Over the years, police have been portrayed in the media, television shows, and the local newspaper as crime fighting heroes. This portrayal would make one think a police officer is always out doing a dangerous job, which may require shooting, beating up, or arrested the bad guy. The truth is, most officers will not make a felony arrest in a given year, and there are also many officers who have never fired their weapon. There are various perspectives of the policing functions. I will examine these perspectives from the local, state, and federal organizational levels.
I will identify and address possible future changes in laws and the overall impact these changes will have on the field of policing. Local Police Police, usually called law enforcement officers, apprehend criminals and investigate crimes. There are several other functions that the police perform. Local police have three main functions: maintaining order, controlling crime, and providing basic social services. Local police maintain order in different activities, such as traffic control in power outages, crowd control outside of a local football game, resolving domestic disputes, and removing drunken patrons from the streets.
Police officers serve and protect. The main focus of maintaining order is keeping the peace rather than enforcing the law, so to speak. In different situations, officers may have to make an arrest to ensure the peace, but the appropriate order-maintenance solution often consists of less formal actions, like clearing crowds after a big game. Controlling crime is basically patrol and criminal investigation. Basic social service is calling police in an emergency situation. The majority of phone calls to the police are in need of social service as opposed to those relating to crimes.
There are several factors that shape what police do. Police officers are available 24 hours a day seven days a week. People call on the police when they find themselves in an emergency situation and there is not another agency available. Because of this availability, it sometimes gives officers a heavy workload. Police work is different and unique from other jobs because these men and women are permitted to use force. Force in this case is deadly or physical force as well as arresting someone. Police officers have to be ready to shoot in a split second, if need be.
Discretion is used in all areas of policing. Officers rely on their training as well as experiences to decide what to do when dealing with citizens. A wonderful example of discretion is an officer giving you a warning for speeding as oppose to upholding the law and issuing you a citation. State Police State police are a part of The Department of Public Safety. Every state with the exception of Hawaii has its own police force possessing statewide jurisdiction. The nation’s largest state police force is California Highway Patrol.
The directors of highway patrols or state police are appointed by the Governors. Tasks done by state police agencies include assisting the local police departments in criminal investigations, patrolling the state’s highways, training municipal and country police, maintaining centralized crime records for the state, and operate a crime lab. Federal Police Within the executive branch of the national government lies the federal law enforcement. The FBI, or Federal Bureau of Investigation, is a part of this federal organization. The FBI investigates several categories of federal crimes.
Their focus is on protecting the nation from threats, such as terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking, white collar crimes, and violent crimes, such as kidnappings and bank robberies as well as civil-rights crimes. The FBI is equipped with crime labs, fingerprint files, crime statistics, and a training academy, which enables them to assist state, local, and other federal agencies. Due to the increases in organized crimes, the FBI also has wiretapping authority. Federal officers have jurisdiction nationwide. The Department of Homeland Security is another branch containing federal law enforcement agencies.
Some of DHS agencies are: United States Secret Service- which is responsible for apprehending anyone caught counterfeiting U. S. money. They are also responsible for the protection of other officials of the federal government and for protecting the president. Immigration and Customs Enforcement- enforces the flow of immigrants into the United States. INS agents deport aliens who break the United States naturalization laws. They are also responsible for the patrol of the United States border to stop illegal immigrants from entering the country.
In the 1990s, INS agents focused on the Mexican-U. S. border, where large numbers of illegal immigrants and huge amounts of illicit drugs entered the United States. INS agents arrest hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants each year, but the number making it safely into the United States still exceeded the number arrested. ” (The Nature of Police Work) Customs and Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration also fall under this agency. Conclusion Patrol and criminal investigation used to dominate policing.
Uniformed officers would roam the streets interrupting crime and trying to prevent them from happening. There are different strategies to policing. These strategies include patrol, special operations, and investigations. There are changes that can be made in laws to impact the field of policing. Local police departments can reduce corruption by keeping a closer eye on the department and listening to the community. Bad seeds would have to be removed from all areas of policing. These departments can also form a positive relationship with the public by showing they are doing more than making arrests.
Federal agencies are sometimes limited in the information they can share with other departments, but if there is something useful, they can pass the information along to help all agencies out. There are many functions to policing. While police are heroes to a lot of people, they are not just out fighting crime and locking up the bad guys. They are there for us when we need them, regardless if our cat is stuck in a tree or we have a runaway teenager. Different agencies perform at different levels each having different duties. Once we understand what different agencies are able to do, we understand policing better.
Courtney from Study Moose
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