Weber’s Rational-Legal Model of Legitimation and the Police in London and New York City, 1830–1870
Chief William Parker of the Los Angeles police once said, ‘The vital elements of
civilized life, including our most sacred institutions, at one time or another, have
been laboriously sold to the people’ (quoted Banton 1954, 1). Aside from leading a major urban police force, Parker was also a very active salesman for it, including
sponsoring the Dragnet TV series. He sought to inculcate what Max Weber described as ‘a belief, a belief by virtue of which persons exercising authority are lent prestige,’ that is, legitimization (Weber 1966, 382).