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Extended Definition: Policing

Dylan Gresch

Cal State University Fullerton

13 December 2018



Policing: Policing is an action used by the police in order to enact laws upon the public using

specific methodologies, like community oriented policing, in order more effectively enforce

Table of Contents:
1. Etymology
2. Community Policing
3. Conflicts


Policing, especially in the United States, is a practice that the police use in order to en-

force laws and ensure that communities are kept safe. The primary function of the police is to in

fact conduct policing operations within communities. Their ability to conduct successful policing

is an integral part in keeping communities safe. Proper policing includes but is not limited to, en-

forcing basic traffic laws, preventing crime, interacting and receiving feedback from citizens,

and enforcing and following themselves the rules and regulations of the laws within their as-

signed areas. All of these functions are essential in ensuring that crime is prevented and stopped

as well as communities being kept safe.


Policing has long standing roots and has been practiced for centuries by many different

agencies not only in the United States but across the world. The etymology behind the word po-

licing dates back all the way to the 1530’s and comes from the latin word Politia, which means

civil administration (Police 1). The word was first used by the French and English when they

started to establish a force which would regulate its citizens and enforce the laws of the land

upon them. Policing had been known to be conducted way before it started to be called policing


and examples of this date back all the way to

Medieval times. The first actual force that

would conduct specific policing was set up in

England in 1798 and was called the Marine

Police This force was set up to police and

bring civil administration to the area in which

they were tasked. The Marine police’s pri-

Obtained from Time Magazine,
mary goal was to protect the port of London.
In the United States the first organization that was estab-
lished in order to do policing was the US Marshals which

were created in 1789. They to were formed in order to conduct policing operations. This is a sig-

nificant event in police history because before this organization was formed policing was con-

ducted either by the militaries of the time or citizens of the communities.

Community Policing

There are also different specific types of policing for example, community policing. This

style of policing still follows the basic principles of policing but puts more of an emphasis on in-

teraction with and receiving feedback from citizens and communities (Przeszlowski 2). It began

to gain traction in the 1990’s when the Community-Oriented Policing Service, otherwise known

as COP, was introduced and instituted in police departments across the country. This ideology of

policing hopes to strengthen communities and inspire community cohesion in order to help re-

duce crime. It encourages a “police and community” strategy rather than a “police vs commu-

nity” strategy (Policing 1). This strategy of policing is important to note in todays culture in the

United States because rather than cause an extreme shift in crime rates, it changes the view of the


publics perception of the police. This form of policing inspires citizens and makes them more

confident and accepting of the police. It is an effective strategy in that manner and is being de-

ployed across the United States (Przesloswki 3). The graph below gives statistics on community

policing. More specifically the effectiveness of some of the things that departments try and do in

order to further the effects of this method. These tests were done in neighborhoods where minori-

ties make up the majority of the population and the hope was to help better connect officers to

these communities. By doing this they are successfully completing the process of institution of

the method.

Obtained from (Law 2)



Policing today is still changing and becoming more and more refined over time. Due to

criticism from the public in todays world, the change is becoming more frequent and rapid which

in turn is causing the standard way of policing to change. How policing operations are conducted

now may not be the same in 5-10 years. These sudden changes can have both good and bad ef-

fects on methods of policing and the effectiveness of the police force as a whole. This same criti-

cism can also negatively effect police departments if it is not handled in a morally just way and

can easily corrupt a department. This is why it is imperative that only good individuals with

strong integrity are hired so that they are able to do the right thing and react to criticism in a re-

spectful and positive manner. Overall however, and despite a common misbelief of this by the

public, the primary goal of police officers who conduct policing is truly to enforce laws and

strengthen the communities in which they operate through effective and moral policing tactics.


“Policing.” Dictionary.com, Dictionary.com, www.dictionary.com/browse/policing.


“Police (n.).” Index, www.etymonline.com/word/police.

Przeszlowski , Kimbery S. “An Exploratory Assessment of Community-Oriented Policing

Implementation.” MDPI, 28 Feb. 2018.

“Law Enforcement and Violence: The Divide between Black and White Americans.” Law En

forcement and Violence: The Divide between Black and White Americans Issue Brief |

APNORC.org | APNORC.org, www.apnorc.org/projects/Pages/HTML%20Reports/law-



The definition strategies that I used to define the word policing were etymology and ex-

ample. I included the etymology in the 2nd paragraph and the example of community policing in

the 3rd paragraph. I chose to pick these because I felt that the etymology behind the word polic-

ing was imperative to understand in order to get a full grasp on the meaning of the word. I in-

cluded an example of a type of policing because understanding one of the primary goals of the

police and how they execute that goal will help the reader engage more with what the word actu-

ally means and in turn develop a better understanding of it.