The history of policing in the United States is generally divided into three eras. The first, the political era, took place in St. Louis between 1861, when the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department was established, and 1905-1906, when a reform governor thrust St. Louis into the reform/progressive era. This book examines the beginnings of the political era in St. Louis, the reasons for the police department's establishment, and the inner workings of the department during that era. It not only is the story of the early police department but also integrates that story with the history of St. Louis and even the state of Missouri.In the late 1800s, the city government of St. Louis had not yet evolved into what we know today. The most modern invention available to the police department was the telegraph system. At one time or another the lack of the appropriate city departments turned police officers into sanitation officers; street, building, privy, dairy, and meat inspectors; dogcatchers; census takers; and enforcers of the city tax codes and licensing laws. Most of these duties dwindled as the twentieth century dawned and city government took over almost all responsibilities but law enforcement. This book is the history of a police department that was born at the beginning of the Civil War and, as the political era ended in St. Louis, was policing the fourth-largest city in the United States.
About the Author
Allen E. Wagner is Associate Professor Emeritus of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. He worked for the St. Louis police department for twenty years as patrolman and sergeant.