Introduction There are three major components in the criminal justice system of the U.
S. and one of them is policing. The other two are courts and corrections. These three components of the criminal justice system are interrelated although each one of them operates independently.
Yet, the judiciary has the power to conduct how the other two departments are functioning. The main duty of the police force is to observe law and order where the members actively engage in going after criminal activities and when they encounter those who commit crimes they will conduct investigation and refer their findings to the courts so that they will take the necessary steps.
The other duties of the members of the police force include deterring and preventing criminal activities from occurring, the follow up on court order by serving warrants, and observe any other actions the courts want to take. They are also always at the frontline to respond to emergencies that are threat to the safety of the community they serve in.
Moreover, they prevent the violation of the law, they ensure the security of public officials, and take charge and facilitate correctional operations. There are a big number of law enforcement agencies across the U.S. and in whatever form they are, they are mainly under the responsibility of local governments.
The first police department that started in Boston in 1838 was a far cry when compared to where the force is now simply because their acceptance by the communities they were serving then was at a very low ebb since there was a rampant corruption that riddled the force. That has changed eventually and the importance of the force got a boost after the police car, two-way radio, and telephone became in use enabling the force to respond for emergency calls faster. However, the internal problem of the force had persisted for a long time and according to records two individuals, August Volmer and Q. W.
Wilson get the credit for professionalizing the force and for trying to stamp out corruption. Some of the methods used to make the force effective was officers used to be rotated from one community to the other frequently so that they will not be vulnerable to corruption. In addition, a merit system based on good performance to obtain departmental promotions is in use, as well as introducing a better compensation so that attracting better-qualified personnel would be possible. In reality, most of these efforts did not improve the popularity of the force in the communities it was serving and because of that, the main focus of the force had been dealing with felons and criminal activities.
There had been numerous introductions to improve the relation of the force with the members of the communities it was serving and one of them was a diverse hiring practice. In the 1990s, the force had tried involving the communities it was working in into helping it do its job effectively but was not successful. Moreover, another strategy called problem-oriented policing that focuses and study a particular kind of wrongdoing, so that it will be possible to come up with solutions was introduced. This new introduction was not also effective and eventually the New York Police Department introduced COMPSTAT in the 1990s a system that tracks and maps crime patterns through information gathered from the activities of various forces.
Since then it had managed to transform the effectiveness of the police force and many major metropolitan cities are using it simply because it has helped in reducing crime, added to the quality of life, as well as it introduced better resource and personnel management. Local policing takes place at the county and township level and the number of personnel differs according to the size of the community, where having only one or two officers in a given area is a common practice. Bigger metropolitan cities such as New York, for example, could have up to 40,000 members, which reflects it is the size of the community that determines what kind of number, in terms of the force members to be deployed, including the size of the budget and other resources. Even if there are divisions such as county sheriffs, state police, and highway patrols, all of them are enforcing the law in the jurisdiction that hire them by cooperating with the general force depending on the needs at hand.
It is possible that they could share information and statistics about criminals and criminal activities that took place in their jurisdiction with other jurisdictions. They could also go farther by cooperating in the use of laboratories, a service of a coroner or related information, as well as sharing prison facility if the need arises since shortage of space in some of the prison facilities is a common occurrence. In metropolitan regions, it always takes the coming together of various forces in order to do their job effectively, by introducing a central command system, which adds to the efficiency in most cases and such working arrangements had been effective in areas where sprawling is taking place. One of the components of the function of the force’s members is order maintenance, where they have responsibility to avoid anything deemed disorderly, no matter how they handle it.
Their handling of a situation depends on their discretion and the nature of the disorder, where whenever there is a violation of the law they have the authority to introduce measures supported by the law. Another component of their function is law enforcement where they have to prevent the violation of the law by implementing their authority bestowed on them by the law. What they do in such a situation is to conduct investigation and if they have enough evidence there are procedures in place they can follow to direct the violators into the court system. They could also have other functions such as performing community service whenever there is a need for their input even if there is no law violation involved, such as providing information or help those who could encounter various problems due to reasons that are beyond their control.
