The Roman ''Cohortes Urbanaes'' (or better known as ''Urban Cohorts'' were a form of Police Agency during The Republic Period of Ancient Roman History. Related to The Vigiles (who were both Night Police and Firefighters), The Urban Cohort were heavily armed and trained in both Military Tactics and Riot Control Techniques.
The Cohort was born out of the necessity to maintain law and order with The City of Rome. Roving Gangs of ''Cutthroats, Thieves and Criminals'', roamed wild through Rome's streets. The Vigiles were simply not trained (nor large enough a Force) to curb them. This couples with the fact that these ''Gangs'' were often paid by rival Roman Politicians (to make the other look bad in the eyes of The People), caused an almost unbearable situation.
The Emperor's Personal Guard – The Praetorians, were sometimes called out to deal with riots and civil disturbances. But hey were more often than not – either too heavy handed or themselves ''politically motivated''.
The Cohort were in essence, a form of Legionnaire (and often looked upon as such). They wore the same uniform and carried the same weapons (including The iconic Scutum Shield). Unlike The Vigiles, The Cohort patrolled both day and night.
The Cohort was not to be used in battle – except in the most severe of needs (towards the end of Imperial Rome).