Criminal Justice Assignment

Question

  1. Identify and discuss what community policing is. What must an officer do in a community policing environment? And most importantly what does it not do?
  • Based upon your readings up to this time should police officers be held to higher moral and ethical standards than the population they serve?

NOTE:  My approach to this question would be “YES” so please use that approach as a guideline to answer this question. Being a criminal law enforcement is a profession that is professional in nature regardless of the individual isolated acts that are being used to judge the whole nature of the police force as well as the community being influenced by the media.

Answer

Community Policing

  1. Identify and discuss what community policing is

Community policing is an approach in which the police place a lot of emphasis on decentralization, community engagement, and a closer police-public relationship, thereby deviating from the professional model that traditionally promotes the distance between police officers and the public (Skogan et al., 2002). However, this approach does not dismiss the traditional approach as irrelevant. Rather, it sets out to supplement this highly valued approach with an understanding that the work of the police is to serve the community in addition to enforcing the law. The approach emerged following the realization that changes in policing must be effected as part of the process of adapting to the far-reaching societal changes that have taken place in recent times. Community policing calls for collaborative partnerships between the police and the citizens that they serve in efforts to solve problems and to increase public trust in policing agencies.

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 There is a wide variety of potential partners in community policing, and these partnerships are essential in the accomplishment of the goals of problem-solving in the community and improvement in public trust. In making this vision a reality, the public is called upon to play a greater role in addressing various public safety problems. Some of the most common partners in community policing include other government agencies, community groups, non-governmental organizations, private businesses, and the media. Some of the other government agencies that the police can partner with include child support services, health services, neighboring law enforcing agencies, public works departments, and legislative bodies. There are also many community groups that have been making significant contributions under community policing, such as volunteers, activists, community leaders, neighborhood associations, and town hall meetings (Reichel, 2002). In the realm of non-profits, some of the most crucial partners include support groups, victims groups, community development organizations, service clubs, and advocacy groups. The role of private businesses and the media is also critical in community policing particularly in terms of promoting crime prevention practices and dissemination of information.

2. What must an officer do in a community policing environment?

            Under community policing, police officers should use their community policing skills to supplement rather than replace traditional police practices and techniques. For example, police officers operating under the community policing environment should respond promptly to radio calls as well as participate in preventive crime. They must also enforce the law as usual by identifying and arresting violators. In many cases, a significant percentage of the patrol time tends to be uncommitted. Under the new policing model, a police officer should utilize this uncommitted time to participate in initiatives geared towards establishing partnerships with various stakeholders in the community. These partnerships ultimately tend to have a synergistic effect thereby reducing crime and disorder and by extension the patrol workload of the police officer.

3. And most importantly what does it not do?

There are several things a police officer should not do under community policing. To begin with, he or she not adopt community policing as a replacement to the traditional principles of law enforcement. He must also not be distracted from engaging in real police work thereby increasing the likelihood of crime and disorder. Additionally, a police officer must not take over the role of a social workers. Rather he or she should collaborate with social workers in seeking solutions to the problems of crime and disorder.

4.Based upon your readings up to this time should police officers be held to higher moral and ethical standards than the population they serve?

Yes, police officers should be held to higher moral and ethical standards than the population they serve. This is because being a law enforcement officer is a profession, and one way in which members of a profession can be distinguished from the rest of the population is by the moral and ethical standards that they maintain at all times. Society expects police officers to be at the forefront in understanding firsthand the negative consequences of ethical and moral violations as well as illegal activity. Whenever this expectation is fulfilled, the quality of policing is significantly enhanced.

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There are many situations where isolated cases of misdemeanor by individual police officers have been used as a basis for judging the level of integrity within the entire police force. It is unfortunate for police officers to be terminated or convicted of breaking the same laws that they swore to enforce and uphold. During the task of fighting crime, law enforcement officers are compelled to change tactics continually in order to maintain order, resolve crimes, and apprehend savvy criminals. Some officers, due to peer pressure, frustration, and sometimes even ignorance, they push the existing limits of the law under the guise of “protecting the public” (Ortmeier, 2005). If officer want their occupation to be regarded as a professional undertaking, they must desist from all forms of legal, moral, and ethical violations regarding of the underlying justifications.

Whenever the level of emphasis on ethical and moral behavior in the police force is reduced, police officers may be tempted to commit ethical discretions that significantly damage their reputation in the eyes of the public. This explains why ethics training is increasingly being embraced as an integral component of police education in academies. Worse still, police officers who break the law may easily collude with their colleagues to facilitate cover-ups if they feel that standards have significantly been lowered in terms of the level of integrity that members of the profession should maintain. 

The way the members of a community perceive police officers is heavily influenced by their portrayal in the media. If the media portrays police officers are partakes of corruption and other vices in society, the image of the profession will be tarnished and people will no longer have trust and confidence in law enforcement agencies. Police integrity is a serious debate in which efforts are being made to ensure that police officers maintain the highest standards in terms of ethical and moral behavior. There is consensus regarding the need for all police officers to maintain integrity. The best measure of integrity for a police officer is his or her adherence to the most socially acceptable ethical values and moral principles. The need for police officers to maintain the highest levels of integrity is supported by the view that the higher the level of one’s moral and ethical values, the lower the chance of engaging in corruption, human rights abuses, or abuse of the power that comes with the profession.

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Additionally, police officers should always lead by example. One way in which they can do this is by maintaining the highest moral and ethical standards. This way, the job of convincing the population that they serve to abide by the existing laws and regulations becomes less strenuous. A breakdown in ethics in society may occur if police officers feel “the system” of which they are an integral part is victimize them due to ethical and moral violations (Burger, 1964). To avoid such a situation, it is always a great idea to hold police officers to higher moral and ethical standards than the community that they serve. This rule should apply not just at work but also in the police officers’ personal lives.

References

Burger, W. (1964). Who Will Watch the Watchman? The American University Law Review, 14(1), 1-16.

Ortmeier, P. (2005). Introduction to Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, 2nd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Reichel, P. (2002). Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: Topical Approach, 3rd Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Publishing.

Skogan, W., Steiner, L., DuBois, J., Gudell, J. & Fagan, A. (2002). Taking stock: Community policing in Chicago. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs.

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