The federal structure of the United States assumes the independence of local governments from state governments, which, in turn, are independent of the federal government. Each of these three levels of government has its own, autonomous investigative bodies. Federal agencies investigate crimes that are legally assigned to the jurisdiction and jurisdiction of the federal government, and investigating agencies in the states investigate crimes that are within the competence of state authorities. In the United States, there is no national ministry with the functions of the main headquarters of the police forces, as well as the federal police as such, that is, the central agency endowed with traditional police functions. Each state, large city, smaller settlement has its own police department, independent of the others. All government agencies with the power to conduct operational and investigative work, arrests, arrests, searches and seizures, initiation and prosecution, are referred to in the United States as law enforcement agencies.
The system of police agencies and intelligence agencies of the United States is made up of the federal police, state police, and local police. The federal police, which is part of most federal ministries and departments, operates on the basis of federal law and includes:
- Police Department Of Justice;
- Special federal police for the protection of the US capital, the parliament building and the residence of the US president;
- Police authorities of the Ministry of Finance;
- Office of Investigation of the Internal Revenue Service, Internal Revenue Service;
- Federal Police Unit of the Post Office Department (Brandl, 2019);
- US Department of Defense Military Police.
The system of functioning of police services in the US federal law enforcement agencies is universal. It is built on the basis of the principle of sectoral specialization, taking into account the administrative-territorial division of the country, but it is organized taking into account American specifics (Brandl, 2019). In other words, the multiplicity of historically developed different police departments and the peculiarities of the tasks assigned to the traditional police services included in them contribute to the formation (Brandl, 2019). This principle underlies the organization and activities of all parts of the United States police system, regardless of the departmental affiliation of a particular police agency, both at the federal and regional levels (Brandl, 2019). State Police includes the State Police Department, State Security, other police units.
Based on the above analysis of the functions and structure of the police, it can be concluded that a quasi-military organization cannot be present in it. However, this is not true, since the police are more of a mixed character. The fact is that the main difference between a quasi-military organization and other ones is the presence of weapons among its members and clear tasks in the implementation of which force can be used (Sardina et al., 2018). It makes sense to turn to the past of the United States, where the first police department was created in 1844. Early police departments used the London Metropolitan Police as a model (Sardina et al., 2018). Thus, the American police force was organized as a quasi-military command structure. Their primary concern was the prevention of crime and disorder, and they provided a wide range of other public services (Sardina et al., 2018). Another important difference between this type of organization is its control over a single body of government, that is, a semblance of an army. At the moment, each state has a separate police department, which does not allow the police to be considered a quasi-military organization (Kyle & Reiter, 2020). However, in the event of a need for structural reform or the advent of wartime, the police can be reorganized into a quasi-military organization without losing its functions and effectiveness.
However, it should be noted that quasi-military organizations have a large number of shortcomings that explain their undesirability in society. First of all, such a structure leads to an increase in cruelty and aggression in society, as well as to a vivid expression of xenophobia (Kyle & Reiter, 2020). This is explained by the fact that in the presence of such an organization, the most effective method of resolving conflicts is the use of brute force. The fact is that the main sources of norms and ethics in such situations are usually military traditions, harshness and immediacy of punishment (Kyle & Reiter, 2020). Accordingly, the transformation of the police into a quasi-military organization can be interpreted as a degradation of public interests and equality. In addition, it is worth noting the disappearance of the institute of detectives, since the power over the police in such a structure is centralized (Kyle & Reiter, 2020). This entails the protection of only state and public interests. In turn, this will drastically reduce the quality and level of private life of citizens.
Thus, it should be noted that a quasi-military form of administration and organization is suitable for implementation in the police. Nevertheless, the shortcomings and negative consequences for society and the state are large-scale, and accordingly such a reformation is undesirable. At the same time, the quasi-military structure ignores private interests, which leads to the disappearance of the institution of detectives. The combination of these consequences will cause serious damage to the lives of citizens, both in the sphere of private life and interests, and in common values and the level of humanism.
Brandl, S. G. (2019). Police in America. SAGE Publications.
Kyle, B. J. & Reiter, A. G. (2020). Military courts, civil-military relations, and the legal battle for democracy. The Politics of Military Justice. Taylor & Francis.
Sardina, A., Okada, D., & Maguire, M. (Eds.). (2018). Critical issues in crime and justice. Thought, policy, and practice. SAGE Publications.