« AnteriorContinuar »
colony has its socialist paper printed in the language of the colony,
has its branch organizations which are informed Socialist
of the efforts of the other branches in all parts Propaganda an Example
of this country and Europe and feel the inspira
tion which comes with being a recognized part of a large organization. As a result of this activity our newcomers are hearing little but destructive denunciation of existing conditions and many good Americans are wondering why there are so many socialists among the foreign born. Trade Unions have recognized the necessity of working in the same way, and locals whose meetings are conducted in Italian, Polish or Yiddish are not uncommon.
Organizations among these people permanent in character which would be ready to take up the next issue when or before the last one has been settled are very much needed. These organizations should be received into the fellowship of such leagues as this and encouraged and fostered by our city clubs as the local foreign trade unions are by their central body. Intelligent leaders among the foreigners themselves could be found and much honest misdirected enthusiasm for the cause might be utilized. If, in such an affiliation between the American and naturalized American, respect for the political experiences of the people in both were encouraged other good would result. Little by little we might come to believe that our Anglo-Saxon ancestors did not possess a monopoly of all political wisdom and our community life might become richer by an appreciation of the contribution which others among us might make.
The Control of Police.
AUGUSTUS RAYMOND HATTON, CLEVELAND,
Professor of Political Scieace, Western Reserve University. Until recently the major portion of the strength which has gone into the organized movement for better municipal conditions has been employed in the effort to regain for our cities some of the elemental rights of local self-government. This preliminary struggle for home rule is not yet at an end but it has reached a stage where we can safely say that what remains to be done is merely to press the advantage which has been gained. Henceforth a larger amount of attention can be given to working out the details of the city problem in conformity with the general principles now so widely accepted. In this respect, indeed, some notable work has already been done. For example, several years ago the
. National Municipal League began its discussion and investigation of municipal accounting. The result can now be traced in the widespread improvement of our city governments in that particular. There is reason to believe that like results could be achieved for other departments of city government by an application of similar methods. It is hoped that this paper may be the beginning of such a consideration of the police problem that ultimately a program for police control and organization may be proposed to our American cities.
The term police is used now-a-days with a wide variety of meanings. One writer has said that it may include “all the var
ious expedients employed by society to induce Police Defined
its members to acquiesce in the arrangements that tend to promote public security". In that sense a study of the police problem would involve a considerable sphere of legislative activity, a large portion of the judicial system as well as the executive organization for law enforcement. On the other hand, in every-day usage, the word is employed to designate what in England is called the constabulary and with us the police force. It is proposed in this paper to deal with one phase of the police question in this narrower, practical sense.
The most superficial knowledge of municipal conditions makes clear the paramount place which the police question occupies among the problems of city government. In the story of American municipal failures the police department has usually played a prominent part. As it has been so is it now. At the present time the police are more often the subject of complaint and of charges of inefficiency, corruption and political oppression, than any other branch of the city government. In so many instances
investigation has proved the truth of these Importance of
charges that the normal attitude toward the the Police
police is one of suspicion. Considering the Problem
place which the police must occupy in our municipal life, the situation may well be considered dangerous. Of all departments of the city government that of police comes in closest contact with the daily life of the people. To the rank and file the policeman is the exemplar of our governmental system; "he is a reality that the most ignorant can comprehend, and upon his impartiality, efficiency and intelligence depends the estimation in which the law is held by the masses.” It is not too much to say that the police, more largely than any other organ of government, influence public and private morality and fix the standard of civic ideals. For this reason alone the creation of a trustworthy and efficient police is one of the most important tasks confronting the modern city.
The police problem, in the sense that the term is here used, may be divided for convenience into three parts: (1) The control of police. (2) The organization of the police force, including such matters as recruiting, training, discipline and distribution of the force. (3) Police duties. The question as thus outlined is of great magnitude. This, together with the limits that must be assigned to the discussion, make it necessary to choose bebetween a hasty survey of the entire field or a more detailed consideration of some one portion. The latter course has been adopted and this paper will confine itself to the division first mentioned. In the discussion of the control of police which follows an attempt is made to examine and determine the value of the expedients by which it has been sought to hold the police to the performance of the service for which they were created. The easiest approach to the question is through a consideration of the place which the police occupy in the general scheme of government.
Those who are familiar with the campaign for municipal home rule are aware of the stress which has been laid
argument that a large portion of the work done by The Principle of our cities is purely local in character and that Home Rule
the machinery by which it is performed and the manner of its doing concern the state government and other localities little if at all. From this the principle has been deduced that in so far as a function of government concerns the city alone, or even largely, it should be left to the city to be dealt with without hindrance from any outside authority. So long as there is no attempt to apply this theory with mathematical precision there is no doubt of its utility. Even the novice in government is aware that one of the requisites of healthful politics is the placing of responsibility for government upon those immediately concerned in the outcome. Political history fairly bristles with evidence that government conducted by those with no personal interest in the results is likely at its best to be ignorant and careless and at its worst corrupt and oppressive. It must not be assumed, however, that the case for local autonomy rests alone upon the ability to make a clear distinction between state and local functions. There would be sound reason for lodging a large measure of power in the localities even if their every act of government were as important to the state at large as to themselves. Nor is the reasoning conclusive that the state should have no power of supervision over local governments in those matters which affect the people of the locality alone. An attempt will be made as we proceed to point out what it is believed the reciprocal relation of state and locality should be in the matter of police.
It is obvious that the interest of the people outside of the city in the police is far wider and deeper than in such matters. as parks, public works, transportation and public utilities in general. It can fairly be claimed that the latter are almost purely local matters. They are made to serve the state in no direct sense. On the other hand, the police are everywhere the agents of the state in regard to matters vital to the general welfare.
Among the officers who perform police functions sheriffs and constables are commonly regarded as having something more than a local character. The explanation is to be found in the
fact that, in the simple and uniform society for Police not which those offices were created, local governMerely Local Officers
ments with large power to make regulations to
fit local needs were unnecessary and, consequently, the law enforced by sheriffs and constables was almost entirely general law. On the other hand, the circumstances surrounding the establishment of urban police have served to obscure the fact that they are, in large measure, merely a multiplication of the sheriffs and constables of the rural districts. Historically the police have come in with the special provisions of government created to meet the conditions peculiar to urban life. It is seen that they are expected to enforce the ordinances enacted by the local council to meet local requirements. This, together with the fact that under our system of administration sheriffs and constables are continued in the cities alongside their more numerous co-laborers, has given color to the idea that the police are purely a local body. The distinction is a fictitious one. Except that the sheriffs and constables have retained their historic position as officers of the courts in civil matters and that the police enforce the local ordinances, the functions of the two bodies are almost identical. The sheriff and constable on the one hand and the police on the other find their most serious duties in the enforcement of laws enacted by the state legislature and intended to operate uniformly throughout the state. The broad domain of criminal law has rightly been occupied by general legislation. In addition the state legislatures have encroached to such an extent upon the sphere of law-making which might properly be left to the cities that the importance of the police as the enforcers of local law has been greatly reduced.
Thus the interest of the state government in an honest and efficient police force is permanent and vital, for it is not only the right but also the duty of the state to see that its mandates are obeyed. If a city police force proves a derelict agent, the state cannot rightfully be denied the power so to control the situation as to insure the execution of its will.