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Before 1066: England – There was no centralized law enforcement of court system. Citizens kept the peace among themselves

1066: Norman Conquest – Norman courts were established in England

1285: England – Watch and Ward police system in operation

1625-1649: England – Cruel punishment for crime imposed by King Charles I

1631: Unpaid watchmen and constables patrolled Boston at night

1653-1658: England under military rule – law enforcement was oppressive

1658: NYC established a paid watch at night

1682: Philadelphia appointed constables

1748: England – Henry Fielding was appointed Magistrate of Bow Street. He established the country’s first detectives – the “Thief Takers.”

1749: Philadelphia began a paid watch at night

1789: U.S. Marshals Office established in U.S.

1792: one of England’s first police reformers/administrators, Patrick Colquhoun, was appointed as a London magistrate

1803: Cincinnati established a non-paid night watch

1810: Paris – The Paris Police Department or Surete is born. Vidocq is appointed its chief

1823: The Texas Rangers are established

1828: The Police Gazette is published in England

1829: The beginning of Scotland Yard

1830: The beginning of the first police reform in the U.S.

1833: Philadelphia established its first daytime policing
------ Cold Bath Fields Riot in London

1835: Charles Dickens published Bleak House – he makes popular the concept and term “detective”

1836: U.S. Post Office established Special Agents

1842: First plainclothes detectives at Scotland Yard

1843: Edgar Allen Poe published his story, "Murder in the Rue Morgue"

1844: NYPD became the first preventative police force in the U.S.

1846: Boston created the first U.S. detective bureau

1849: A city marshal was appointed in San Francisco

1837-1900: England – Police used no scientific crime detection methods

1850-1860: Police brutality in U.S. at a high point

1850: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department founded

1852: New Orleans and Cincinnati started preventative police forces run by chiefs of police

1855: Boston’s paid watch turned into the Boston Police Department

1856: New York was first city in U.S. to uniform its police

1860: Chicago Police Department established its first detective squad

1865: U.S. Secret Service was organized
------ Massachusetts formed its state police

1867: Cleveland Police Department began photographing arrestees

1869: Los Angeles established a police department

1870-1895: Era of legendary sheriffs in the American west

1870-1895: Police corruption in large U.S. cities

1872: First police strike in London

1873: North West Mounted police of Canada formed

1882: NYPD established its detective bureau

1884: Allan Pinkerton died. He was the first detective in U.S., pioneered the idea of criminal records, his was the first company to fight crime interstate, and he started the first contract guard service in the U.S.

1886: Thomas Byrnes, Chief of Detectives, NYPD, published Professional Criminals of America

1888: England – Watches were slowly being replace in cities other than London

1889: Philadelphia began its mounted patrol with 93 horses

1891: William J. Burns became a Secret Service Agent

1892-1895: Parkhurst Crusade and the Lexow Hearings were conducted in NYC

1893: An organization later named the International Association of Chiefs of Police formed

1895: Paris police established a dog force in response to the growing problem of street gangs

1898: A police academy was opened in New Zealand

1899: The police department in Ghent, Belgium started the first successful European canine unit

1905: The Pennsylvania State Police were created

1906: The Philadelphia Police Department began using motorcycles

1907: Bugging devices had been developed and were being sold to private and public police
------ NYPD was first American police agency to use police dogs

1908: The Bureau of Investigation was created as a Justice Department investigative agency
------ The jurisdiction of the U.S. Secret Service was restricted

1909: August Vollmer was appointed chief of police, Berkeley Police Department

1911: Denmark – The first uniformed policewoman was hired

1914: The Berkeley Police Department formed the first juvenile division in the U.S.

1915: U.S. – by this time there were 204 police departments in the country under civil service

1917: The Berkeley Police Department equipped its entire patrol with automobiles

1920: A large police dog training academy was opened in Germany

1921: William J. Burns was appointed the 4th Director of the Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

1924: J. Edgar Hoover was appointed the 5th Director of the Bureau of Investigation
------ Bureau of Investigation established its fingerprint division

1926-1928: Police radio communications developed during this period

1927: D’Autremont Case – U.S. – police disseminated 3 million photographs to locate 3 fugitives

1928: Cincinnati Police Department created a centralized bureau of criminal records
------ The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) created a new system of crime classification

1929: August Vollmer, on leave from the Berkeley Police Department, taught police administration at the University of Chicago. He returned to Berkeley in 1931
------ By this time, the U.S. was employing 2,836 Special Prohibition Agents to enforce the Volstead Act

1930: August Vollmer and Dean John Wigmore of Northwestern University Law School, helped start the first U.S. college criminal justice program at San Jose State College

