The Criminal Justice, Essay Example
This is a system which aims at achieving full partnership between the police and the community it serves that is directed towards identifying and where possible eradicating crimes and disorders at the local level. Under community policing, it is perceived that the criminal acts and disorder committed in any given locality are the joint responsibility of the community and the police. In this case the community plays the role of the client while the police play the role of the service deliverer. The members of the particular community are therefore expected to contribute in different aspects to ensure that the public policy is shaped according to a cooperative and interactive relationship (Leighton, 1991).
Community policing goals
Community policing is a simple enterprise that is however applied differently by different police agencies. Regardless of the agency applying it, there are several missionary goals and principles that govern its operation in any given community. The goals are:
- Reducing fear among citizens
- Increase satisfaction among citizens about the police, and
- Improving communication techniques between the community and the police (Riechers, 1990).
The principles by which the community policing operates are:
- Community building
- Establishing cooperation and he required trust between the police and the community (Peak, 1992).
Community Policing Research
The assessment and measure of the community policing programs is what constitutes the mechanism for evaluating the strategies employed in community policing. Just as in social research, measuring of people’s attitudes is problematic.
Community policing has effects upon crimes and it should also be noted that the implementers are affected in one way or the other. A decrease in crimes in a given community is a positive thing and a key feature but it should however be understood that for any worthwhile and effective implementation of any given program, the implementers must be persons who are able, who know and who are concerned for its success. Any assessment should also, therefore, take into consideration the impact the program has on the attitudes, roles and perceptions of the officers (Peak, 1992).
Taking the Community Profile Development analysis that was carried about in San Diego that took place in 1975 as an example, it was found that officers attitude changes. In this case the officers who had participated in the community policing program were put in comparison with those who had not been assigned to the program. The results showed that both groups of officers showed slight decline in the satisfaction with the assignment currently. These differences however were insignificant. It was however found that the officers who had previously participated in the community policing program were easier to say that their job was interesting whereas those that did not participate in the community policing were easier to say that their job was frustrating (Peak, 1992).
A similar study was carried out in Cincinnati in the year 1977 and was aimed at evaluating the team policing program that had been implemented a few months earlier. The officers here reported increases in job breadth that were favorable. They also reported increased independence and influence over the making of decision while carrying out their assignments. It is however not documented that there was any evidence to indicate increase in job satisfaction among the police officers involved. In addition there was no increased perception or positive interaction between the police force and the community (Schwartz, 1977).
Research based on the outcome given by the police in Boston Police Department revealed that, after four years since the reallocation to foot patrol of 300 officers there existed no association between the calls for service and the new patrols. Statistically speaking the violent crimes did not change as expected in these areas (Schwartz, 1977). In fact, street robberies increased at a normal rate while the disturbances continued to fluctuate. It was however noted that, the number of commercial robberies reduced considerably. The general conclusion derived from such a statistical analysis was that the community policing did not have consistent effect to the crimes thus questioning the effectiveness of the strategy (Greene, 1988).
In Houston, a study showed that calls for service dropped by a massive 44% just six months after the introduction of the intensive community policing program. There was a reduction of 12 % in Part I crime. Some neighborhoods recorded a decrease in one type of crime but still recorded higher incidences of the other crimes. In other neighborhoods, a decrease in one type of a crime led to the eventual reduction in all crimes.
Community policing problems
The implementation of community policing programs is a strategy that has had several beneficial and desirable impacts on the community at large in matters that relate on the security of people. The difficulty, however, of defining the community policing in specific terms and the theoretical aspects it upholds is what has generated arguments suggesting that it is based on a set of principles and philosophy that is vague.
There have been arguments on the general orientation of the police forces. It has been argued that police force just like all other forces contain members who are used to receiving order and working on their execution. Shifting from the quasi-military state of chain command to a non-authoritarian, low structure design has been seen as a considerably giant leap.
In order to ensure success in the move to have community policing achieve most if not all objectives for which it was designed, the police department will have to alter and where possible eradicate some of their reward structure so as to take into consideration the effort of individual persons that come out successful in what they do as far community policing programs are concerned (Schwartz, 1977).
The community in which the community policing program is being implemented is a factor that is very crucial to the success of the program. The police department requires full support and cooperation from he members of the community who will b affected by the program. Lack of cooperation simply means that the police will find it harder to get the particular information they need so as to ensure they meet the objectives of the program. There must be a need in the community in order for the program to be supported otherwise any strategies targeted at the programs will be a chase after the wind. The community is always placed in a better position to identify the criminals within them and forward them to the authorities. It is indeed true that it might be harder for a given police officer to identify a criminal be from a group of people unless that police officer has good knowledge of the character of all the people in that particular group. The members of a neighborhood however have the unique advantage of knowing the members of a given community as a result of the contact (Schwartz, 1977).
Finally, it is important for the police involved in the community policing to have higher educational qualification or should be qualified field related to how to engage with the community.
