Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement

Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement

Bibliographic Details

  • Title: Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement
  • Author: Larry E. Sullivan, editor-in-chief
  • Publisher: Thousand Oaks (Sage Publications)
  • Description: 3 volumes
  • ISBN: 0761926496
  • Contents note: v. 1. State and local / Marie Simonetti Rosen, editor — v. 2. Federal / Dorothy Moses Schulz, editor — v. 3. International / M.R. Haberfeld, editor.
  • General note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Copyright: 2005
  • Subjects: Criminology, Criminal justice, Administration of Encyclopedias, Law enforcement Encyclopedias
  • LC Subject Headings for this publication: Law enforcement — Encyclopedias. Criminal justice, Administration of — Encyclopedias.

Introduction to the Book

Security is now and has always been the primary function of government. All societies require some form of law enforcement capability to function effectively. Throughout history, governments of all types have relied on either public police agencies or informal means to effect conformity to social norms, standards, and laws. Given how essential law
enforcement is to society, it is surprising how little we really know about how it actually functions.

The job of law enforcement is always complex and sometimes dangerous. Police function under much public scrutiny, yet the complexities of what police do and why they do it rarely come to our attention.
Readers of this encyclopedia will be introduced to the vagaries and nuances of the field, because it is critical to have a more informed citizenry so that when issues concerning public safety come to our attention, as they do on an almost daily basis, we can judge the situation fairly and wisely.

We cannot strictly equate policing with law enforcement in general, but what we do know on the subject is primarily based on policing in large urban settings. So far, few reference works have been published on law enforcement in the federal, state, local, rural, or private sectors.

Our knowledge of international and comparative law enforcement is almost nonexistent, and policing in Western democracies can be qualitatively different from policing in emerging
countries or other areas using different legal systems.
In many countries, law enforcement-indeed, government itself-is almost entirely lacking. In
worst-case scenarios, police are used primarily as a force of terror to keep dictators in power. Regimes fall and rise daily, and people find themselves in lawless and violent states. In the early 21st century alone, we can think of such states as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Haiti, to name only a few, that find themselves without effective policing powers.

Although there is a plethora of studies on crime and punishment, law enforcement as a field of serious research in academic and scholarly circles is only in its second generation. When we study the courts and sentencing, prisons and jails, and other areas of the criminal justice system, we frequently overlook the fact that the first point of entry into the system is through police and law enforcement agencies.
My work in the field of crime and punishment has driven this fact home with a sense of urgency.

Approximately 800,000 men and women work in law enforcement in the United States alone, and they are held to higher standards than the rest of us, are often criticized, and function under intense public scrutiny. Ironically, they are the most visible of public servants, and yet, individually, they often work in near obscurity. But their daily actions allow us to live our lives, work, play, and come and go.
They are “the thin blue line” -the buffer between us and the forces of disorder.

Our understanding of the important issues in law enforcement has little general literature on which to draw. Currently available reference works on policing are narrowly focused and sorely out of date. Not Introduction only are there few general works on U.S. law enforcement in all its many facets, but the student and general reader will find very little on current international policing.

Policing has changed dramatically over the past century, but our general understanding of it comes primarily from the news media and police television shows and movies. The public seems to gain much of its knowledge of policing from popular television shows such as Law
and Order and the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation series. What we see on television is simplistic and conflates within its 42-minute hour a year’s worth of police work. Those of us in the academic field of criminal justice research see an urgent need for providing students and the general interested public balanced information on what law enforcement does, with all of its ramifications. Because democracy can remain strong only with an informed public, our goal is to provide the necessary information for an understanding of these institutions dedicated to our safety and security. To this end, we have gathered a distinguished roster of authors, representing many years of knowledge and practice in the field, who draw on the latest research and methods to delineate, describe, and analyze all areas of law enforcement.

The criminal justice field is burgeoning and is one of the fastest growing disciplines in colleges
and universities throughout the United States. The Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement provides a comprehensive, critical, and descriptive examination of all facets of law enforcement on the state and local, federal and national, and international stages. This work is a unique reference source that provides readers with informed discussions on the practice and theory of policing in a historical and contemporary framework.

Each volume treats subjects that are particular to the area of state and local, federal and national, and international policing. Many of the themes and issues of policing cut across disciplinary borders, however, and a number of entries provide comparative information that places the subject in context. The Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement is the first attempt to present a comprehensive view of policing and law enforcement worldwide.

It is fitting and appropriate that we present this information in an encyclopedia, traditionally and historically the gateway to the world of knowledge, a gateway that leads to further studies for those who want to pursue this fascinating and important field.

