::OpenMind:: ::OpenMind:: ::OpenMind::
US police force was modeled after the British Metropolitan Police structure ; however, the modus operandi –especially when policing poor working class, migrant, brown and black neighborhoods- in the present, resembles the procedures of the 18th century Southern slave patrols, which developed from colonial slave codes in slave-holding European settlements in the early 1600s.
Essentially every colony in the western hemisphere, be it French, Spanish, Portuguese or English, had difficulties when it came to controlling its slave population and designed similar systems to manage the problem.
As early as the 1530s, runaway Indigenous and African slaves already presented a problem for Spanish invaders in the regions now known as México, Cuba and Perú. Some of the first recognized precursors of slave patrols deployed in the 1530s were the volunteer militia Santa Hermandad or the Holly Brotherhood, which chased fugitives in Cuba. The Hermandad had been established in Spain in the 15th century to repress crime in rural areas and then transferred to the Spanish colonies. The Hermandad was later replaced by expert slave hunters known as rancheadores, who regularly employed brutal tactics. These slave catchers used ferocious dogs to capture escapees. In Perú, enslaved and free blacks “owned by the municipality of private individuals” aided the Spaniard Cuadrilleros in Lima in the apprehension of runaways starting around the 1540s.
Administrators of the Spanish and Portuguese empires passed laws to handle slave-related situations, including the capture and punishment of renegades. Eventually, every Caribbean island and mainland settlements created their own rules and regulations and used a combination of former slaves, paid slave catchers, and the militia as apprehenders, all of them forerunners of patrols.
By the 1640s, Barbados, an English colony, had put in place a formal military structure which included white males, obviously but also indentured servants and even free blacks whose primary functions were patrolling slaves and protecting the island of foreign attacks.
“Though there be no enemy abroad, the keeping of slaves in subjection must still be provided for.” - Barbados Governor Willoughby"