This is a security body that was formed to deal with the internal threats that affect the United States of America. These threats may have causes or roots in areas outside the territory the USA territories but that does not limit the involvement of the Homeland security department. It is mandated to deal with a wide range of criminal cases such as those that involve controversial homicides, drug trafficking and terrorist threats to national security (Berkow, 2004).
Homeland security has in the past been applauded for doing a good job in ensuring safety to most citizens of the United States of America by reducing the level of crimes from organized gangs who happen to occupy streets in some corners of the cities that were previously considered as no-go zones for security officers (Berkow, 2004). In Los Angeles, for example, it is reported that homeland security is responsible for the reduction of the street crime by about 5%; this was in collaboration with the Los Angeles Police Department (Berkow, 2004).
The good work done by the department has however been out shadowed, in some instances, by the criticism directed towards the department after officers in the department have been found to have links with the terror groups. This has been described as one of the obstacles encountered in dealing with the criminals operating in the USA. Such officers have been reported of diverting some critical investigative information to the criminals which has been used to evade and avoid potential police traps and ambushes (Berkow, 2004).
It has been reported that drug trafficking gangs for example have some of the senior officers in the department on their pay rolls which has further frustrated efforts to deal with the drug traffickers. The senior officers have been reported to transfer most of their junior employees who have identified the potential linkages between certain drug traffickers and the senior officers (Berkow, 2004).
In some unexpected instances, there have bee reported cases of sympathizers for terrorist groups being in the homeland security department. This has been identified after the September 11 disaster which caused more strict measures being undertaken to root out such sympathizers. Al-Qaeda sympathizers have been found in the force and these have been accused of divulging some crucial information to the terrorist which has enabled them to further there plot inside the United States of America. This has in the past created a serious trust issue between the general public and the homeland security for it is hard to know whether or not an officer is compromised (Berkow, 2004).
The infiltration of terrorist sympathizers into the police force of the United States has been described as the most serious case of internal threats. These infiltrates will always compromise the efforts to ensure a secure environment in which the criminals have been eliminated as long as they still remain on the pay rolls of the terrorist gangs or drug trafficking gangs. This therefore calls for serious re-evaluation of the recruiting procedures and a thorough scrutiny of the officers’ behavior (Berkow, 2004).
In order to ensure successful achievement of all of the objectives in the security of the US, it is imperative to get rid of the potential let downs from within. This can be achieved by screening and monitoring the calls made by suspected officers. Such calls may point towards the terrorists group overseas that the officers communicate with. This can easily be done in collaboration wit the phone services providers.
Stress in Law Enforcement
Stress is a natural part of all human beings since all people have stressors that increase anxiety at different times. Police forces, just like other forces, experience stress as a result of the job they undertake. Ensuring security for the general public can be stressing affair especially when it involves dealing with matters the various degree in terms the type of crime caused and the various legal proceedings one may be forced to get involved in (Drzewiecki, 2002).
Alleviating such stress is one of the measures the government has taken to ensure that the police force performs its duties diligently as expected. This if successful will always increase service delivery from the police departments. Stressed police force always result in reduced effectiveness and is therefore lowly depended upon to deliver the best services for the majority of the public.
The stress in officers is normally caused by the challenging encounters they find themselves in and these may also result in related states such as depression or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Drzewiecki, 2002). These can result in the loss of psyche among the police officers as they undertake their daily duties of protecting the public which might lead to the criminals taking advantage of the situation.
Stressed police officers may resort to excessive drinking that may cause them to become vulnerable to attack. This can easily result in the death of the police officers for they may be caught unawares by deadly criminals. The stress can also cause the police officers to act in an unprofessional manner which may lead to breaking the code of conduct of the police. It has been reported in many states cases of police officers going on shooting spree in which innocent lives have been lost. These officers have later been found to be suffering from excess stress (Drzewiecki, 2002).
It is therefore a government’s obligation to ensure that the officers in the various departments are as healthy as possible. This can be achieved by carrying out stress-related training and counseling for the officers and especially for those who spent most of the time in stress prone environments. This will not only ensure the security for the general public but also for the families of the officers involved (Drzewiecki, 2002).
Berkow, M. (2004). “Homeland security: The Internal Terrorists.” Retrieved on 12/01/11 from, <http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index>
Drzewiecki, S. (2002). Survival Stress in Law Enforcement. Transverse City Police Department.
Greene, J. (1986). “Community-Based Policing and Foot Patrol: Issues of Theory and Evaluation.” Community Policing: Rhetoric or Reality.
Leighton, N. (1991). “Visions of Community Policing: Rhetoric and Reality in Canada.” Canadian Journal of Criminology 33(3) 485-522.
Peak, K. (1992). “Improving Citizen Perceptions of the Police: ‘Back to the Basics’ with A Community Policing Strategy.” Journal of Criminal Justice 20: 25-40.
Riechers, M. (1990). “Community Policing: A Critical Review of Underlying Assumptions.” Journal of Police Science and Administration 17(2): 105-114.
Schwartz, A. (1977) The Cincinnati Team Policing Experiment: A Summary Report. Washington D.C.: Police Foundation
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