Is Diversity an Issue Within Law Enforcement From the Past to Present?

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The term diversity refers to the condition of being diverse; thus, “composed of distinct forms or qualities” (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2004). Looking back at the history of the U.S., there has always been a diverse population in many jurisdictions. But did policy agency workforces mirror this diversity of the communities they served? When in the past the issue of diversity within law enforcement was at stake, where the same measures used today the same as the in the past?

The U.S’s law enforcement mores originate from the English Law Enforcement. When the U.S. came into being with the endorsement of the Constitution, the twofold sovereignty of state and democracy required the designation of distinct officers to represent the authority of the federal courts. Thus, in 1789, the Congress created appointive positions of federal marshals which became more operative after the Civil War. Their main work was to preserve law and order. However, not all marshals were under the federal but some belonged to the city and towns. Marshals for the town and city were allotted by a mayor or city council and worked as local police. Modern law enforcement began in 1845 when New York City created a single police force by merging day and night watches parallel to the model of the London Metropolitan Police. This resulted in many U.S. cities following in the steps of New York City (“Meting Law Enforcement’s Responsibility”, 2001).

During the early years in the founding of the country, the U.S. was an emblem of diversity comprising of many nationalities such as Italians, Europeans, Germans, Eastern European Jews, and Irish, amongst others, there was persistent dissimilarities between the demographic shape of law enforcement branche...

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Major Cities Chiefs Association Critical Issues Study Group. (2001). Meeting Law Enforcement’s Responsibilities: Solving Issues of Today. Retrieved Jan 24, 2012, from

National Center for Women & Policing. (n.d.). A Division of the Feminist Foundation. Retrieved Jan 26, 2012, from

Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST). (n.d.) Cultural Diversity Program. Retrieved Jan 26, 2012, from

Shusta, R. M., Levine, D. R., Wong, H. Z., Olson, A. T., & Harris, P. R., (2010). Multicultural Law Enforcement: Strategies for Peacekeeping in a Diversity Society. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2004). Diversity. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

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