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Policing in American Society

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This essay paper will analyze the relationship between the U.S. government and the policing organizations throughout the U.S. and the impact of this relationship on American society as a whole. According to Cowper, the American policing system is not like that of most nations where there is a central police headquarters from where instructions are dispatched to other regions rather it is a fragmented system (Cowper, 2000, p 228-246). This is because America is divided into different states and counties that have their own “governments” and administration centers. In this model, services are provided by the different levels of governance namely; city, county, state and federal. For instance the police structure of New York City is different from that of Los Angeles despite the fact that they are both in one nation. This fragmented policing system is also known as the quasi military style because of their organizational structure which is similar to that of the military.

These “independent” models have had a great impact on how the American police forces interact with the public. According to Bayley, the first positive culture that has been cultivated by the American police is their responsive nature. Most police officers have been trained to serve all people equally and promptly irrespective of their race, social, economic and political status (Bayley, 1998).  In addition to that, the American police are individually held accountable for their actions. This means that if a police officer breaks the law, he/she is shamed individually and not the whole department. The same case applies when rewarding the best performing officers. The last positive impact that the fragmented system has had on the police – public relationship is that it has made it possible for the public to audit and evaluate police records to know if the forces are good a commendable job or not. It is important to note that by adapting to this policing style, the American police force has been able to reduce the levels of crime and maintain order.

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