PART 3: FATHERLAND, MOTHERLAND, HOMELAND: THE ORIGINS OF A POLICE STATE WITHIN THE UNITED STATES
SUBPART 3: THE HISTORY OF POLICING IN AMERICA: AN INTRODUCTION
The militarization and federalization of police forces is not a recent occurrence. It isn’t a singular event. And, it isn’t an anomaly. It’s a calculated strategy through which the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), Defense (DOD) and Justice (DOJ) on behalf of powerful, secretive, sinister, ruthless forces both within the United States and outside it seek to undermine the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and bring an end to our Republic. Once the Second Amendment of our Bill of Rights topples, the other Nine Amendments will fall of their own accord. In the absence of our sacred Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution will have lost a crucial leg upon which the very structure of our free Republic stands. Never, since its inception in the 18th Century, has the Bill of Rights suffered a more ferocious assault upon its sacred principals than in the 21st Century – hardly an Age of Enlightenment.
WHAT PROOF EXISTS THAT POWERFUL, SECRETIVE, RUTHLESS FORCES ANTITHETICAL TO OUR FREE REPUBLIC EXIST; THAT THEY HAVE CONSPIRED TO DESTROY OUR BILL OF RIGHTS, AND, ONCE HAVING ACCOMPLISHED THAT TASK, SEEK TO DISMANTLE OUR SOVEREIGN NATION STATE?
You may have heard of the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, among others. The mainstream media (MSM) won’t talk about these groups. The MSM won’t investigate the aims and goals of these groups. The MSM won’t discuss how these groups work secretly to coordinate foreign and domestic policies; how these groups manipulate public perception; how these groups manufacture lies; how these groups infiltrate the institutions of this Country. The MSM won’t discuss these matters at all, won’t even mention them. The MSM won’t do this because the MSM is an instrument of these groups.
Still, the public can obtain an inkling of the machinations of these groups: the strategies they employ to control society: the arsenal of destruction.
One strategy is the militarization and federalization of the police forces in this Country.
WHAT PROOF EXISTS THAT POLICE FORCES ACROSS THE COUNTRY REALLY ARE MILITARIZED AND FEDERALIZED OR, AT LEAST, ARE RAPIDLY BECOMING MILITARIZED AND FEDERALIZED?
In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, held a public hearing on September 9, 2014. Representatives of DHS, DOD, and Department of Justice (DOJ) offered testimony. Police use of military equipment was the subject of the hearing. The topic of the hearing may seem banal. The import of it isn’t. Apart from “SWAT” teams – the creation and purpose of which raises some interesting issues of its own – why, generally, would rank and file police officers, operating in thousands of police forces across the Country, need military equipment: sniper rifles, night vision goggles, armored vehicles, fully automatic weaponry, military uniforms and military armor?
Today, the subject of militarization and federalization of police in American society is viewed alongside discussions of police brutality, race relations, “broken windows” theory, Fourth Amendment privacy rights, and Fourth Amendment privacy concerns – matters that reflect and encompass policing strategies, theories, philosophies, and topics of recent vintage, extending from the mid-twentieth century, through the first decade of the 21st – up to this very moment.
But, to understand how we got to this point we must grasp the historical role and function of police in American society. For, you shall see, the militarization and federalization of civilian police forces is not simply a matter of discerning changes in police equipment. It is more – much more.
HOW DID WE GET FROM THERE TO HERE?
It may seem a trifling matter, even quaint, to ask this question. After all, every community in America has a police department of some kind and, seemingly, always had a police department. The public accepts concepts such as ‘State police power,’ ‘police departments,’ ‘policing,’ and ‘police officers’ as “givens,” without need for definitive explication or even a cursory explanation.
But, if you stop to think about it – really stop to think about it – you begin to realize the need to ask this question and a slew of other questions — questions the MSM does not ask and does not investigate and, so, does not try to answer.
Why do we have police officers and police departments at all? What is their purpose in society? How did they come to be? How did the concept of ‘police power’ come into being? Does the ‘police power’ reside only in the individual States? Or, does the ‘police power’ also reside with the Federal Government? If that power only resides in the individual States, how did that power come to be transferred to the Federal Government? Was it through subterfuge? Did the individual States willingly sell their “soul” to the Federal Government in exchange for military hardware? To whom do the police agencies of the individual States really answer? What was the role of policing in colonial America? Did the public itself serve, at one time, as “the police?” If so, at what point did policing transform into an independent segment or organ of society and why? What was the original function of policing in American society? What was policing supposed to accomplish? Once policing became a unique profession, whom did the police serve? How did policing evolve? What is the function and role of the police today? Is the primary role of the police today one of protecting the public from transgressors? Or, is the primary role of police one of protecting certain wealthy, powerful segments of the society against the public, where the public is itself deemed, inherently, to be the transgressor or, at least, deemed to be a potential transgressor?
