To wrap up our lessons on the history of first responders, we will learn about the history of police officers! I have many cousins that serve as police officers, so this is dedicated to them! Before we talk about what our police officers do today, let’s learn about how we got the police force we have. In colonial America, most policing was conducted by people who volunteered to be part of a “Night Watch.” Usually this meant that townspeople would sign up for one day to watch over their town. Boston created one of these programs in 1636, and Philadelphia created one in 1700. However as cities grew larger, it became apparent that they needed a new system to do more things. Some of those things, you can find in the word search below!
In 1838, Boston created an official police force. These police officers were in charge of making sure that people followed the rules by issuing fines, making arrests, and just ensuring that people knew that there were consequences for their actions. Today, our police officers still make sure that people follow the rules. They help keep people safe by doing this because the rules are made to ensure safety. One way that they do this is by encouraging people not to commit crimes, and by punishing those who do. One way of punishing those who break laws (especially vehicle laws) is by issuing tickets. With the print-out below, you can write your own tickets!
Another thing that police officers do to initiate punishments is to solve crimes. In order to punish those who break the laws, they first have to find out who broke the law and committed the crime. One way that they can do that is to use what is called forensic science, using science to solve crimes! An important part of forensic science is fingerprints. Did you know that teach person has a different fingerprint? Well, because of that, police can find a print and trace it back to one person. Put your fingerprints on the sheet below and look at how different each one is!
Throughout the 19th century, the job description of the police force was to maintain order, and one way of doing that was to make sure that the police looked differently (and more respectable) than everyone else. Often, this meant that police officers had very fancy uniforms. Today, our police officers still dress very nicely, but there is also a lot of protection in a police uniform. Police officers also wear a hat! This helps to identify them as policemen. If you click here, you can make your own police hat! Police officers today also wear badges. This helps to identify them and show the responsibility that they have. You can make your own badge below!
Police officers aalso had to have a way to get around. In 1899, the first police car was unveiled in Akron, Ohio. It was a wagon that ran on electricity and needed recharged every 20 minutes. (So it wasn’t really a very good vehicle for the police, but it was a start!) Nowadays, our police officers have very specific vehicles, ones that you would probably recognize if you see! They have flashing red and blue lights, a place to put bad guys, and a lot of technology to help them out. If you would like to try to make your own police car, click here!
Now that we know a bit about the history of cops, lets make a police inspired snack! Grab mom or dad, and cook up some “cop corn!” Let me know how it tastes and be sure to come back tomorrow to start a new set of lessons!
While you have some time at home, be sure to thank a police officer for all that they do to help keep us safe!