ILLEGAL GAMBLING A Brief Review of Law Enforcement Problems
ALAN F. ARCURI
FOR many citizens, a policeman is the law. A large segment of the population never comes into immediate contact with politicians, prosecutors, or judges. But there are few persons who do not have dealings with police -- whether to report a crime, to complain of a neighbor's dog urinating on a favorite rose bush, or to receive a traffic citation. Therefore, police play an important symbolic role in society.
Beyond being symbols of authority and street-level representatives of government, police have real authority. They have arrest power, carry a weapon, and in extreme instances, are empowered to use deadly force. It seems that police frequently find themselves at center stage. They interest, indeed fascinate, a wide variety of audiences. Novels, movies, television shows, and four presidential commissions have focussed on the nation's law enforcers. Some have praised their courage as crime fighters. Others have criticized them as the architects of injustice. Scholars and laymen have churned out numerous articles and books debating their effectiveness in curbing crime.
This chapter deals with one of society's oldest problems. Illicit gambling represents a very severe test for law enforcement. It is no exaggeration to say that gambling is more than a thorn in the side of police departments. It could be considered a dagger in the flesh of big city departments for three reasons: profits generated by illegal gambling run into billions of dollars annually, part of this money is used to corrupt public officials, and it is a major, if not the major, source of support for organized crime in America.
This review focusses on police constraints in enforcing gam-