They could also have demand as educators in areas such as drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, and the like in the community they are serving, which could be out of their police duty. But such activities help with the relationship they have with communities they are serving, as well as some of their effort could reduce crime and introduce safety and quality of life (Rand Corporation, 1). AnalysisThe style the police force members apply while carrying out their duty is not much different than their main function simply because order maintenance requires being present in person, whether it is in a form of surveillance or playing the role of a watchman in communities believed to be besieged by criminal activities. In such a situation, it is not possible to take measure on every offense, as long as there is no direct violation of the law and order.
Accordingly, the law enforcement aspect of the undertaking will require the introduction of professionalism, where there is not going to be exceptions for different groups since everyone has to conform. This is rigid implementation of the law and is pro-active in such a way that there is no leeway given because of ethnic background, economic orientation, and the like where not everyone is expected to conform to the expectations at the same level. Yet, this does not have to have anything to do with violation of the law, which requires equal treatment for everyone. When looking at the service the members of the force render in a given community, it differs from one community to the other.
The findings indicate that suburban communities inhabited by middle-class citizens could expect a more personalized treatment where they expect the police to get involved in the well being of each individual rather than the community as a whole. Such communities require some kind of prevention from the intruding of outsiders and in return since they will be better law-abiding citizens than others the force members could have more time on their hands to engage in service oriented functions that differ according to the various communities. Some communities might require more police presence in the school areas, or more patrolling of the streets, or tend to traffic congestion, and the like, which would be endemic to each locality involved. In fact, the demand for service and expectation could differ from community to community.
In bigger communities, where the rate of the crime is law the communities might want the force to conduct nuisance abatement, which could include intervening when the municipality and county laws are transgressed through actions such as littering, loitering, wasting of water resources, being negligent when it comes to take care of yards etc. In addition, the force members might be expected to get involved in crowd control, quieting barking dogs, deal with disturbance by disorderly individuals, and intervening in disputes among individuals. In order to carry out their duty effectively, like in any profession, new recruits have to meet a strict hiring standards that require the recruits to be in good physical shape, to be free of criminal records, have to be free of narcotic use, not to have had in any kind of a fallout with the law, to be free from domestic violence history and mental illness, and meet all the requirements to carry firearms. This entire requirement needs verification by going through various channels set by the hiring department.
Once they passed this, the police officers will be entitled to earn between $42,000 and $93,000 yearly in their lifetime as they progress through the ranks. Another issue that might require highlighting is after all this investment the police force might be found to be victim of wrongdoing, one of which that many people are concerned about is use of excessive force, when it is not needed. It is difficult to address this issue since a research made by the Department of Justice has classified it into three categories. Accordingly, the first outlook claims that it is possible to accept that use of excessive force exists as a fact, but it has to be supported with solid evidence that had been recorded and that had taken place.
The second category talks about accepting such claims with modest confidence simply because there is not enough evidence on record to show it had happened or it is happening. The third category accepts the possibility that use of excess force could exist, but it requires more research in order to gather evidence to prove that it is a reality. Therefore, this issue of police using excessive force had been in dispute simply because the force is allowed to use any means while arresting violent criminals if it felt it is necessary since the safety of the community that is being protected, as well as the officers who are on duty is at stake. Yet, some are saying no matter what kind of training the police officers are receiving, whether the motive behind it is racial, ethnic prejudice, or psychological imbalance, there are some who are committing the crime of using excessive force when it is not called for that had resulted in some victims losing their life.
Hence, this shows that no matter what kind of responsibility the force vest upon them the members are not immune from succumbing for some kind of human weaknesses. These kinds of fallouts happen after they had gone through strict hiring requirements that include psychological assessment, as well as a background check up to find out if they had a history of violence. What the critics are saying about this whole affair is even if such claims are prevailing, the strict requirements of hiring could be deterring the force from recruiting the future officers it needs badly. On the other hand, there are others who want a more strict hiring procedure focusing heavily on background check up that they believe will enable to spot these kinds of individuals in advance, because some believe they had caused enough damage (Justice Department, 2).
