publicized Rodney King hearings, the history and development of police policy and the role of police in American society are traced through this collection of 95 primary documents. Students, teachers, and interested readers can use this valuable resource to examine the development and role of the police in the United States through the words of the people who were involved in the struggle to enforce laws, uphold the Constitution, maintain safe and stable communities, and create efficient and effective police forces. An explanatory introduction precedes each document to aid the user in understanding the economic, political, social, and legislative forces that helped shape the role of the police in our society.

Riots, strikes, commission reports, innovations, groundbreaking studies, and major court cases from different time periods are presented in a balanced manner. This volume is divided into seven parts, each part representing a different time period in which the roles of the police were being redefined. Vila and Morris present the reader with theories from different professionals on what the role of the police should be and how to develop these roles, as well as presenting successful and unsuccessful models to help readers draw their own conclusions.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Policing deals with central issues of social control. Vila and Bryan (Capital Punishment in the United States: A Documentary History, Greenwood, 1997) have produced a documentary history of policing in America and provide a chronological analysis of "how the issues, concerns, and ideals of police officers, chiefs, reformers, and researchers have changed over time." Their careful selection of important primary documents ranges from early police activities in 17th- and 18th-century America through conflicting expectations of the police role from the 1960s to the present. Each of the seven parts contains a brief introductory essay that outlines main themes found in the 95 documents. Most of these are summarized in two or three pages and represent a variety of viewpoints. This book is part of a series that makes available in one volume key primary documents on a given historical event or contemporary issue. Criminal justice practitioners and professionals can use this to identify key trends, and the general public will gain an understanding of changing police roles in American society. For public and academic libraries.--Steven Puro, Saint Louis Univ. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Traces the history and development of police policy and the role of police in American society through 95 primary documents. Speeches, conference proceedings, news stories, commission reports, and major court cases from different time periods are presented in a balanced manner, in chronological order. An explanatory introduction precedes each document to help readers in understanding the economic, political, social, and legislative forces shaping each document. Includes a chronology, a glossary, an appendix of selected cases, and a list of groups, organizations, and Web sites. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

BRYAN VILA is Associate Professor of Political Science and Administration of Justice at the University of Wyoming.

CYNTHIA MORRIS is a freelance researcher, writer and editor living in Laramie, WY.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword
Preface
Introduction
Significant Dates in the History of the Police in America
Pt. I Night Watchmen, Constables, and Sheriffs: The Role of Early "Police" in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century America 1
Pt. II Rangers, Marshals, and Municipal Police Forces: The Role of the Police in the Nineteenth Century 23
Pt. III Police Reform and Social and Technological Advances in the Early Twentieth Century 73
Pt. IV A Growing Emphasis on Police Training, Professionalism, Efficiency, and Ethics, 1930-1959 131
Pt. V Social Change and Conflicting Expectations of the Police Role, 1960-1978 165
Pt. VI Reexamining and Redefining the Role of the Police, 1979-1989 225
Pt. VII The Role of the Police in the 1990s 255
Glossary 293
App. A Selected U.S. Supreme Court Cases 295
App. B Selected Police-Related Groups, Organizations, and Web Sites 297
Select Bibliography 299
Index 313
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