State Police Development, 1835-1941
The United States saw little in the way of police reform in the direction of state-controlled police in the nineteenth century. The emphasis was on building and expanding the municipal police that had begun to appear in the larger cities around the 1840s. The movement to establish state police is primarily a product of the first three decades of the twentieth century. Although a few states experimented with different forms of state-controlled law enforcement in the nineteenth century, the majority of the state police agencies were created between 1917 an 1935.
The establishment of state police was one of the major police reforms to occur in the historical development of the United States police system. However the state police, like the municipal police, were not a United States invention, but had forerunners in various forms of centralized police systems that previously had been established in other countries. Centralized police systems were established as early as 1544 when France's rural police, the Maréchausseé, were established. By 1750 this force numbered three thousand men, who were uniformed and heavily armed and controlled by the central government. 1 In Italy a state police force called the Carabinieri was established in 1814, and Prussian leaders established the Schutzmannshaft in Berlin, a 1,400-man royal state police. 2 However, it is the state-controlled police, established in Ireland during the late 1700s and in Canada during the middle of the nineteenth century, that demand our attention.