Determining the Mission of the Police

Arvind Verma, Indiana University
Louise Westmarland, University of Leicester
Dilip Das, State University of New York

We explore the mission of American police as based on the history, tradition, and values of America. We note that the original vision of the American police was anchored in a few basic tenets of ideology. The sources of these value-shaping influences are primarily three: The Bill of Rights, the Metropolitan model of 1829, and the Service Tradition of Anglo-American police. Each of these historical landmarks has made its unique contribution to the philosophy, moral character and idealistic underpinning of American police. Therefore, these value-oriented dimensions can be regarded as the basic constructs of police ideals in America. We also observe that the formative influences on American police ideals are English and European in origin. Accordingly, our interest lies in examining the basis of police mission in other countries also. One of us is examining the tenets of English policing and we also compare these ideals with literature from France, Japan, India and some African countries. Hence our paper describes the mission of the American police in terms of the ideals of this country and then compares with those from some foreign countries.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006