The encyclopedia is the most comprehensive, durable, and utilitarian way in which to present a large body of synthesized information to the general public. Encyclopedias trace their beginnings back to Naturalis Historia of Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.), in which he collected much of the knowledge of his time in numerous volumes. They became standard and necessary
reference tools during the Enlightenment with Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie in 1772 and the first edition of the monumental Encyclopedia Britannica in 1771. These seminal compendia attempted to present an entire body of knowledge to its readers.

The modern encyclopedias broke new ground in the transmission of ideas, and over the centuries, they have been updated and improved. Some editions have become classics in themselves, such as the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Specialty encyclopedias are more a phenomenon of the modern age. The field of criminal justice has matured in the past generation, and its monographs and journals present a large body of specialized research from which to draw. The subspecialty of law enforcement, however, has not received the focused treatment of a comprehensive reference work until now.

The study of policing and law enforcement has come a long way since the first attempts at police professionalism at the turn of the 20th century. At that time, we also saw the initial
professional publications in policing by way of such partisan, anecdotal police histories as Augustine E. Costello’s Our Police Protectors (1885) on New York and John J. Flinn’s History of the Chicago Police in 1887. In no way can we call these works scholarly, although they did give us a glimpse into the activities of the local police departments. It was only with the age of general crime commissions, beginning in the 1930s and culminating in the President’s
Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice in 1967, that we saw the development of a large body of data on police activities.

And it was also in the 1960s that the first College of Police Science was founded at the City University of New York (1964), which became the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 1966, the foremost college of its kind in the world. Within the decade, journals devoted to the scholarly study of the police were founded, and thus, this academic subspecialty of criminal justice was on the road to professional respectability. In the past 40 years, the field of law enforcement has grown and evolved rapidly.

Law enforcement (or lack thereof) is a complex social and political process that affects everyone. Explanations of its role in society are basic to our understanding of the proper maintenance of social order. Older reference works on policing were limited given the few available sources on which they drew. But a large enough body of scholarly work now exists that a reference work such as this encyclopedia can provide coverage of most U.S. law enforcement concepts, strategies, practices, agencies, and types, as well as the comparative study of world law enforcement systems. Police and law enforcement officers do a variety of things in a day and need to draw on a body of knowledge that includes law, sociology, criminology, social work, and other disciplines.

This encyclopedia attempts to answer all the questions on what an officer or an agency, here
and abroad, does, but also attempts to explain the reasons for an officer’s proper and improper
actions. In numerous articles, we also show the development of policing, its functions, the impact of technology and modern culture on law enforcement, and the impact that court decisions have on every facet of the field.

Law enforcement worldwide was profoundly affected by the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, and many of the field’s methods, concepts, principles,
and strategies have changed because of the ubiquity of terrorism. Most of the relevant articles in this encyclopedia reflect these changes. As a reference work, it will be essential reading for anyone interested in the field of law enforcement.

The Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement offers the professional, the student, and the lay user information unavailable in any other single resource. Its aim is to bring interdisciplinary treatment to the myriad topics that touch on all facets of law enforcement.

To this end, the editors have assembled more than 300 specialists in the field-academics and practitioners alike-to provide the most current treatment on more than 550 topics. These entries range from simple descriptive essays on federal law enforcement agencies to the most sophisticated analysis of contemporary theories of policing. The broadening of the field of law enforcement affected the process of selection of topics. Some selections were driven by theoretical interests, whereas others were practical and more specific.

Our goal is to survey the entire field of law enforcement and to be as comprehensive
as possible. For ease of use, we have divided the volumes into three areas of law enforcement:
state and local, federal and national, and international. Each volume contains a master index.

The longest entries cover key issues in law enforcement, large federal agencies, and major countries of the world. Many of the short entries are descriptive, especially when covering a small federal agency police force, or for a smaller country that provides little information on its law enforcement bureaucracy or that has an insignificant law enforcement presence. Some countries, especially those in social and political flux, have been omitted owing to the
dearth of information and/or the almost total lack of a police force. Other entries are analytical and cover the most up-to-date theories and philosophies of law enforcement. The main focus of each entry is on currency, although some historical background is usually covered by the author.

A glance at the tables of contents gives a good idea of the many perspectives from which a reader can view a given topic. For instance, a brief look at the essay on police accountability leads the reader to investigate the whole panoply of law enforcement, including police impact on constitutional rights, use of force, civilian oversight, theories of policing, and other
areas. Given the interrelatedness of these topics, most authors, when possible, treat their subjects using cross-disciplinary or comparative methods.