While the force had to deal with traditional policing challenges, a new introduction that had changed how the traditional police force is carrying out its duties in many regions was the September 11, 2001 occurrence that brought into the picture the homeland security resulting in averting the focus of the force from communities to watching public buildings with the aim of preventing similar occurrences. Because of that, the duty of the force members now includes the gathering of intelligence more than ever since their size that outnumbers the members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and their daily interaction with the community had made them more suitable for such duties. Another responsibility that is complicating the engagement of the force in their traditional policing activity is they now have the additional duty of enforcing the immigration requirements, which takes them away from their main duties. Furthermore, areas that were not a focus of attention before the September 11 incident now are on the top list of locations that the force will have to have under its surveillance.
Public buildings facilities such ports, airports, and other sensitive facilities require a regular surveillance in order to avoid any kind of terrorist activities. In all this, because of budget constraint the force is not hiring new recruits in big number. It is taking away officers from earlier duties such as narcotic division has made programs once used to be important such as Drug Abuses Resistance Education and Community Reaction Division lower priority programs since the size of the staff tending to them had come down. There had also been a reduction on foot patrol after programs such as counter terrorism unit and terrorist liaison officers came into existence.
There is no doubt that the coming into the picture of the homeland security requirement had complicated the managing of the force by affecting its every aspect of doing things the traditional way. To make things worse the force had found it difficult to follow any kind of pattern since the demand could change regularly. Furthermore, there is not much resource allocated in the training and staffing of the force to enable it to meet the new added requirement. To make things more complicated most units of the force have encountered lack of qualified personnel, as well as there is lack of applicants from women and minorities.
The presumption is, in the near future most of the units are in line to lose one-third of their force members when baby boomers retire. The force has to withstand such problems in a situation where it takes up to three years to put well-trained and sworn officers on the street. Another challenge for the force is its desire for its members to represent the community they serve in. This would mean adding force members from women and minorities and that had shown a steady improvement over the years, but it is not where the force would like it to be.
Other difficulties encountered in recruiting are the difficulty of finding recruits who meet the requirements where physical fitness, being free of narcotic use and criminal background, and a higher level of education are required. Among other area of problems highlighted that is frustrating the force’s recruiting effort is obesity and it results in making the youth physically unfit while making them vulnerable to disease that will interfere or shorten their career span with the force. Another element among the highlighted recruiting problems is indebtedness as the youth between the ages of 18-24 carry sizeable debt on their credit cards to the point where they have to pay 30 percent of their income for debt servicing. According to the force that will make them vulnerable for corruption and could disqualify them outright from being considered for employment by the force.
College attendance is another cited preferred qualification lately than completing high school only since it could benefit the departments by raising the qualification standard. The outcome, however, is there is a lack of such applicants. Because of the urgency and the need of recruits, the various forces had introduced their own method to boost the sagging numbers. Among the methods introduced, instead of the two usual officers manning patrol cars, now it is only one officer assigned for the job.
More retirees are back out of their retirement to alleviate the shortage and mostly cover the desk job responsibilities. The traditional form of hiring such as frowning on gays and lesbians is the thing of the past that includes immigrant communities and recruits do not have to live in the cities they serve in. In some jurisdictions, both the education standard and the physical requirements could get a boost by providing for the lack instead of waiting for recruits who meet the requirements, whose number had dwindled. Another important issue raised by the Equal Employment Opportunity is to inquire the forces to make their hiring requirement to reflect reality and in occasions women or minorities should not be turned down simply because of the stringent requirement that is attached with the test or the requirement to be met that is creating what the commission called adverse impact.
Another solution introduced was to hire civilians who would work in numerous areas that do not require the attention of sworn officials and that has proven to be useful in releasing the sworn and highly trained officers to take care of other official duties. In addition, bringing in volunteers who could handle various responsibilities had alleviated some of the shortage. There is also another group called reservist that is required to put in unpaid 20 hours of work every month and they have become a good source of employees for jurisdictions strapped with both lack of resources and personnel (Rand Corporation, 1). Homeland SecurityThe coming into the picture of Homeland Security has changed numerous traditional way of doing things as far as police departments around the country are concerned.
At the same time, many irregularities and awkward incidents had also occurred because of the ambiguity created. All started when the U.S. Department of Justice and Homeland Security started sinking more than half a billion dollars into an intelligence operation that will involve the police force.
