Modern American criminal justice system is the result of gradual evolutionary social changes that it underwent since the outset of the USA. First, the purpose of the American law enforcement was the renewal of public order and investigation of dangerous criminal activity in all states. What is more, that period of law enforcement development brought the world important appliances such as a telephone, two-way radio, and police car. Additionally, in the early 20th century, American law enforcement experienced a significant step forward in the ability to respond to a misdemeanor and protect the population. The US government achieved such a brilliant results due to the powerful influence of the leading authorities in the field of criminal justice. None of these progressive changes would be possible without the initiate on the part of certain people. One of them is August Vollmer, one of the most important personalities in the development of the American criminal justice system, who made such a huge contribution to the police training, education, and professionalism of officers that its impact is still apparent.
To begin with, in 1910, Vollmer proposed to use a new transport, namely bicycles, which were replaced with motorcycles in a year and patrol cars in 1913. Moreover, he created the Uniform Crime Reports program that became the basis for reporting about American annual crime rate and the activity of local police departments. Vollmer emphasized on the necessity of scientific investigations that motivated the establishment of numerous crime laboratories around the country (Roth, 2011). Lastly, he attracted public attention to many unconstitutional police practices, especially the employment of mental or physical torture in the interrogation of suspects. Nowadays, August Vollmer is additionally associated with the reorganization of police departments in Dallas, Cuba, Chicago, San Diego and Los Angeles (Roth, 2011).
Moreover, August Vollmer is recognized as the ”Father of Law Enforcement” throughout the world for his integrity and devotion to transforming police studies into a well-developed criminal justice discipline. First, he made tremendous effort to promote his educational reform and make it a stringent academic program. Within a few years after the new program launch, such universities as Michigan State University, San Jose State University, University of Washington, and Indiana University initiated own bachelor’s programs based on the police science (Roth, 2011). Furthermore, Vollmer had the distinct idea what the main goal of his efforts was. He considered that ”The policeman’s job is the highest calling in the world. The men who do that job should be the finest men. They should be the best educated. They should be college graduates” (Stamper, 2005, p.361). Thus, he established the basis for a police officer’s professionalism. Finally, Vollmer understood the importance of police training and contributed to the establishment of in-service training facilities in police departments throughout the country. He also confidently claimed that if the police were to reach professional standing, pre-employment training of police officers should be equal in quality to that provided for teachers, doctors, and the representatives of other occupations. August Vollmer dramatically changed the social justice system in the sphere of police training, education, and professionalism as well as build a solid foundation for the next generation to continue the criminal justice improvement.
Despite the fact that August Vollmer lived in the past century, the impact of his reforms on the modern social justice system is difficult to overestimate. He was the first policeman who used the polygraph in the investigations. Nowadays, police departments, the CIA, the FBI, federal and state governments, and numerous private agencies in the USA apply this instrument. Moreover, Vollmer employed one of the nation’s first African-American cop and the first policewoman. As a result, his reform is still topical in the 21st century due to the intensification of discrimination among law enforcement officers based on race and gender. Undoubtedly, Vollmer introduced several significant reforms to police of the USA that are still actively applied in a contemporary justice system.
In conclusion, August Vollmer was an American legend of criminal justice system. He acknowledged the significance of a professional officer who had a higher education, started the fight against the barriers of discrimination in American social justice system, and raised the level of professionalism in the police. Nowadays, the world remembers Vollmer as a respectable police administrator and pioneer in the spheres of education, police patrols, and scientific lie detection.
Roth, M. P. (2011). Crime and punishment: A history of the criminal justice system (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Stamper, N. (2005). Breaking rank: A top cop’s expose of the dark side of American policing. New York, NY: Nation Books.