1930: Elmer L. Irey, head of intelligence division, IRS, begins his tax evasion investigation of Al Capone
------ The Federal Bureau of Narcotics established under the directorship of Harry J. Anslinger
------ Detective “Camera-Eye” Sheridan of the NYPD was a the top of his career

1931: The Wickersham Commission studied the American criminal justice system
------ By this time, 31 states had established fingerprint bureaus

1932: August Vollmer retired from the Berkeley Police Department to teach at the University of California
------ The Traffic Safety Institute was started at Northwestern University

1933: Bureau of Investigation started compiling crime statistics for the Uniform Crime Reports

1934: Bureau of Investigation Agents were authorized to carry guns and make arrests
------ The Bureau of Investigation had 4,800,000 fingerprints on file, the largest collection in the world
------ There were 500,000 sworn police officers in the U.S.

1935: The Bureau of Investigation was renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation
------ Thomas E. Dewey was appointed Special Prosecutor and started his organized crime investigation in New York City
------ The FBI National Academy was started
------ O.W. Wilson, Chief of Police, Wichita, Kansas Police Department, started the first police cadet program in the U.S. Wilson became one of the major spokesmen for police professionalism in the U.S.

1936: Michigan State University established a 4-year B.S. program in Police Administration
------ August Vollmer published an important book on police administration
------ Congress authorized funds for vocational training in law enforcement
------ The Metropolitan police in London established its first police dog unit

1938: August Vollmer retired from the University of California.

1939: By this time all U.S. cities over 250,000 had police departments with traffic divisions

1942: John J. O’Connell was appointed chief inspector, NYPD

1946: Interpol was established near Paris

1948: Canine units reduced mugging and purse-snatching in Hyde Park

1949: Chief Fire Marshal of NYC, Thomas P. Brody, retired after investigating over 100,000 fires

1950-1959: Most police administrators in the U.S. were primarily concerned with police professionalism and integrity

1950: William H. Parker was appointed chief of the LAPD. Parker was a major spokesman for police professionalism.
------ O.W. Wilson published, Police Administration, a major work in the field
------ The Senate Kefauver Committee investigated organized crime
------ The FBI initiated its “10 most wanted list” program

1952: The California Commission on Peace Officers and Training was organized

1954: The LAPD constructed a large police training complex and academy at Sacramento

1955: August Vollmer died.

1956: Charles E. O’Hara published his college text, Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation
------ The FBI’s Identification Bureau had 140 million fingerprints

1957: Senator John L. McClellan’s Rackets Committee began its organized crime hearings
------ The Baltimore Police Department was the first in the U.S. to establish a successful canine unit

1958: Peter J. Pitchess was elected Sheriff of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office
------ American Hugh C. McDonald (LAPD) invented the “Identi-Kit”
------ American Peter Smith (NYPD) invented the “Imagemaker”
------ Philadelphia was one of the first cities to establish a police civilian review board

1960-1969: Police administrators in the U.S. were concerned with police-community relations

1960: There were major police scandals in Chicago, Denver and Buffalo
------ In Britain, one half of the police departments were using police dogs

1964: There was a major police scandal in Indianapolis

1965: The President’s Commission on Law Enforcement, under President Johnson, was formed

1967: The FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer system became operational
------ Hugh C. McDonald retired from the LAPD

1968: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics and other federal agencies were reorganized into the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
------ Pursuant to am American court decision, police officers could be forced to take a lie detector test in an internal affairs investigation
------ The U.S. created the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA)
------ The Texas Rangers were divided into three branches

1970-1979: In the U.S., police administrators were concerned with more efficient crime control

1970: By this time there were, in the U.S., over 80 police departments with canine units

1971: The Knapp Commission disclosed rampant police corruption in the NYPD

1972: The Kansas City patrol study cast doubts on the crime prevention effectiveness of police patrols
------- J. Edgar Hoover died, thus ending a 48 year era in FBI history

1973: The Rand Corporation conducted a study on criminal investigative procedure which questioned the investigative effectiveness of the U.S. police

1976: Storefront sting operations launched by several local and federal police agencies were successful measures against fences and thieves

1977: The Houston Police Department was the last big city police department to form an internal affairs unit

1979: The Guardian Angels were formed in New York City by Curtis Sliwa
------- By this time there were 177 arson task forces operating in the U.S.

This page was last updated on: Monday, January 14, 2008

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A. James Fisher
Dept. of Political Science & Criminal Justice, 146 Hendricks Hall
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA 16444
e-mail: jfisher@edinboro.edu blog: http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com