The field of law enforcement and policing has a rich and venerable history. Policing concepts can be traced to before the Common Era with the earliest versions emerging in ancient China, Greece, and the Roman Empire. The etymology of policing in western civilization can be traced to the days of Sir Robert Peel. English Police Officers or “Bobbies” as they were known wore simple uniforms and carried only a truncheon for protection and defense. Much has changed since the Nineteenth Century to the present day. The field has been in a constant struggle to remain current with the growing complexities presented by evolving laws, rapid technological innovation, social disorder and incivility, and budgetary constraints that must be balanced against providing sufficient, safe, equitable, and responsive public safety.
Law enforcement professionals, who have colloquially been referred to as the gatekeepers, are constructively the first line of defense charged with the responsibility to protect a concept that is held so dearly in the United States; maintenance of a free society. The role of law enforcement officer grows more complex by the day as changes in law, technology, and community response fluctuate in these difficult and tumultuous times. These challenges require very specific knowledge, skills, and abilities to be effective when serving in the role of law enforcement officer for the respective communities they are empowered to keep safe. Core knowledge areas for the profession include the investigative process, crime analysis, community policing and relations, and managerial and leadership skills in order to identify, analyze, and develop responses to the crime and disorder problems plaguing modern society. Responses that ensure both social and procedural justice needs are met in accordance with how the framers of the United Constitution intended.
- Develop a broad understanding of theories, concepts, and practices used in the criminal investigations processes used in the law enforcement field
- Develop a broad understanding of theories, concepts, and practices used in the crime mapping and analysis processes used in the law enforcement field
- Develop a broad understanding of theories, concepts, and practices used in the community policing and public relations processes used in the law enforcement field
- Develop a broad understanding of theories, concepts, and practices used in the law enforcement supervision, management, and leadership processes used in the law enforcement field
- Develop a broad understanding of theories, concepts, and practices used in the integration of these various concepts through the law enforcement subsystem
There is a vast array of careers in the law enforcement field from direct line services through support and administrative roles. For example, uniformed police officers, investigators, supervisors, and managers who are responsible for providing police services. Evidence technicians, crime analysts, administrative support roles such as research and evaluation, recruiting, crime prevention, and public information officers all fall under this ancillary services category. These positions exist at the local, state, and federal levels. These roles also exist in many forms in public and private not-for-profit and for profit institutions. Private investigators, background investigators, civil claims, and accident investigators, public and private security as well as private security contractors. Lastly, the military employs such positions in the myriad roles within all of the branches including military police, investigators, supervisors and command officers.