In America Law enforcement has been a work in progress, it endures considerate changes to realize the balance between safeguarding rights of the citizens as per the constitution and maintaining law and order as well as protecting serving the people. Policing is dynamic, and a complex field that always changes as hard lessons are learned from policies which work and those that do not work. to understand better about the role of policing in the society, it is important to know the history and how policing has evolved to become what it is in currently. This paper explores the evolution of law enforcement and the effectiveness of some of the policing strategies.
Eras of Policing
Policing has developed through various economic, social and political forces over a long time, up to date there are three eras in American policing which are recognized. These include reform Era, political Era, and community Era.
The Political Era
As a result of industrial developments in the cities of united states since the 1800s to 1920s, the government established policing. During this era, police officers represented the local leaders in every location they patrolled, at this moment there was no system of law enforcement, and therefore, police were hired and managed by the local political leaders. The main function of policing during this era was to offer a range of social services to every politician's neighborhood. Department of police was decentralized, police patrolled the are bicycle or foot. They worked by establishing relationships with the local shop owners and people who worked within the neighborhood they were assigned to (Stevens 2017). Their main purpose was to serve the citizens as per the needs of local political leaders. Call box was used as a means of communication to report to the stationhouse. Policing in this era involved cases of corruption, the departments of police enforced the law with an iron fist, those who committed crimes were heavily punished, police officers could carry out their duties with brutal treatment for whoever disrupted the law. Suspects were tortured by the police to confess. As a result of prohibition, organized crimes developed leading to widespread corruption.
During this era of American policing, the government developed a crime-controlled model; from this moment police departments were centralized. Police officers performed their duties professionally, a distance their relationship with the community began arose. Technology had improved, police used motor vehicles to carry out their duties and as a result response time for emergencies and reduced. For example, the use of the emergency number "911" increased and police response time reduced. The aim of policing during this era was to control criminal offenses using visible police vehicles at peak hours. Policing at this era began to be a profession; police officers were trained and earned better income. Scientific technologies were used to solve crime issues, through this method. Law enforcement was more efficient in this era.
The Community Era
Community era encompasses the method of crime-control as well as offering community service through the collaboration of the police officers and the citizens to help in law enforcement. The policing strategy went back to decentralization and development of special police department for community policing. During this era, police efforts were focused on rebuilding the relationship between the local police departments and the community. People were encouraged to work in hand with the local police department to help in controlling criminal acts (Cox et al. 2018)
Essential Skills and Training of Police Officers in Academy Police Academy Training
It is very important for a police officer to poses certain qualities to ensure efficient and successful policing in society. In police training academy, trainees are enrolled to participate in various training facilities. To ensure that police officer provide quality and effective services today and the future, they are trained to have the following skills;
Adaptability- police officers are trained to be adaptable and flexible not only to the changes in technologies and social climate but also to individual circumstances. They are trained to adapt, anticipate and overcome day-to-day policing challenges.
Observation and critical thinking- police officers are trained to develop abilities that enable them to quickly capture and analyze facts through effective observation and proper way of collecting information; this enables them to make sound decisions.
Conflict resolution- conflict is a primary challenge in law enforcement. Therefore trainees are enrolled in conflict resolution programs to help them learn how to cope with problem-solving situations professionally. Police officers are taken through various tutorials for problem-solving which include community-based problem solving and Scanning, Analysis, Response Ans Assessment (SARA). If for example, a police officer is called to respond to an argument regarding civilians, he or she must be able to handle the situation to achieve an amicable solution professionally.
Principles of Community Policing
Trust and effectiveness are crucial in policing as well as the people protected through law enforcement agencies. It is essential to maintain principles of community policing to ensure stability in the society and the transparency in the criminal justice system. Here are some of the importance of principles of community policing and how they relate to the traditional way of policing:
1. Foster trust
Principles of policing have helped to uplift the level of trust between the community and the police officers. The community plays an important role in the concept of community policing, political leaders act as the central building blocks of trust within their communities and therefore encouraging law enforcement agencies to carry out their duties effectively. This concept differs from the traditional of policing where police the community and the police officers had some distances, the relationship, and trust between the community and police officer was shallow; making law enforcement strategies more complex. This led to a brutal way of law enforcement (Kappeler & Gaines 2015).
