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7.8A: Police

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    8151
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    The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by the state to enforce the law, protect property, and limit civil disorder.

     

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES

     

    Explain the relationship between the police and the state, differentiating between preventive police and police detectives

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    Key Points

     

    • Preventive police wear uniforms and perform functions that require an immediate recognition of an officer’s legal authority, such as traffic control, stopping and detaining motorists, and active crime response and prevention.
    • Police detectives are responsible for investigations and detective work. “Plainclothes” officers dress in attire consistent with that worn by the general public for purposes of blending in.
    • Specialized units exist within many law enforcement organizations for dealing with particular types of crime, such as traffic law enforcement and crash investigation, homicide, or fraud.
    • In United States constitutional law, police power is the capacity of the states to regulate behavior and enforce order within their territory for the betterment of the general welfare, morals, health, and safety of their inhabitants.
    • Transnational policing pertains to all those forms for policing that, in some sense, cross national borders.
    • INTERPOL is an organization facilitating international police cooperation.

     

    Key Terms

     

    • INTERPOL: Commonly used name for the International Criminal Police Organization, an international organization facilitating police cooperation.
    • Specialized Units: Subdivisions within many law enforcement organizations for dealing with particular types of crime, such as traffic law enforcement and crash investigation, homicide, or fraud.

    The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by the state to enforce the law, protect property, and limit civil disorder. Their powers include the legitimized use of force. The term police is most commonly associated with police services of a state that are authorized to exercise the police power of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Police forces are often defined as being separate from military or other organizations involved in the defense of the state against foreign aggressors; however, gendarmerie and military police are military units charged with civil policing.

     

    Preventive Police and Police Detectives

     

    In most Western police forces, perhaps the most significant division is between preventive police and detectives. Terminology varies from country to country. Preventive police designates the police that patrol and respond to emergencies and other incidents, as opposed to detective services. As the name “uniformed” suggests, preventive police wear uniforms and perform functions that require an immediate recognition of an officer’s legal authority, such as traffic control, stopping and detaining motorists, and more active crime response and prevention. On the other hand, police detectives are responsible for investigations and detective work. Detectives, in contrast to uniform police, typically wear ‘business attire’ in bureaucratic and investigative functions where a uniformed presence would be either a distraction or intimidating. “Plainclothes” officers dress in attire consistent with that worn by the general public for purposes of blending in, but a need to establish police authority still exists.

    Specialized units exist within many law enforcement organizations for dealing with particular types of crime, such as traffic law enforcement and crash investigation, homicide, or fraud. In counter insurgency type campaigns, select and specially trained units of police armed and equipped as light infantry have been designated as police field forces. They perform paramilitary type patrols and ambushes whilst retaining their police powers in areas that were highly dangerous.

     

    Police in the United States

     

    In United States constitutional law, police power is defined as the capacity of the states to regulate behavior and enforce order within their territory for the betterment of the general welfare, morals, health, and safety of their inhabitants. Police power can be exercised in the form of making laws and compelling obedience to those laws through legal sanctions, physical means, or other forms of coercion and inducements. In the United States, concern over such issues has increasingly weighed upon law enforcement agencies, courts, and legislatures at every level of government since the 1960s. Incidents such as the 1965 Watts Riots and the videotaped 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles Police officers and the riot following their acquittal have been suggested by some as evidence that U.S. police are dangerously lacking in appropriate controls.

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    Police: The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been heavily fictionalized in numerous movies and television shows throughout its history. The department has also been involved in a number of controversies, mostly involving racial animosity and police corruption.

     

    Transnational Police

     

    The term transnational policing entered into use in the mid-1990s as a description for forms of policing that transcended the boundaries of the sovereign nation state. Transnational policing pertains to all those forms for policing that, in some sense, transgress national borders. This includes a variety of practices, but cross-border police cooperation, criminal intelligence exchange between police agencies working in different nation-states, and police development-aid to weak, failed, or failing states are the three types that have received the most scholarly attention. The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO), widely known as INTERPOL, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation. It was established as the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) in 1923 and adopted its telegraphic address as its common name in 1956.