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Modern Day Policing and Society: Where Are We Headed?
Policing in America has continually progressed and evolved to find stability sandwiched between guarding the rights assured by the United State Constitution and maintaining law and order while serving and guarding. There is three universally recognized era of policing the political era, the reform era, and the community policing era (Stone &Travis, 2013). The Political era (1840-1930), this is a period where the police were under the governorship of politicians. The reform era (1930-1980), in this period the police addressed crime issues using technological machines like emergency response systems. During this era, community problems were not considered as the responsibilities of the police (Hasmath & Hsu, 2015). The last era, the era of community policing (1980-present), unlike the second era, his era was aimed at addressing crime and all the community problems that may arise.
The Reform Era
During this era, a crime control system was created and there was centralization of the police department. As noted earlier, police were not responsible for the crime issues that were community-based. The police were more concerned with aggressive policing and change in technology saw the emergence of the patrolling car which led to a decline in response times of calls for service (Stone &Travis, 2013). There was more advanced technology like the coming of 911 which reduced the time response further. This era necessitated professional being hired as police and it was considered a good paying job. Due to the centralized police department, it was easy to dispatch help timely and police activities were organized in a better way. This era saw a decline in crime mainly due to the advancement in technology and the hiring of highly trained professional. Constricting police purposes to crime combat was very essential (Hasmath & Hsu, 2015).
However, the era meets challenges especially on how the police would maintain their efficiency in dealing with crime. The technology becomes too expensive to maintain, the equipment like the 911 system, computer-aided dispatch (Raco, 2016) This did not only fail significantly in crime control but the public did not have any faith in their police especially in areas of combating crime. Another weakness of this era was the increase in fear among the citizen in the cities. It was evident how the public abandoned parks, public transportation, and even shopping centers and it was worse because even in cities where the crime was low, fear was noted to be high. It was in this era when there were police ill-treatment and unsatisfactory services especially to the minority group, the blacks in particular (Raco, 2016). The reform era was incompetent in transforming to the shifting of social conditions of the 1960s and 1970s.
The community era
This era was brought up by the fear that was experienced in the reform era. Research conducted had indicated that reduction of fear was as a result of foot patrol and the involvement of the citizens. In earlier eras, police were not responsible in dealing with the community-based problems and this portrayed the police as an approachable and a group that never cared about the citizens (Miller, Hess & Orthmann, 2013). These changes in police approach created intimacy between the police and the citizens, where police maintain their roles and also entails the involvement of the community to accomplish those tasks.
The community era brought the community together because it required the cooperation of the community and the police force and the common goal of making the community a better place would be accomplished. Crime control would be effective since the public would comfortably and confidentially share information to the police and the police would promptly react on the information given (Miller, Hess & Orthmann, 2013). Community era helped the citizen to be more confident with the police thus raising the citizen level of satisfaction with the police services offered to them. Decisions were made in close consultation with the communities and the police and this not only made easy for their fulfillment but it was easily accepted (Stone &Travis, 2013). The community era brought life back to the public; quality life was experienced and lived.
The community era has its own shortcoming which included a struggle of power where some citizens may engage in community policing for the wrong reasons. Some people may take advantage and use their position for their own gain and not minding the welfare of the community at large (Miller, Hess & Orthmann, 2013). Also, crime may be encouraged in that the victims may hide in the community policing laws where the punishment may not be too harsh are compared of the police. The large community may even hide the victims because of the relations and this will, in the end, hurting the community in a huge way (Miller, Hess & Orthmann, 2013). Decision making may take long since not at all time will people agree on the same things even when are from a particular community. Different people have different ideas and opinions and the majority is not always right, meaning minority groups will end up being sidelined.
Issues facing law enforcement today
Local law enforcement deals with the fear of anti-terrorism which is happening so often. It is the role of law enforcement to critically gather intelligence and get ready for the likelihood of an occurrence. Superior specified drilling will be mandatory to compact with the terrorist who employs high-powered arms, explosives and other attacks. Another issue is the recruitment and retention of officers (Hobday, Maxwell, Forgie, & McDonald, 2013). The deficiency is mainly due to the availability of other higher-paying opportunities, condensed pension welfares, understaffing, and the fear of committing inaccuracy that may result in criminal prosecution. When informal control practices are effective, the police will seem extremely operative in crime stoppage and deal efficiently and legitimately with the crime and disorder that do happen (Miller, Hess & Orthmann, 2013).
The future policing
A reshuffle of police is happening under private and government departments with the expectation that it will bring significant effects on public safety, equity, human right, and answerability. The powerful forces behind program reshuffle are fear of crime, the incapability of government to gratify society’s yearning for security, the growth of mass private property, and cultural individualism (Hobday, Maxwell, Forgie, & McDonald, 2013). American law administration faces numerous trials from combating global and internal violence, cybercrimes, to building justifiable functioning affiliation with the communities they work for. There is a need to dive into history learn about jurisdictional duties and law enforcement policies connected with federal, state, and native law enforcement actions (Caldero, 2014).
The Public role in policing
Among other functions of the police is the crime control role which is considered as the most important one and where public participation is essentially needed. Just like in community policing, police will greatly depend on the participation of the public in combating the crime in the society (Miller, Hess & Orthmann, 2013). A society that closely and willingly works with the police help in crime prevention and reduces the level of fear among the citizen. This relationship with common goals will make the society and communities safer for all the occupants. Policing works best with the full support of the community thus public involvement (Brown, 2013).
Police officers are mandatorily obligated to uphold the law enforcement ethics as well-defined by the International Association of Chief of Police. These ethical issues in law enforcement include the officers’ off-duty life, upholding the law and your rights, using necessary force, acting impartially and proofing (Huey, Nhan, & Broll, 2013). Even with the constant struggle to uphold these stipulated ethical issues, the officers try hard to live their lives to a higher standard than most of the other citizens. It is important for the public to be aware of these ethical issues that the police struggle to uphold for a better future.
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