The paper 'The Challenges Faced by Police Departments' is a wonderful example of a research paper on social science.
Law enforcement is a critical aspect of every society that does not only generate law and order but also protects property thereby preserving the interests of community members. Police Departments, which range from the local counties level to state as well as federal levels, are the main agencies responsible for law enforcement. The objective of this paper is to unravel The Challenges Faced By Police Departments with regards to equipment, staffing, capital, and how these challenges affect the society.
The protection of citizens is top on the list of the roles and functions of police agencies. To achieve this objective, police officers attempt to solve the crime by carrying out investigations, gathering the required evidence followed by arresting and charging criminals. Police departments do at times face shortcomings that interfere with effective provision of services to the community. This research takes an in-depth look at some of such challenges and the effects on society.
One of the major setbacks for police agencies occurs mainly due to budget cuts made by the government. Over the years, the poor performance of the economy has made the state to revisit sectors that are a priority in relation to funding and ones that are not. Evidently, the government pays more attention to security matters of the international community because such issues pose more threat to the nation as compared to internal issues(Heugten, 2011). Staff shortage reduces the morale and efficiency of the available officers in alleviating disorder. It also discourages new entrants in the police academy from the law enforcement sector. As a result, the productivity of the police departments ends up being very low. The only way to deal with staff shortages is to increase the budgetary allocation by the counties and reduce the time-frame required to complete the training programs. This would encourage the uptake of officers thereby enhancing the performance of duties.
The menace associated with staffing shortages affects the citizens largely. Violations of the law appear to be higher with less staff as compared to a sufficiently large number of police officers in the departments. The stress that comes with increased duties when the police staff is less is overwhelming. The demands made by the public for the provision of quality services of maintaining law and order are too much for the departments to bear. It becomes challenging to meet the objective of maintaining law and order as well as protecting citizens (Dempsey & Forst, 2015). Criminals tend to take advantage of a few law enforcement officers to advance in illegal activities in the society. This aspect is attributable to the increase in crime rates. The response of the police department to crime slows down because the officers have more duties to deal with and are less likely available for dispatch. Citizens who rely on officers for safety lose trust in the police agencies to serve and protect.
Management of Terrorism
In the recent past, terror activities have been on the rise especially because of the formation of illegal groups and gangs. Given the advancement of technology, the production of weapons has gone up thereby facilitating the smuggling of arms and weapons in society. Criminal activities are diverse in nature and are very common with the youths. This calls for an improvement of the equipment necessary to curb crime and any other activity that contravenes the law (Siegel & Worrall, 2011). With this realization, the police departments have taken steps to obtain military hardware. The upgrade by police SWAT teams that involve military-grade and automatic weapons have been very instrumental in reducing domestic threats. The progress of law enforcement is a clear indication of the readiness of police agencies to uphold the law by counteracting violence in the streets.
The use of poor equipment by police departments does affect citizens. In a situation where the police department uses old equipment to control crime, it would be very difficult to meet the duty of protecting the society from illegal acts. Gaines & Miller(2012), argued that the old equipment would render the police department incompetent in dealing with upcoming trends in crime such as drug smuggling that requires specialized equipment for checking at border points. On a national level, terrorism would be an epidemic. Logically, the use of old equipment means that the police force lacks modern training and expertise to deal with the emerging aspects of crime. The citizens would suffer from the inability of the law enforcement authorities to protect the interest of the society. From a general perspective, the citizens would take measures such as licensing weapons for personal protection due to little faith in the capabilities of police departments.
Capital improvements assist the police department to perform a stated mandate. Police agencies would be more effective in curbing crime if some of the resources were improved. According to Kasper (2011), an increase in the number of vehicles and helicopters used for police operations is an example of capital improvements. The process of data-keeping is very vital as the courts rely on information provided by the police department. It is therefore essential to automate data and have a back-up system to avoid any form of discrepancy within the departments. There have been cases of criminals breaking out of prisons because of the use of outdated facilities (Alpert & Lum, 2014). Capital improvements in such a case would involve updating the security system of the prison facility to ensure that convicts do not go back to society before serving the time required under the criminal justice.
Delay in capital improvements affects both the police agencies and the citizens at large. Poor systems of communication between the public and the police departments make it difficult to report crimes through phones, online databases, and the web. Regardless of the efficiency of the communication systems, the public requires urgent services when emergencies arise. If the police department has few patrol vehicles, chances are that the criminal will getaway. Ultimately, criminals will devise a mechanism of contravening the law within society and avoiding arrest (Bayens & Roberson, 2011). In the event that the police departments’ databases are unreliable, the courts are forced to release the arraigned individuals on the basis of the lack of evidence, which means potential criminals go back to the society to commit heinous crimes.
Policing strategies have adjusted in several ways to deal with challenges related to staffing shortages, old equipment, and delay in capital improvements. First, less police staff have overstretched duties because the available police staff has to take both night and patrol shift (Siegel & Worrall, 2011). Multi-tasking comes into play at this stage. Roles performed by the officers’ switch because the officer in charge has to reassign an officer to leave a certain job and fill an empty post when need be (Dempsey & Forst, 2013). Few officers engage in field-work related activities while the rest administer information to the field worker officers, depending on the size of the department. The police departments associate with other law enforcement agencies to acquire the equipment necessary for duty. Departments have learned to use the allocated funds responsibly to prioritize areas that require capital improvement.
Alpert, G. P., & Lum, C. (2014). Police Pursuit Driving: Policy and Research. New York: Springer Science and Business Media Publishers.
Bayens, G. J, & Roberson, C. (2011). Criminal Justice Research Methods: Theory and Practice. New Jersey: CRC Publishers.
Dempsey, J. S., & Forst, L. S. (2013). Police. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning Publishers.
Dempsey, J., & Forst, L.S.(2015). An Introduction to Policing. New York: Cengage Learning Publishers.
Gaines, L. & Miller, R. (2012). Criminal Justice in Action. New York: Cengage Learning Publishers.
Heugten, K. V. (2011). Social Work Under Pressure: How to Overcome Stress, Fatigue, and Burnout in the Workplace. New York: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Kasper, J. (2011). Progressive police supervision: A simple & effective approach to managing a police agency. Flushing, NY: Looseleaf Law Publications.
Siegel, L., & Worrall, J. (2011). Introduction to Criminal Justice. New York: Cengage Learning Publishers.