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The influence of policing on society is critical in many respects. Policing functions for society include crime prevention and control, order maintenance, and service provision. Although police officers may think of themselves as professional crime fighters, they invariably end up serving as peacekeepers and social workers. While many people consider police as the last resort for societal conflicts and issues, often police officers directly confront and respond to the full scope of human and natural activities as first responders.

Law enforcement is at the front lines of the problems associated with recent economic, political, and social dislocations (deindustrialization, federalization, and postmodernism) and changes with criminalization and moral panics associated with drugs and gangs, increased income inequality, deinstitutionalization of mental health systems and related reduction of welfare, ...

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