Criminal Justice | Introduction to Chapter 4

Criminal Justice: An Overview of the System by Adam J. McKee

Introduction to Chapter 4

For as long as there have been historical records, there has been a need to protect societies from rogue members that would victimize other members of society and violate social norms. For most of human history, the enforcement of social norms (and later laws) fell on the entire group. In other words, people policed themselves. It was not until the Industrial Revolution that people began to turn this task over to the uniformed law enforcement professionals we know as police today.

The police are very powerful members of modern society. They have the authority to deprive members of our society of their liberty. They have a monopoly on the lawful use of force and often use that authority to make arrests and to protect life and property. Problems arise when the public perceives that this power has been abused rather than prudently and lawfully used. Perhaps the biggest issue facing law enforcement today is the public perception that law enforcement officers often abuse their authority when they decide to use force against minorities.

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Last Updated:  06/04/2021


This work is licensed under an Open Educational Resource-Quality Master Source (OER-QMS) License.

Open Education Resource--Quality Master Source License

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