2. Prioritize community engagement
Law enforcement agencies and city officials should prioritize community governance and the wellness of the people. This is achieved by sustaining and building the type of laws that is focused on community engagement. This involves a considerate collaboration between the citizens and police agencies to encourage a culture for embracing policing that protects and promote the dignity of all the citizens. In traditional policing strategies, police officers prioritized the needs of their political leaders who acted as their bosses. They focused on following their orders and carried out their duties as with iron fist.
3. Decentralized and Personalized Policing
To implement transparent community policing, law enforcement agencies have to come up with new strategies of an officer who works as a direct connection between the community and the police departments. Police officers who serve as community policing agents are freed from the separation of patrol vehicles as well the radio demands to engage in direct interaction with the people fully. This concept of policing is very formed for traditional principles of policing; police officers did not engage directly with the community. Their law required them to only focus on criminal offenses.
Solving Problem Model (SARA)
SARA is a model of problem-solving in policing; it stands for Scanning, analysis, responses, and assessment. This technique is commonly used in community-based policing; its goal is to focus on community involvement regarding law enforcement and its relationship with the crime. The importance of each step is as follows:
Scanning- this step deals with searching for the issues the frequently occur in the community, it involves data analysis on the type of crimes that reoccur as well as where and when do they occur. It also considers the community's view concerning the problem. This policy helps in acquiring sufficient information before making any decision (Schuck 2017)
Analysis- this stage involves analyzing a problem. The reported crimes are analyzed, and the members of the community are consulted to find out the cause of the problem. This step is very important in uncovering the root cause of a problem through the proper investigation which involves the community.
Response- once the cause of a particular problem has been determined, the police department can respond to it together with the community. This strategy is relevant in a way that the cause of a problem is traced in detailed, the problem is solved in collaboration, and preventive measures are established.
Assessment- this step involves the evaluation of actions that the community and law enforcement agency engaged in solving the problem. This step aims to ensure the effectiveness of the measure that has been taken to solve the problem. This step helps in making the adjustments to the correctional measure if found to be applicable and appropriate.
Qualities of Undercover and Detective Police Officers
Undercover and police detective operations are crucial in the investigation and organization of the criminal justice system. These group of police officers must have sufficient and the most necessary qualities to carry their duties (Liu & Taylor 2017). These qualities include
Fast in problem-solving
This group of police officers is required to be fast in problem-solving; they must have all the necessary skills for handling criminal cases to provide sufficient and transparent evidence regarding a particular case. This ability can help in identifying a lead to a criminal offense especially when it comes to terror attacks, evidence to find the attackers is usually tricky. Therefore, a detective is undercover police working on a case like this requires to be fast in coping with these situations. He or she must be able to act firmly during an emergency.
Ability to follow orders
This group of police officers must be disciplined and ready to follow orders. Before police officers graduate, they are trained to follow orders and accomplish their assigned duties as expected. A detective or undercover police must be able to do an assigned duty whether he or she likes it or note. This quality is helpful when dealing with the risky investigation; an officer who follows orders cannot decline a call.
A police officer undertaking undercover mission or a detective who has been assigned to undertake an investigation must give transparent and undoubted information regarding the investigation. This can help in avoiding corruption; an officer must decline to any form of corruption when gathering information evidence of a particular case or sell the evidence.
Cox, S. M., Massey, D., Koski, C. M., & Fitch, B. D. (2018). Introduction to policing. Sage Publications.
Kappeler, V. E., & Gaines, L. K. (2015). Community policing. Taylor & Francis.
Liu, W., & Taylor, B. (2017). The effect of body armor on saving officers' lives: An analysis using LEOKA data. Journal of occupational and environmental hygiene, 14(2), 73-80.
Schuck, A. M. (2017). Female officers and community policing: Examining the connection between gender diversity and organizational change. Women & Criminal Justice, 27(5), 341-362.
Stevens, D. J. (2017). An introduction to American policing. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
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