Some authors give a practical viewpoint of law enforcement, whereas others use empirical research and discuss theories and concepts. In general, the encyclopedia combines the disciplines of criminology, sociology, history, law, and political science to elucidate the most contemporary and up-to-date view of law enforcement as it is practiced and studied in the world today. An encyclopedia of this kind would be incomplete without such comparative and/or cross-disciplinary coverage. As it now stands, it is the most invaluable tool for all who work in or are interested in the field because it brings together in one work the most recent research and practice of law enforcement.

Some of the subjects are controversial, but we have requested that authors cover alternative views evenhandedly and fairly. We did not include any biographical entries, which can be found in the myriad biographical sources available today. But in order to present the most comprehensive coverage possible, important personages are included in the subject entries. All relevant legal cases affecting law enforcement are cited in the text and in the bibliographies.

The discussion of legal cases is especially useful for the generalist not trained in the law, and we have attempted to explain these court cases and laws succinctly and concisely.

Bibliographies to guide the reader to documentation on the subject and further research are included after each entry. The bibliographies include relevant books, journal articles, scholarly monographs, dissertations, legal cases, newspapers, and Web sites. (A comprehensive reading list is presented at the end of each volume as well).

The Reader’s Guide classifies the articles
into 24 general subject headings for ease of use. For instance, under Terrorism, we have grouped such subjects from Chemical and Biological Terrorism on both the local and national levels to an essay on foreign terrorist groups.

Policing Strategies will guide the reader from the Broken Windows strategy to Zero Tolerance. Entries are organized alphabetically and are extensively cross referenced. The international volume, in addition to presenting all available information on policing in most of the countries of the world, also includes analytical essays on such subjects as Community Policing, Police and Terrorism, History of Policing, and Women in Policing.

Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement Reviews

Choice Review

Sullivan (John Jay College of Criminal Justice) has edited an outstanding set on law enforcement issues. More than 300 academics and practitioners in the field contributed essays on all aspects of law enforcement, ranging from analyses of historical events to future trends.

  • Volume 1 deals with state and local issues (e.g., civilian/police involvement, crime statistics, personnel issues, police corruption, police conduct, domestic terrorism).
  • Volume 2 concentrates on federal law enforcement with essays on agencies such as the Secret Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration; other essays cover such topics as the federal drug seizure system, IAFIS (Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System), and the Freedom of Information Act.
  • Volume 3 is arranged by country, with explanatory essays on each country’s law enforcement system. Some countries are omitted because of a dearth of information or nearly total lack of a police force.

Essays in all volumes are signed and contain useful short bibliographies. Each volume also contains an extensive master bibliography and index. Volumes 1 and 2 both offer an appendix that summarizes 15 years (1989-2003) of major developments in law enforcement drawn from Law Enforcement News (published 1975- by John Jay College).

While a number of encyclopedia sets focus on criminal justice, there is no similar work on law enforcement.

Summing Up: Essential. All collections.

E. B. Ryner FBI Library (2005-06-01)

Library Journal Review

This unique encyclopedia is separated into three volumes: State and Local, which covers aspects of policing applicable to the lives of every-day citizens; Federal and National, which emphasizes laws, organizations, and initiatives on a nation-wide scale; and International, which delves into law enforcement practices around the world.

Though Sullivan (government, emeritus, John Jay Coll. of Criminal Justice) is the overall editor of the set, each volume boasts its own distinguished editors as well as a corps of academic writers.

In A-to-Z format, 550 articles cover topics that range from agencies, people, and legislation to concepts like broken windows, problem areas like police corruption and terrorism, and staples of law enforcement like profiling, Miranda rights, electronic surveillance, and DNA analysis. Each volume contains the master index and bibliography. Volume 3 is uniquely valuable: there is currently no comparable source, with its articles-maps included-on police function in more than 150 countries. Gale’s World Encyclopedia of Police Forces and Correctional Systems (forthcoming in September) will presumably be a competitor in this area, while Routledge’s recent Encyclopedia of Criminology covers just 20 countries.

Bottom Line: Aimed at the general reader, law enforcement practitioners, students, and academics, the encyclopedia aims to create a more nuanced understanding of law enforcement than the one available from news media and television shows and to serve as a resource for “law enforcement as a serious academic study [now] in its second generation.” Recommended for both specialized and general collections.

-Janice Dunham, John Jay Coll. of Criminal Justice Lib., CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. (2005-08-01)

Table of Contents

List of Entries
Reader’s Guide
List of Contributors
About the Editors
Master Bibliography

See Also

List of Dictionaries about Criminal Law
Encyclopedia of American Law Enforcement
Crime and the Justice System in America: An Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences
United States Drug Enforcement Administration
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
International Police Cooperation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
International Policing
List of Encyclopedias about Criminal Law
Truth Commissions and Procedural Fairness
Targeted Killing in International Law
Law, War and Crime
Detained without access to legal counsel
Intelligence Agencies



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