The outcome was the coming into existence of more than 100 intelligence units across the country. In order to get a share of that money what states and jurisdictions have to do is to compile intelligence information they believe will be a threat for national security and accordingly if what they submitted gets approval they will qualify for the grant. Once they obtained the grant, they have no choice other than diverting the normal police procedure in order to meet the requirements attached to the grant that had resulted in diverting the force’s focus from its original duty of observing law and order. Since there is a lack of resources and now personnel because of the diversion, some of the areas that were getting more attention form the traditional policing are going lacking.
Yet, since the diversion is only affecting the crime prevention section, till date the absence for the police force from the scene because of the created shortage had not resulted in any significant deterioration of the involved communities. What attributed to this is, on the outset there had been a huge amount of intelligence data accumulated that comprise mostly of intelligence report as well as public records. Starting from the time COMPSTAT came into existence, intelligence record was crucial in fighting crime. Yet, privacy advocates had said from the outset such a system is always prone to abuse where information could end up in the wrong hand.
In spite of this fear authorities want some kind of information sharing to be in place simply because there had been incidents such as Timothy McVeigh who was arrested by a state trooper and if the case was not publicized that might have not happened. In Torrance, California, the same had happened, where there was a thwarted attempt to cause damage on military sites and places of worships by local police. Furthermore, among those involved in the September 11 incident, three of them had encountered a traffic pull over checkup, but no one knew that they were on the list of terrorists. It makes sense heading toward such a goal but there are all kinds of shortcomings cited to make that a reality, and the fund as well as the personnel might not be available without creating a constraint on the traditional policing.
The traditional policing is not highly affected currently simply because it has got a boost from what is labeled as the new paradigm, which is fighting local crime by relying on intelligence gathering that will result in a huge database and then analyzing the data, a process that is not very much different from COMPSTAT. The difference, however, is the focus, the targeted locations, and communities are so large it had already created a shortage of personnel where the forces have no choice other than to tackle the problems with means that might not be very effective in the long run. The end result till date had been things are done by trial and error simply because no one still has the effective method to deal with the problems. That is so because terrorism is not different from law violation, except that its effect is devastating for the community it takes place, hence it requires prevention.
Another problem that cropped up in the new fight is surveillance has lost its meaning and had become spying to the point where the Justice Department had intervened and had suggested that unless there is a reasonable suspicion surveillance on suspects has to be avoided. But that is not going to be the reality since those departments that are getting the fund are going out of their way and have become undercover cops to the point where many sources feel that they have enough proof for their being under surveillance, as well as they have encountered undercover police staff in many areas including rallies and bicycle racing, simple social events. What this demonstrates is those who are receiving the funding allocated to fight terrorism would have no other choice to justify what they are receiving other than by engaging in areas that are found to be intrusive. At the same time it is possible to conclude that since there is a shortage of well-trained personnel, they have no choice other than to use their sworn officers who cannot be replaced easily by new recruits creating a void in local policing.
There are not yet reports on how this new introduction is affecting the various communities, but the reality is the coming into the picture of homeland security has averted resources and personnel to tracking terrorism related activities. The main concern this new activity created more than anything else is, those who are tracking terrorism activities will end up trespassing individuals’ privacy (U.S. News, 3).
Preventive PolicingWhat this highlights is despite how they are responding to it, the traditional police force members have two fronts to fight. The first one that they were familiar with and were engaged in, preventive policing could suffer if they have to focus more on the new introduction, which is homeland security that has money earmarked to it for those who want to undertake it effectively. The questions that need addressing in the future are there is enough proof that the national police force has managed to divide its resources and capabilities for the two areas. Since the homeland security is a new field it will be difficult to spot the shortcomings created or whether the implementation is effective or not.
But when it comes to traditional policing where the priority focuses on the visible presence of patrols in the communities that is proven to have a deterring effect and fast response after receiving a report about a crime are going to suffer, simply because they are not going to be dealt effectively since there is already a shortage of personnel. From the number of officers who will be dispatched to a crime scene, to the number officers manning the police cars and to the number of officers assigned to investigate each occurrence had come down, which means the effectiveness of what they are doing had been already compromised. What attests to this is the fact that some neighborhoods that have a higher rate of criminal activities have started patrolling their own streets. The finding is many localities dependent on the presence of the police force already have felt the constraints.
