Criminal Justice POL 217

Learning Goal: I’m working on a criminal justice question and need the explanation and answer to help me learn.

part 1) The events of 2020 have brought increased attention to the police as an institution and its historical legacy. As your textbook and other sources mention, much of the history of the police is as an instrument of social control including Slave Patrols before the civil war, and during the 19th and 20th century to control and suppress immigrants, organized labor, and other voices of dissent. Read the article in the New Yorker and listen to the Throughline-NPR Podcast on the History of Policing.

  • The Invention of the Police. The New Yorker.
  • Podcast THROUGHLINE: American Police. NPR. June 4, 202012:08 AM ET

Pick two or three things that you learned or found interesting about the history of American policing from these sources and respond to the following question: Given the problematic history of American policing, how can these institutions change and become representative of modern society?

part 2) What was the Kansas City Gun Experiment of 1995? How did this change the popular conception about police’s ability to address violent crime in the early 1990’s? What do the authors mean by “displacement” of crime? What were the implications of this popular study for policing and how did it influence police tactics in New York along with broken windows policing?

part 3) Chapter 5 in your textbook talks about three eras of policing; the Political Model, the Professional Model, and the Community Policing Model. Here is a valuable brief sketch of these Eras that supplements your textbook – . It mentions that each model emerges due to structural changes such as civil service reform, technology, the social upheavel of the 1960’s and 1970’s, an increase in crime during the 1980’s 1990’s crime wave, its subsequent decrease under the “Great American Crime Decline”, ect. With recent events and the ongoing discussion about police reform in the wake of George Floyd’s death, we may mark yet another shift in eras of policing.

Michael White also talks about changes in the NYPD and its Crime Control Strategy from 1970’s-2009.

  • What are the major eras of change in the NYPD? WHy did these changes occur? What was arguably the most important change in the 1990’s? (hint- the podcast from week 1 Reply All (Gimlet) The Crime Machine Parts 1 )
  • Briefly outline the three eras of policing and explain why each new era emerged. What role did technology play in this evolution? What three technologies were most important for the transition to professional policing? Why did the professional policing model begin to fail by the 1970’s?
  • The “Political Era” of policing is often lamented because police officers often intervened directly on behalf of local political leaders to suppress votes, harass opponents, and interfere in elections. This is still the case in many countries where police are involved in the political process. The reforms of the “Professional Era” such as implementing civil service reform and strong police unions were meant to decrease local political control over police, but some now argue that these same reforms made police entirely unaccountable to communities and their leaders. Do you believe that it is possible to have effective community control over police without them becoming “political police” again?
  • Are we transitioning to a 4th era of policing? Did we ever enter the era of “community policing?” Why or why not?