Other reasons that consolidating all police forces into a nationally unified group would be the issues of jurisdiction that can cause confusion of authority and cause feelings of competitiveness between different law enforcement agencies; causing what would be a simple process to potentially fall through, actually becoming counterproductive to the criminal justice process.
Jurisdiction is basically the authority of a law enforcement agency to operate within their predetermined territory; or in some cases depending on the criminal infraction that is being committed, or the person who is committing them. Usually a police officer can only operate within their city limits, because if they were to make an arrest or act in any capacity outside of their territorial boundaries would be considered unlawful according to the laws of the United States and therefore the prosecution would most likely not be successful because of that fact.
There are states that extend the jurisdiction of its officers and even in some of the states that have the limitations for the geographical jurisdiction, there are other small exceptions; for instance there was a case in Virginia where an officer actually saw a suspect commit a traffic infraction and was able to make an arrest that became a conviction due to the fact that the officer was considered to be in hot pursuit, therefore he was still operating within his jurisdiction.
Yet today with the problem of terrorism and other dangers that are a daily reality in the United States, it has been proven that we can seldom afford to lose criminal activities in the gray area of issues having to do with jurisdiction (Legal Lad, 2008). Things have gradually changed throughout history regarding the challenge of keeping America safe from terrorism without and criminal activity within.
The more sophisticated the problems have become, the more sophisticated the remedies must become. Some may think that this approach will eventually infringe on the privacy of nnocent Americans, yet as has been discussed, there are ways to ensure that this does not come to pass. Ultimately as a country, Americans must consider all alternatives when considering the safety of the homeland and the future of law enforcement.
- ACLU (2007). What’s Wrong With Fusion Centers- Executive Summary, retrieved on 10/18/2009, http://www. aclu. org/privacy/gen/32966pub20071205. html
- Bohm, R. and Haley, K. (2008). _Introduction to Criminal Justice, 5th ed, New York, NY, McGraw-Hill, retrieved on 10/18/2009.
- Fausz, F. (2006). The First Act of Terrorism in English America, History News Network, retrieved on 10/17/2009, _http://hnn. us/articles/19085. html
- Legal Lad (2008). Police Jurisdiction, retrieved on 10/18/2009, http://legallad. quickanddirtytips. com/legal-police-jurisdiction. aspx