Policing In The Current Era Of High-End Crime
The policemen and women have over the time been at the heart of maintaining law and order in the society. The police have been the agents of ensuring that law and order are upheld in the interaction of people within the society. However, with the changing society comes new challenges that the police force is being subjected to in their line of duty. Traditionally, the police force has solely been charged with the task of enforcing the law. However, with the changing society, the police are now playing the role of arbitrators and counselors not to mention the challenge of facing new forms of crimes for example terrorism. Besides, there has been a constant improvement in technology advancement, and this has led to a technology-based crime being at the fore front and in response, there has been an increased integration of technology in the policing undertakings. With the ever changing society, the police force is now facing huge challenges that are made worse due to their greatest depth of unpredictably. It is therefore of great importance for the police force to be aware of how the society is changing if they are to provide protection to the people and uphold law and order. In the same line of thought, this paper outlines how the challenges present and expected in policing in the current era and how the police force should realign accordingly to better dispense their mandate.
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Policing Then and Now
The way the police force has changed drastically over the last 50 years where there have been intentional changes in the force in the line of helping the police to handle the ever growing challenges. In the early days policing heavily relied on the evidence collected by the officers on the field. Moreover, there was also limited resources that saw the police rely on the use of force as the primary tool for maintaining law and order. Moreover, there was reduced contact between the police force and the general public a phenomenon that heavily undermined the ability to collect information in the line of countering and preventing crime. However, in the current era, crime has been on the rise regarding being sophisticated, unpredictable and random. Moreover, in the context of the American society, the police force has changed from being a force that was reactive in the past to a proactive one under the current era. Of importance were the changes enacted in the security docket after the 9/11 attack where the police force is now heavily involved in community policing more than ever.
Besides in the current era, policing is now being centered upon intelligence-led policing. (ILP), community-oriented policing (COP) and lastly problem-oriented policing (POP). Also, another noticeable change has been in the integration of technology under the platform of surveillance where police now have the access to eye-bird view of different communities of interest. Moreover, there has been increased access to heavy weaponry by the police force. All these realignments have been intentionally made by the Homeland Security docket in an attempt to ensure that law and order are maintained not to mention meeting the duty of protection.
The changes witnessed in the police force has led to the police force feeling overwhelmed as a result of increased demands a phenomenon highly associated with increased population leading to low police-citizen ratio. Moreover, the risk involved has been on the rise with the police force now being targeted as seen in the recent case of Dallas where five police officers were intentionally targeted and killed in the line of duty. It is these cases accompanied with low pay and mandatory long working hours that have seen the turnover rates among the police force rise further plugging the security sector into the serious problem of handling increased element of criminal activities with a shrinking police force in comparison to the rising population. Another action that has led to the rise of stress levels among the police officers is the political interference whereby the police chiefs are randomly chosen based on political considerations. Besides, it is also the politics of a particular jurisdiction that comes up with laws that the police force enforced some of which they are never consulted.
However, the primary stressor to the law enforcement officers is the increasing rate of terrorism activities where the police are now ever on the lookout for any terror-related activities. It is respect for this type of crime that surveillance on the Muslim community has been on the rise where the police are heavily involved in community policing. To curb this vice, police officers have been forced to work around the clock leading to long shifts that are rarely accompanied by improved pay. Besides, handling this form of crime have seen police officers expose themselves to high risks due to the extreme characters involved in this type of crime. It is, therefore, evident that with an ever changing and growing society, the police force is now faced with new challenges some of which are beyond the training kit. It is therefore of great importance to sensitize the police force of the changes within the society and come up with empowering strategies that will motivate the police force and enable to play their role in a diligent manner.
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Operational and Administrative Police Functions
In the line of ensuring a smooth running if the police force, the force is structured in a manner that different police officers perform different roles in the disciplined force. Moreover, it is the demand in the field that dictates how the police force handles operational and administrative roles. With the changing nature of the crime and increasing population, the police force has significantly integrated technology in their line of duty. There different gear ranging from communication to surveillance that has been introduced to help the small number of police officers cover a bigger geographical area. Moreover, in respected to terrorism, the police force is more proactive whereby they closely monitor terror suspects to ensure that they do not get an opportunity to proceed with their intentions. Besides, due to the highly level of sophistication in the criminal act brought about by improved technology within the society, the police force has also hired technocrats who are mandated in deducing scrambled codes into actionable variables that police officers can work on.
