Policing Colonial America Many European law enforcement institutions were transplanted in the colonies. The county sheriff The most important law enforcement official in colonial America was the county sheriff. The sheriff was responsible for enforcing the laws, collecting taxes, supervising elections, and taking care of the legal business of the county government. The sheriff job was reactive —after a citizen filed a complaint or provided information about a crime, the sheriff would initiate an investigation or arrest a suspect. The sheriff did not patrol areas or take other actions that might prevent crime. Fragmentation of law enforcement authority Villages and cities added other law enforcement authorities. In New York City, for example, the mayor, constable, police justices, marshals, and night watch all had some responsibility for protecting the city. The
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course CJ 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '09 term at Texas State.