Policing, ultimately, is about control: control of the masses. And control of the masses is the sine qua non of the “Police State.”
But, is this hypothesis true? To test this hypothesis we must take a close look at the history of policing.
We begin with a look at policing in Colonial America.
DID POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND POLICE OFFICERS EXIST IN COLONIAL AMERICA?
The answer is, “no.” There were no police departments in the colonies or early States. In fact, there were no professional law enforcement officers. The peace officer, most commonly a constable, was usually a low status ‘freeman’ pressed into a tour of duty for a year. He was not paid a salary; rather, he was a part-time officer who received small fees for performing various services, probably while attempting to maintain his usual occupation. Although constables in some cities might have been loosely organized under a ‘high constable,’ and might have been augmented by a nightwatch, peace officers were not numerous; the usual pattern was one constable for each parish, ward, or similar local jurisdiction. Thus, the constable often depended on the assistance of bystanders to execute an arrest – in fact, the constable’s authority to command the assistance of others may have been the most distinctive attribute of his office. Constables were expected to preserve order by keeping an eye on taverns, controlling drunks, apprehending vagrants, and responding to ‘affrays’ (fights) and other disturbances but they were not otherwise expected to investigate crime. Instead, the mobilization of criminal justice depended almost entirely on private initiation of criminal prosecutions. Except for homicides, which might be inquired into by a coroner’s inquest or grand jury, the initiation of arrests and searches commenced when a crime victim either raised the ‘hue and cry’ or made a sworn complaint. How and how often (if at all) the hue and cry was used in late eighteenth-century America is not well understood, but it appears to have been reserved primarily as a response to ‘fresh’ crimes, especially robbery and escapes.”
In the earliest days of the Republic the duty of policing resided in the public. The public took responsibility for law and order. “The evolution of American policing was a slow and selective process.” “Evolving Strategies: A Historical Examination of Changes in Principle, Authority and Function to Inform Policing,” Julia E. Scott, Police Journal 83 2 (June 2010). The process was slow and selective because the public feared centralized power and control. “The unification of the English colonies as an independent nation in the West brought a greater need for communal security, and heightened the necessity for a governing authority and laws with which to maintain order, than prior to America’s autonomy. Ratification of the United States Constitution offered a well-defined Federal influence, administered through three branches of government, executive, legislative, and judicial, and provided the central authority necessary to administer justice. In the United States, the laws and ‘elaborate machinery’ needed to enforce them had not yet been tested; thus law enforcement was administered in the only manner with which citizens were familiar: the parish-constable system.” Id.
The rise of the professional police officer and the rise of centralized police departments – the modern police system – replacing the informal parish-constable system – was a development, oddly enough, owing much to the philosophy of policing in English society. “American policing is generally ascribed to an Englishman, Sir Robert Peel.”
“Appointed as the British Home Secretary, Peel introduced the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829. The Act was designed to reform the antiquated parish-constable system of policing that had failed to effectively repress the rising incidence of violent and property crime in England.” Peel is considered the father of modern policing. Peel’s philosophy of policing is codified in a set of 26 principles. They are:
- Absence of crime best improves police efficiency
- Principle objective is crime prevention
- Organization must be stable, efficient, military-like
- Police headquarters centralized
- Establishment of rank with assigned duties
- Separation of police management from judiciary
- Modification of system to meet local needs
- Creation of a divisional reserve
- Police records are necessary (to allot divisional strength)
- Recruits hired on a probationary basis
- Police applicants to be judged on their merits
- Police should be even-tempered; a quiet determined manner
- Each officer will be assigned a number
- Proper training is the root of police efficiency
- Strict discipline of officers will ensure high behavioral standards
- Deployment by shift and beat
- A “beat card” will be issued to each officer
- Promotions will be filled from lower-rank officers
- Good appearance commands respect
- Distribution of crime news is essential
- Power of police depends on public approval
- To maintain public respect police must secure public cooperation and obey laws
- Public cooperation diminishes proportionately with police use of physical force
- To preserve public favor, police must demonstrate impartial service for the law
- To maintain a relation with the public that denotes the police are the public and the public are the police
- Daily reporting of police activity
As you can see, Peel’s list includes several administrative mechanisms, normative values, and, perhaps most revealing, a military structure.
What we have today – the militarization and federalization of police – is not, then, a creature that just happened suddenly and mysteriously. Its seeds were planted over 180 years ago. The fear that Americans have today over the increasing power of police forces in American society echo those of Americans and the English, too, almost two centuries ago.
In the next installment we will continue our investigation into the roots of the modern policing and the rise of the Police State.Copyright © 2014 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour) and Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.