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POLICE Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

Police is the function of that branch of the administrative machinery of government which is charged with the preservation of public order and tranquillity, the promotion of the public health, safety, and morals, and the prevention, detection, and punishment of crimes. See State v. Hine, 59 Conn. 50, 21 Atl. 1024. 10 L. It. A. S3; Monet v. Jones. 10 Smedes & M. (Miss.) 247: People v. Squire, 107 N. Y. 593, 14 N. E. S20, 1 Am. St. Rep. 893; Logan v. State, 5 Tex. App. 314. The police of a state, in a comprehensive sense, embraces its whole system of internal regulation, by which the state seeks not only to preserve the public order and to prevent offenses against the state, but also to establish for the intercourse of citizen with citizen those rules of good manners and good neighborhood which are calculated to prevent a conflict of rights, aud to insure to each the uninterrupted enjoyment of his own, so far as is reasonably consistent with a like enjoyment of rights by others. Cooley. Const. Lim. *572. It is defined by Jeremy Bentham in his works; “Police is in general a system of precaution, either for the prevention of crime or of calamities. Its business may be distributed into eight distinct branches: (1) Police for the prevention of offenses ; (2) Police for the prevention of calamities; (3) Police for the prevention of epidemic diseases; (4) Police of charity; (5) Police of interior communications; (6) Police of public amusements; (7) Police for recent intelligence; (8) Police for registration.” Canal Com’rs v. Willamette Transp. Co., G Or. 222.

TLD Example: Police and other law enforcement agencies are a function of the executive branch of government.


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