Besides, the current era of high-end crime has impacted the functioning of the police force into becoming a force that is centered on the collection of intelligence. This has necessitated the use of cutting edge technology where police officers have real-time surveillance video feed in their command centers that helps the officers on the ground track down a suspect. Moreover, police agencies have resulted to community policing where the officers and the general public work together to safeguard law and order. Moreover, this nature of crime in the society has led to administrative procedural and policy changes to better manage law and order in a society experiencing information age. Nowadays the police force procedures are intelligence led meaning that no action is taken in light of a particular incidence unless there is enough intelligence. This is the rationale behind sending police officers on secret missions commonly known as undercover. Once there is enough evidence, relevant procedures and policies are taken up. In respect of this approach, there has been an intentional investment in technology where the aim is to have a collection of systems that enhances the ability of the officers to act on a particular incidence at the right time.
In the same line of thought, the high-end crime has necessitated the change in operational procedures and policies where there has been an increased use of aerial surveillance during field operations. Security officers have time to time been lured into an ambush and to minimize these cases; there has been the adoption of drone services which gives the field officers a bird view of the crime scene. Moreover, with the increased funding by the Homeland Security docket, there is the use of SWAT team in many operations which are better trained and equipped to handle dangerous and complicated crime actions. More and more police department have a SWAT team that any other time in American police history a shift that has been necessitated by the level and nature of the crime in the current era.
Despite all these upgrades in the policing policies, more need to be done to improve intelligence collection to better curb incidences of mass shootings, police ambush, and terror-related actions. In future, there is the need to enhance the intelligence collection procedures whereby any person on the watch list will be followed closely to minimize unaccounted time in which the use to arm themselves and later commit crimes. The administrative arm, on the other hand, will need to come up with a curriculum that will empower the police officers into understanding the variables and the dynamics involved in the current nature of the crime. Utilizing these platforms will be helpful in realigning the police force into a more pro-active and evidence-driven force.
Recruiting, Hiring, and Training
In any organization, having the right employees is a crucial step towards the formation of a team that is effective. Besides, it is through recruiting, hiring and training that an organization can identify and capture the right personnel that will be in a position to handle the expected tasks diligently. In the same line of thought, recruitment, hiring and training procedures are crucial in the police force as they provide a platform where the right police candidates are chosen. Recruitment, hiring, and training has changed over time with the police force moves from being a brutal force to disciplined forces. Initially, the recruitment process was keen on hiring and training people with great built. In other words, for one to be selected as a potential candidate, the physic played a huge role. However, the police force nowadays is keen to ensure that the people recruited are both physically and intellectually strong. This is in the appreciation that crime has taken the route of being centered on trickery rather than plain brutal force. Also, there has been a change of tactics where in the recruitment process, some of the individuals taken in have predetermined and the special role that they are trained to play for example an analyst. This has changed both the term of engagement and approach in the police force as it tries to keep up with a very dynamic society.
On the other hand, the high-end crime has had the police force change both the hiring and training practices. One of the primary way in which the high-end crime has influenced recruitment practice is the number of recruits taken in by the force as they try to improve the police-civilian index. Due to the expanding population, there has been a shift that falls under the demand and supplies context. Moreover, to ensure a thorough community policing, increasing the number of police officers has been a strategy that has been actualized within the force. Another component of the current high-end crime is the level of sophistication involved, and this has led to the police force changing the training program where police officers are now taken through a thorough training in psychology and criminology. Moreover, it now a common practice in training for police recruits to learn methods of effective communication since the force is no aimed at channeling efforts towards community policing where a police officer has to collaborate with the public.
