Almost from the beginning of American history, the colonists recognized the need for developing some form of policing power in order to maintain order and enforce laws. The first law officers were generally justices of the peace. In 1635, Boston became the first city to use patrol officers to monitor its streets at night. Dutch New York created the Schout, an officer combining the functions of sheriff and justice of the peace, and the rattle watch, a patrol force, in 1651. The first combined day and night patrol was New ...

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