Even if there might not be data yet to show what this split of duty is causing, from a research done some years back in Kansas city it is possible to see what preventive policing would mean to any given community, simply because it is vital. There are crimes such as residence and non-residence burglary that could be prevented or contained if there is a regular presence of police in the areas, because the forces have adequate training to spot suspicious activities through their patrolling process. Auto thefts, larcenies of all kind, robberies, and vandalism are areas of activity that are preventable to a good extent. Nevertheless, when there is a shortage of the deterring process there is no reason why they would not go rampant.
Activities the force was engaged in such as dealing and educating juvenile offenders, dealing with citizens’ fear, public exposure to the role of the police, and the police public relation with the community will suffer if not put on the backburner and become the thing of the past when the forces have to chase a federal grant that they might need badly since they had always been short in resources. The problem here is alleviating their shortage since it is resulting in deteriorating their service to the point where citizens themselves are out in big number policing their own communities. It is important to draw a line somewhere by introducing a method of sharing the responsibility equitably even if it might mean to come up with a totally new department to deal with the homeland security. In reality that might be the best way to go into the future since there is enough money to create a new force from the ground up eventually.
Until that is possible, since it is an emergency that came into existence, it requires dealing with by utilizing the available means in spite of the constraint it is creating, yet it is not without its adverse repercussions that will have to be looked at (Police Foundation, 4). Conclusion and the Future of the Police ForceIt was possible to indicate what the police force suffered because of the introduction of new responsibilities on top of the resource shortage the force had to cope with in order to meet its expectations. It was possible to demonstrate that in the future, once this emergency is over there is a need to come up with a solution where what the police force that has a resource constraints was availing to society should not be compromised in anyway. For now, since there is no one better equipped and prepared to handle the responsibility than the police force, the Department of Justice and Homeland Securities will have no other choice other than involving them.
Some had suggested to use the various military units but it was found to be impractical simply because when it comes to switching duty, especially with what is taking place currently around the globe, where the military itself had been failing to meet its recruiting goal, it will put it in a much worse jeopardy than the police. Hence, there is no better choice than the police force, but that does not mean the diversion of resources and the presence of the force in the communities that they are hired in would have to encounter a dire consequence simply because many of the preventable crimes would go rampant, since there will not be anyone in place to put a check on them. What this would ensue is as long as the resource is available from the Justice Department, there is no reason why they cannot recruit new unit. The new unit could either be trained by the army or the police force and could be independent and without compromising what both forces are doing currently or in the future, simply because the disappearing of the police force from the scene of the various venues they used to be present visibly has created voids.
As well as it is possible to say the public had been going without the protection it needs, even if what took them away is also more important because of its devastating nature as it was seen from what happened on September 11. That would mean, the future police force should resemble what it was before the coming into existence of the homeland security responsibility that complicated its duties and undermined what it was doing for the communities it was serving. At the same time problems of finding new recruits had been spotted that could be attributed to not meeting the requirement that might not be very stringent when seen from the point of the responsibility that the new recruits are dealing with. Some work is required in that area also, to come up with a means of attracting new recruits that might require raising the pay.
Alternatively, some of the methods used to bring them to par with those who fail to meet the requirements of the hiring procedure might solve the problem. Some have said the heroic involvement of the police force and the fire department in what took place in September 11 had contributed in the boosting of the image and social status of the force. That is also another area that requires work, where working for the force will also have to have some kind of social status that goes with it, resulting in making the force attractive where many young people will be willing to join the force. REFERENCE Rand Corporation.
Police Personnel Challenge after September 11. Retrieved on December 10, 2007 from www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/2005/RAND_OP154.
pdfU. S. Department of Justice. Use of Force by Police.
Retrieved on December 10, 2007 from www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1-nij-176330-1.pdfU.
S. News. Nation & World. Spies among Us.
(2006) Retrieved on December 10, 2007 from www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/060508/8homeland.htmPolice Foundation.
Preventive Patrol Experience, Kansas. Retrieved on December 10, 2007 from www.policefoundation.org/pdf/kcppe.pdf
Cite this Current and Future Policing
Current and Future Policing. (2017, Mar 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/current-and-future-policing/