Besides, police officers are now training on critical thinking, analytical methods and matters of being culturally competent. This is in line with the newly expanded responsibility that a police officer is now playing in this era. However, in the line of keeping up with the new era of complex criminal behavior, the human face of the police force must be improved. Recent cases of black people being killed for no god reason has tainted the image of the force and has made them being seen as outsiders to some communities rather than part of the society. In appreciation of this factor, there is the need to have a curriculum that instills ethical behavior among the officers. This can be done by having a curriculum that is keen in making the police force an integral part of the society whose actions is centered upon disciplined actions aimed at promoting the relationship between the force and public. It is out of police officers behaving ethically that they can gain the trust of different communities that enable them in intelligence collection vital in crime prevention.
Use of Force
Use of force is another component that has changed in the police force over the time as a result of changing the face of the police from an era where force was the primary tool for maintaining law and order in an era of community policing where officers work together with the general public. In the early days, police brutality was a common phenomenon where the police constantly used brutal force as a means of fighting crime. LAPD was one of the divisions known for legal force a vice that only changed with the pubic riot that led to the formation of the Christopher Commission. A good case of historical brutal force is the case of Rodney King in the year 1991 that happened in Los Angeles. Police were video tapped beating Rodney King with batons a beating that continued for more than 50 times. This resulted in a massive riot that was even magnified when the jury released the officers involved. However, the society has played a critical role in minimizing the police brutality with recent riots dubbed Black Life Matters being a good way that the society has influenced the change.
The use of force is a relative topic with some realities in the fight against the high level of crime attracting the element of force if the police officers are to help maintain law and order. High-level crime needs to be prevented at all cost since the repercussions of these actions are very severe. A good example is the war against terrorism where a mistake by the police force can lead to significant loss life. Therefore a considerable amount of force may be applied in the line of collecting intelligence that if collected safeguards a nation from more major loss of both human and property. When the society is unwilling to cooperate with the police on such a case, a force that is consistent with the constitution might be applied at a tool towards gaining the needed cooperation.
However, the use of civic force has not been the norm in the police force as demonstrated in the recent case of Michael Brown. As a result, to ensure a more disciplined police force, increased potential for civil liability has played a hindrance role in curbing the vice among the police officers. If investigation demonstrates that the force used by a particular officer was out of order and was inappropriate, then the concerned officer is taken through a litigation process. If found guilty, then it does not matter that the acts were committed in the line of duty and the officer is sentenced. As a result of this approach, there have been minimized the use of brutal force, and this has seen police officers handle cases in a very civil manner.
The main service delivered by the police force is maintaining law and order, and the do so through, investigation and arresting the wrong doers. Moreover, the police force also prevents the occurrence of a crime through sensitizing the public against such behaviors in different meetings. In the current era, the police forced has been forced to play a more pro-active role under community policing. Moreover, working for long hours has been the norm as the police try and manage the security demands of growing and changing society. However in the line of ensuring a more effective and efficient service delivery, in the coming times the police force need to realign the service delivery in a manner that meets the behavior of a particular community. In other words, services delivery need to reflect the varying needs and not having a blanket way of doing things. This will not only help the police maintain law and order but also do it in a manner that wins the confidence of the concerned community. The police force has changed its tactics on service delivery to conform to the current high-end crime whereby there has been a deliberate use of technology as a means of ensuring that the police have an accurate way of providing their services on time.
It is evident that the society is expected to continue changing and thereby posing different challenges to the police force. Moreover, with the improved technology, more and more sophisticated crime are expected, and thus the police force needs to realign accordingly. There is also the eventuality of improved awareness among public on their rights and therefore the need for the police officers to be fully aware of ethical considerations in their line of duty. It also expected that other new high-end crime would have emerged where it will be even harder to trace back the action to the culprit. Over and above, there is the population growth that will demand more officers or shift hours, and this is a demand that the police force needs to realign itself to in a proactive manner.
In meeting these demands, the police force needs to ensure that their actions are guided by the demands of the public and therefore an improved collaboration between the police and the public need to be upheld. Moreover, a continued integration of high-end technology is needed to see to it that the police officers are in a position to deliver tailor-made services guided by collected intelligence. Over and above, the human face of the police force is a factor that needs to be improved to ensure that the public has confidence in the police force since this is the only way the public will collaborate with the officers towards an eventuality of improved security.
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