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Critical Issues In Policing Essay

Abstract

There is an abundance of issues when concerning policing. In this paper the following things will be discussed: the dangers of policing, less-than-lethal-weapons, technology used in policing, and police corruption and how it relates to this paper.

Critical Issues in Policing

Policing has grown in possibly the most positive and beneficial direction since the beginning of time. It is a constant grueling and agonizing pace at some times but in all reality that is what makes it even more beneficial because the officers, supervisors and the community are taking their time in making sure they are establishing a proper balance of needs. In all of this time they have continually figured out ways to reduce crime, protect citizens and the community while putting themselves at the risk of danger and death. As the technology continues to rises as time goes on and the changes in society the law enforcement will become an unpredictable turn of events. The realistic view is that there has been a lot of things to change and keep up with but some of the biggest changes in the policing area have been changes in how they deal with recruitment, gender and racial equality, better education, dangers, technology, less than lethal weapons, and

Dangers of Policing

While working in or at a job or in a position where you have to protect people or even the whole community, your job will be filled with a huge number of risks and dangers. Policing involves a number of dangers, and the officers that are there to serve and protect face different dangers every day. Some of the dangers that are an issue in policing are the risk of physical injury and or death of an officer, automobile crashes, the mental and emotional stress not only of the job but of the balance between the job and personal lives. They have to deal with the elements of Mother Nature, with extreme temperature changes which involve heat stroke and or hypothermia. They also have to worry about the lack of proper nutrition, and also the exposure to contagious diseases, such as AIDS or Hepatitis. The final and most severe aspect of most of the dangers in policing is the threats of violence to themselves and their families. I can’t imagine that these thoughts don’t play a role in the thoughts of a police officer’s mind every time they get ready to do their job every day, it would also have an effect on how they do their jobs.

There really is only one positive that someone can see out of the dangers that these officers expose themselves to on a daily basis. It is with hope and faith that having so many dangers keeps these officers prepared, attentive, and conscious of everything around them and how cautiously and carefully they do their jobs. Looking into the issues of policing we need to help improve officer safety with more effective and possibly even more equipped cars, more effective firearms, and the better invention of less lethal weapons for our officers to use when they are in the streets battling and fighting with criminals. There is no doubt that we also need to have better communication with the entire police force and other agencies, but that will come in time as everything else evolves. I think that another good way to combat the dangers in policing is that our government heads mandate it that no officer is allowed to work the beat alone.

Although it is an understanding that extra patrol costs money, there is no single person that can put a price on another person’s safety or life. Driving is a huge concern for officers because not only are they having to concentrate on how they operate a car they are also having to be aware and almost have to predict in some instances what the person next to them is going to do. Now getting to the health aspects of dangers in policing, the reality of this is that the equipment that they wear can sometimes weigh more than most two month old babies and it puts quite a lot of stress on their lower extremities such as hips, knees, and feet.

They also get in and out of vehicles up to hundreds of times in one day and so they risk the wear and tear on their joints and tissue. They also have to deal with people who have various communicable diseases such as AIDS, HIV or hepatitis. They are constantly dealing with people spitting or urinating on them or by them. Part of that health is the mental and physical aspects of it, the job alone can be a hard, tiring and exhausting day to day job, then a lot of these officers go home to another life, a wife, kids, pets all of which demand even more from these people that have just spent hours out there protecting citizens and a community from criminals and terrorists.

Less-than-lethal weapons

These are weapons that officers use to protect themselves from a distance, they usually use them as a distraction, to disorient or incapacitate a suspect or known criminal. It is not considered to be a deadly weapon although if used in the wrong manner could cause death. There are a variety of options in relation to less than lethal weapons such as chemical agents, electrical weapons, projectile weapons, and pepper spray. It would seem that out of these options a taser is something that is more common among officers and agencies, although this is not a lethal weapon used with force it could cause death or serious injury.

Less than lethal weapons are a positive thing for officers to be able to use. If an officer is alone and cannot get control of a person and they are being resistant or violent then they have another option than to just use their lethal weapon. It is a great alternative to a deadly weapon choice and usually helps the officer protect himself just as good in most cases. Without the assistance that officers have with less than lethal weapons most officers wouldn’t feel as secure in certain situations and they can also avoid someone being seriously injured or even shot to death.

Technology used in policing

When it comes to technology, it is and will continue to be one of the most growing and evolving parts of policing. There are what seem to be millions of types of technology that police officers use are, crime lights, lasers, crime mapping, global positioning systems. (“The Future Is Here: Technology in Police Departments”, 2003-2014). One example that the officers use is dashboard cameras. These cameras are mounted inside police cars and they videotape images that happen in front of the police car and outside of the police car, they are not a new form of technology but they are as usual coming out with newer and better imaging and sound recordings and the angles at which they can be set can now be changed to view different angles.

The cameras are beneficial to not only help catch criminals but they also have been used to catch police officers that are using criminal behavior. Another example is RADAR/LIDAR-Radar is a system in which they use for detecting the direction or distance, even the speed of objects by sending out pulses or waves that reflect off the article and back to the starting place. LIDAR is the light detection and ranging that is yet another acronym to describe the technology used in LTI’s family of Lasers. This technology allows for more information and communication to be more accurate and instant among police organizations and their police officers, command centers and citizens even. They are benefiting from technology because they have better chances to identify perpetrators through a higher technology base such as AFIS, they also can collect data through the DNA analysis.

Police Corruption

I think that there is one critical issue in policing that needs more attention and it is about police corruption. Police corruptions are abuses of police authority. (“Police Corruption and Misconduct”, 2014. There are multiple example of police corruption but one example would be an officer allowing someone to keep trafficking drugs as long as they receive something in return for letting them traffic them across state lines. It has been a part of society since the beginning of time and it will probably find a way and spot into the future of policing. The thing that drives police officers to commit such corruption is usually greed or personal gain.

The prevention of corruption is a hard one to deal with, there is always going to be one officer somewhere out there that is going to want more than they have. They are not blamed for doing anything but action on those decisions that they have made when they are tempted by such corruptive things. It is a critical issue because citizens are suppose to put their life and trust in these officers hands and if they can’t make good decisions for themselves then how can one trust they will make good decisions when it comes to the community.

Conclusion

The best way to improve the concerns we have about safety is to have constant and reoccurring training that way we are keeping our officers up to date about any and all dangers that they may have to deal with in their fields that they go out and work in everyday. I also believe that we have to try and stay ahead of the criminals when it comes to technology; they have the ability to use this as something to better the amount of violence and crime. Without police forces being able to use the same technology we will fall behind on crime prevention and the reality of the situation is that policing will not ever be effective in catching these criminals is we are continually a step behind them.

References

Police Corruption and Misconduct. (2014). Retrieved from http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Police+Corruption+and+Misconduct The Future Is Here: Technology in Police Departments. (2003-2014). Retrieved from http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?article_id=1527&fuseaction=display&issue_id=62008


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