Police Training and Professionalization

990 Words2 Pages

Even with the increased training and accountability that came with the Peelian model of policing, the next sixty years of policing were dominated by politics. Policing was one large part of the political patronage system, a system where political candidates would reward those citizens who provided support during the election (Roberg et al. 2012). After elections, public officials rewarded individuals by providing them with police jobs. As a result of political pressure, the police were now used as a tool in the political machine’s fight to maintain control (Roberg et al. 2012). The character of police departments would frequently change after every new election. By the turn of the twentieth century, criticism was developing over the ineffective and illegitimate character of local police departments. During this time period, the Progressive Era, many changes were taking place in America. Urbanization was bringing many people to large, increasingly industrial cities of the day. City officials were required to redesign many facets of urban life as cities continued to grow. This atmosphere of reform was also carried over into policing. Roberg et al. argues that the 1920s to 1960s were “probably the most significant period in the development of policing in the United States” (2012). During this time period, the foundations of professionalization were laid down. The reform model of policing dominated police work during this time period (Roberg et al. 2012). This model was characterized by a commitment to base the police-community relationship on law and police policy. It was now understood that police action should not be influenced by politics or personal opinions. To avoid this, police departments were now efficiently and centrally m... ... middle of paper ... ...overty, and psychological issues. By recognizing different situations sooner, they are able to execute the most appropriate course of action quickly. Supporters of police professionalization want to raise police education requirements as the solution. Many support raising the education requirement to a four year degree. Over half of the police officers in Minnesota already have four year degrees. Additionally, some police departments already have strict education requirements, like Arlington, Texas. The Arlington, Texas Police Department has instituted a set of strict hiring standards including the possession of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college by every single police officer (Arlington Police Department 2013). This is quite unique, especially for the state of Texas, which only requires a high school diploma or GED for police licensure.

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