That’s a great question, isn’t it?
Policing in the beginning days of the nation was not the “protect and serve” notion that many thought it was. In many senses, the policing forces served the wealthy and those in power. The average, everyday citizen wasn’t getting the protection nor service that is the myth of Mayberry. Or Officer Krupke. Or Car 54.
Time Magazine published this article a few weeks ago; the article traces the beginning of police: “How the U.S. Got Its Police Force?”
A more in-depth report on The History of Policing in the United States is in this six part academic series of papers.
The founding of the Pennsylvania State Police, too, was not in the traditional “protect and serve” model. Here’s the history of the founding of the Pennsylvania State Police.
Somehow, we got to where we are today: “The Militarization of America’s Police: A Brief History: As the police have militarized, focus has shifted from one who keeps the peace to one who enforces the law—an important difference.”
“While most law enforcement officers regard themselves as protectors of the public, there are always a few military ‘wannabes’ out there on the streets. Police militarization provides them with a great excuse to play at soldiering.
“My advice to these wannabes is this: If you truly want to be a soldier and defend your country, then enlist, pick up your rifle and man a post.” – Police Militarization in America – A Negative or Positive Trend?