Ineffi ciency corruption and lack of professionalism

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Ineffi ciency, corruption, and lack of professionalism were the chief results. 21 A Lack of Personnel Standards Police departments in the political era had no personnel standards as we understand them today. Offi cers were selected entirely on the basis of their political connections. Compare these early riots with the urban racial violence of the 1960s. waL11498_ch02_022-057.indd Page 28 11/6/09 1:34:11 PM user-s131 MHSF- NEW/MHSF157/MHSF157-12 Chapter 2 The History of the American Police 29 Men with no formal education, those in bad health, and those with criminal records were hired. There were a few female matrons for the jail, but no female sworn offi cers until the early twentieth century. In New York City, a $300 payment to the Tammany Hall political machine was the only requirement for a job on the police force. 22 In most departments, recruits received no formal preservice training. They were handed a badge, a baton, and a copy of the department rules (if one existed), and then sent out on patrol duty. Cincinnati created one of the fi rst police
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academies in 1888, but it lasted only a few years. New York City established a School of Pistol Practice in 1895, but offered no training in any other aspect of policing until 1909. Even then, a 1913 investigation found it gave no tests and all recruits were automati- cally passed. 23 Police offi cers had no job security and could be fi red at will. In some cases, al- most all the offi cers were fi red after an election. Nonetheless, it was an attractive job because salaries were generally higher than those for most blue collar jobs. In 1880 of- fi cers in most big cities earned $900 a year, compared with $450 for factory workers. Jobs on the police force were a major form of patronage , which local politi- cians used to reward their friends. Consequently, the composition of departments refl ected the ethnic and religious makeup of the cities. When Irish Americans began to win political power, they appointed their friends as police offi cers. When Barney McGinniskin became the fi rst Irish American police offi cer in Boston in 1851, it provoked major protests from the English and Protestant establishment in the city. Many German Americans served as police offi cers in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and St. Louis, where German immigration was heavy. After the Civil War, some African Americans were appointed police offi cers in northern cities where the Republicans, the party of Abraham Lincoln, were in power. Patrol Work in the Political Era Routine police patrol in the political era was hopelessly ineffi cient. Offi cers patrolled on foot and were spread very thin. In Chicago, beats were three and four miles long. In many cities entire areas were not patrolled at all. The telephone did not exist, and so it was impossible for citizens to call about crime and disorder. And with no patrol cars, offi cers could not have responded anyway.
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