Militia, Fire Depts., and Police

In a 1901 Sociology class at Dickinson College, George H. Bonner wrote a paper entitled “Militia, Fire Depts., and Police.”  Bonner described these three groups and their effectiveness, or lack thereof.  Bonner was a student that was not very fond of Carlisle, stating that “[we] are truly sorry that the rebels did not visit this town with fire…” and “it  is an ideal place of exile for students in college, or for training  school for wild Indians or a quiet site for an insane asylum.”  His feelings for the town seemed to coincide with the way Bonner described the police force, militia, and fire department.  The militia had a 58-man regiment in Carlisle, even though the Militia of Pennsylvania numbered about 10,000 men.  The fire department was not that inept of an institution in Carlisle, the only problem was that there were rarely any fires in the town, therefore negating its effectiveness.  The police force at the time was a 5 man squad, 4 choppers and a chief.  However,  when a crime happened in the town, “no policeman are near till the affair is over and the participants have comfortably escaped.”  What changes do you think happened between then and now that made these institutions more effective and what they are today?


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