This article focuses on the translation of the French and English law enforcement models into Argentina and analyzes its consequences in terms of social order. Whereas in the former two models the judiciary and police institutions originated in large-scale processes of historical consolidation, in the latter these institutions were implanted without the antecedents present in their countries of origin. The empirical references are Argentine police institutions, particularly the police of the Buenos Aires Province, observed at two moments in which the institutional import was particularly intense: towards the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, and at the end of the twentieth century. By way of tracing these processes of police constitution and reform, we show how new models of law enforcement and policing interacted with indigenous political structures and cultural frames, as well as how this constellation produced a social order in which legality and illegality are closely interwoven. The article is an attempt to go beyond the common observations regarding how an imported model failed; instead, it dissects the effects the translation actually produced and how the translated models transform into resources that reshape the new social order. A crucial element, the article shows, is that these resources can be instrumentalized according to »idiosyncrasies«, interests, and quotas of power.