Law enforcement officers have many duties. Law enforcement officers are sworn to serve and protect society as well as to fight crime. They also maintain order within their jurisdiction, as well as providing other services that the community will benefit from. Most of the time, police officers are considered to be crime fighters, in which this image has been brought to citizen’s attention by the media. The styles of policing should match the community in which they serve, so there is no conflict between the community and the law enforcement officer. The future policing structure does have a huge impact socially, economically, and politically within the community and the police departments general needs so that they can provide the proper policing that is needed. Life threatening situations take place in different circumstances, which includes the law enforcement agencies.
Law enforcement officers face being wounded or murdered as they are on the line of duty in the United States, every year. The greatest threat a police officer will ever face is bodily harm and death. When a law enforcement officer is called to a scene and responds to a disturbance call, the law enforcement officer is confronted with the possibilities of violent actions from an armed suspect. Although, bodily harm as well as death upon a law enforcement officer are not the only dangers in policing. Family issues and stress related illnesses also can be contributing factors to the danger of a law enforcement officer and policing. Law enforcement officer’s jobs can surely take a toll on their lives as well as their well-being. If the pressures of their type of work are handled and coped with property, it could end up becoming life threatening.
Today’s law enforcement officers are faced with many dangers within their everyday duties, like rival threats of getting shot. Examples are: vehicle pursuits, traffic control, and foot pursuit, stress, making an arrest, and sun exposure/duty equipment and biohazard exposure. These dangers are exposed to law enforcement officers on a daily basis. This is why it is important for law enforcement officers to wear their bulletproof vests as well as their belts that contain pepper spray, radio, handgun, baton, and handcuffs. All of this specified equipment usually will weigh up to about twenty pounds, which adds stress to the law enforcement officers hips, feet, knees, and back areas. Stress to the law enforcement officers body by getting in and out of their patrol vehicle up to about fifty times within one day, as they have to wear all of their equipment. Law enforcement officers are exposed to the extreme temperatures for many hours at a time. They may have to be in extreme heat conditions, such as one hundred degree heat, while conducting traffic control at a scene of an accident.
They also sometimes have to provide crime scene security when the weather may be in freezing conditions. Law enforcement officers are at the mercy of all weather conditions. Also, a lot of the times law enforcement officers are called to a scene and they are not properly prepared for it because of the weather conditions and they do not have the time to stop somewhere to get what they need to prepare themselves. They may have to stand out in extremely hot or freezing weather without the proper protection they may need or hydration they so desperately have to have. Law enforcement officer’s physical dangers have to be dealt with as well as trying to always be ready for the worst. As this can add so much mental and physical stress upon the law enforcement officer. They have to be aware of their surroundings and environment all the time. Law enforcement officers have to be alert as well as being prepared for all situations that may occur.
The officer will rarely have time to get prepared for an emergency call. They have to sometimes rely on the training the received to be able to make important, split second decisions that are based on different circumstances. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks gained the attention from all the departments within law enforcement. Within the federal policing agencies, they took precautionary measures to make sure that the people of the United States were safe. Even though, the local and state agencies have managed to keep the people’s fears under control within the United States and communities as well. All of the agencies in the United States have to work fearlessly on preventing and reducing the citizen’s fears caused by terrorism. When terrorism is looked into, law enforcement agencies and Homeland security across the world are very imperative that the agencies try to work together in solving the crimes by using shared information and by having departmental assistance. All in all, terrorism is always a danger for law enforcement officers.
As reports were published by the National Police Officer Memorial Funds said that in 2010, officer’s fatalities treacherously rose. There was a two year drop of law enforcement mortalities in 2010 that rose to 160. This was intensified by about forty percent compared by looking at the year before. The data gathered by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund indicated that for the thirteenth consecutive year, the number one cause of law enforcement officers deaths were contributed by traffic fatalities, within thirty nine states. Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia were also involved in law enforcement officer’s related deaths in 2010. Within the third consecutive year in a row, Texas, Florida, and California were ranked on top of the five states that involved the most of law enforcement fatalities.
The Federal law enforcement
Officers had a total of eleven law enforcement officers that were lost, including the Federal agents that lost their lives in the line of duty during 2010, along with United States Customs, two United States Border Patrol agents, and three Border Protection officers. According with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (2011) website, it stated that fifty-six law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty. Thirty two law enforcement officers that were among the fifty-six, were employed within city police departments. Thirteen of them were employed for law enforcement agencies within cities of a population consisting of 250,000 or more people that reside there. In Puerto Rico and twenty two other states, there was also line of duty deaths as well. There were fifteen law enforcement officers who lost their lives in ambush situations as well.
There were fourteen law enforcement officers that lost their lives in felonious attacks while involved in arrest situations. There were eight law enforcement officers that were killed when they were investigating suspicious persons/circumstances. There were seven law enforcement officers that were killed while working on traffic stops/pursuits. Six law enforcement officers were killed while answering to disturbance calls. There were three law enforcement officers that were killed while they were involved in tactical situations, like high risk entry, barricaded offender, hostage situations, etc. There were two law enforcement officers that were killed upon conducting investigations while searching, interviewing, and looking at surveillance. And one law enforcement officer was killed as they were maintaining custody of a prisoner or while transporting a prisoner.
With future policing, I feel that it is important to have close communication with the homeland security. I personally feel that the more communication there is, the more we will progress and bring better policing skills. It is equally as important to have communication with all law enforcement agencies to help in improving all policing operations that are dealt with. In future policing, the importance of keeping law enforcement agencies relationships maintained will build better and stronger agencies. With the relationship within law enforcement agencies and homeland security are not as accurate as seemed. It is understood that all agencies serve different purposes, as they are all in charge of different types of areas within society to serve and protect. I believe that joining forces with other agencies would be beneficial.
It would be beneficial because by all working together, there could be issues that could be addressed a lot better. Along with lack of communication among law enforcement agencies and homeland security, we would be able to better handle the various criminal issues better. I feel that this can also improve community policing and law enforcement relationships. With the new technology equipment that police officers receive, they can work on their policing styles, such as being reactive or proactive. Once these issues are changed, there will be better communication with other law enforcement agencies, as they would be able to serve and protect in much more positive ways. This will decrease crime rates as well as increasing practices that are reactive. As crime rates decrease, and proactive and reactive practices are being practiced, then the start of confidence will show within all law enforcement agencies.
Although, there are many differences in the power as well as the authority, responsibilities and roles, and the difference in jurisdiction at the local, state, and federal levels within law enforcement officers. It is clearly apparent that all of the dangers within them remain equally the same.
American bar association. (2011). Standards on urban police functions. Retrieved from http://www.americanbar.org/publications/criminal_justice_section_archive/crimjust_standards_urbanpolice.html
Federal bureau of investigations. (2011). Officers feloniously killed. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/leoka/leoka-2010/officers-feloniously-killed
Crime in America.NET. (2011). Law enforcement fatalities dramatically increase in 2010. Retrieved from http://crimeinamerica.net/2011/01/04/law-enforcement-fatalities-dramatically-increase-in-2010/