7 Am. J. Police 51 (1988)
Southern Slave Patrols as a Transitional Police Type

handle is hein.journals/ajpol7 and id is 187 raw text is: American Journal of Police 51

SOUTHERN SLAVE PATROLS
AS A TRANSITIONAL POLICE TYPE
Philip L. Reichel
University of Northern Colorado
Author's Note: Historian Gail Rowe and two anonymous
American Journal of Police referees provided me with in-
valtable assistance and suggestions for which I am most
gratefidL This is an extensively revised version of a paper pre-
sented at the 1985 Annual Meeting of the Academy of
Ctiminal Justice Sciences.
Accounts of the developmental history of American policing
have tended to concentrate on happenings in the urban North.
While the literature is replete with accounts of the growth of law
enforcement in places like Boston (Lane, 1967; Savage, 1865),
Chicago (Flinn, 1975), Detroit (Schneider, 1980) and New York City
(Richardson, 1970), there has been minimal attention paid to police
development outside the North. It seems unlikely that other regions
of the country simply mimicked that development regardless of their
own peculiar social, economic, political, and geographical aspects.
In fact, Samuel Walker (1980) has briefly noted that eighteenth and
nineteenth century Southern cities had developed elaborate police
patrol systems in an effort to control the slave population. Walker
even suggested these slave patrols were precursors to the police
(1980: 59). As a forerunner to the police, it would seem that slave
patrols should have become a well researched example in our at-
tempt to better understand the development of American law en-
forcement. However, the regionalism of many existing histories has
meant that criminal justicians and practitioners are often unaware of
the existence of, and the role played by, Southern slave patrols. This
means our knowledge of the history of policing is incomplete and re-
gionally biased. This article responds to that problem by focusing
attention on the development of law enforcement in the Southern

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