The Role Of Police In American Society

Hardcover (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 30%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $9.95
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 86%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (12) from $9.95   
  • New (3) from $66.55   
  • Used (9) from $9.95   


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.

Read More Show Less

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.
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 (
Read More Show Less

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.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Series Foreword
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
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)