P.O. Box 69, Alhambra, CA 91802

Police History


The first modern police department was established in Boston in 1838 followed by the New York’s department in 1845.

Police were not respected by their communities since corruption was continually rampant. In the 1920’s, the invention of the telephone transformed policing to answer calls for service along with the help of the police car and two-way radio. Police began to adopt new technologies with an emphasis on training, professionalizing the job.

Police began to rotate officers from community to community to reduce their vulnerability and established a non-partisan police board to help govern the police force.  A higher police salary was provided to attract professionally qualified officers. Led by highly autocratic leaders, they dealt with felonies and serious crimes, lacking respect from minority communities.

In the 1960’s, they increased their diversity in hiring due to urban unrest. Police departments started using mapping and tracking to see patterns and trends of crimes. Police developed handguns to carry on duty and an off-duty handgun. They carry batons, or a nightstick. Swat teams have specialized weapons which are used to handle certain situations. Police also use body armor to protect the from harm and are now usually lightweight.

There are may different types of police such as Federal, State, County, Sheriff, Municipal, and others. The styles of policing vary as well from watchmen to legalistic to service. At any time, a police officer may be acting as a watchman, legalistic function or service depending on the day, mood, and temperament.

Today, police are subject to specific qualifications, all of which have powers of arrest with their state. Many of these qualifications apply to in-service training, entry level training, use of firearms, and periodic re-certification. Police are also subject to background tests and must be a citizen of the United States. They must have a high school, G.E.D or college degree, be in good physical as well as mental shape, maintain a clean criminal record, not have a record of domestic or mental illness and be legally able to carry a firearm.


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