- Law Enforcement Operations
- Foundations of Policing
- Police Personnel Issues
- Police Work
- Legal Issues in Policing
- Challenges in Law Enforcement
- Future of Policing
This course is an introduction to the role of law enforcement in a constitutionally-based criminal justice system. An emphasis will be placed on the historical development of the law enforcement function. The current practices of policing, the challenges and rewards of careers in law enforcement, and the dilemmas inherent in policing a free society will be explored. This course is designed to provide students with realistic expectations about policing as well as to promote critical thinking about the appropriate role of the police in society.
Welcome to the class wiki.
Dr. Michael Thompson
Personnel Issues in Policing
By Brandon Gaede x
One huge problem police may have is an alcohol problem. Some studies shown a strong correlation between the stress of a police officer and alcoholism. Alcohol consumption among police is also involved with suicides and domestic violence. While law enforcement personnel are at a high risk for alcohol problems, they are the hardest group to reach to try to have and intervention. Signs of stress can be shown early into the career of a new officer, but officers who serve more years have a greater chance of substance abuse.
Police officers are subject to a lot of work-related stress which is a big problem itself. Stress can cause Weight gain, insomnia, Gastric conditions, and heart disease. Officers are at a higher risk for burst stress, long periods of calm and boredom then suddenly interrupted by periods of high activity, also called police stress syndrome. High stress can also affect the officer’s self- schema, and how they interact with the community. This puts them at risk for being “burnt out”, suicide, alcoholism, and divorce.
Christian Jones x
Personal Issues in being the Hero
As many well know, being a cop is a hard full time duty that requires strong will and the brave minds. They not only face issues on the job, but they also have their own issues to deal with at home. Being a cop doesn't mean they're heartless enemies that don't have a sense of clue on what there doing or who there dealing with in that matter. Cops deal with the issues at home whether its with family, friends, or even citizen.Many police officers deal with struggles at home. They deal with the same matter as everybody else at home. Cops have issues with many known common things such as a family member dealing with a hard time on getting on or off drugs. Some deal with the fact that they have families to look after, after looking out not only their lives but their own lives as well. They worry about coming home safely and making sure that nothing bad happened to their family as well. Cops stress over a lot of things when it comes to families, especially when it comes to him not coming home on time or ever through out the day. They risk their lives just so his/her family is safe and sound everyday, not knowing that they will or wont return back home.
Cops also deal with issues in friendship during out of the job or in the job as well. They worry they wont be able to protect themselves just as they worry for others. They try to keep their friends and comrades safe away from danger and other harmful ways, looking out for each other as much as possible. Police think of their comrades as family and their friends the same as well. Cops are not heartless they only do what's right to make sure of everybody safety is good and well protected. Being a police doesn't obligate privileges such as given to much power of rights towards everyone. They're here to protect and serve to make sure everyone is treated with respect and protected from any harms way.
Loren Evans x
Police Personnel Issues
There are many things that affect police personnel but there are also some that are very crucial. There are some that can ruin the career of a person and there are some that can cause long-term physical problems. There are things like job stress, fatigue, domestic violence, corruption, and alcohol/ drug abuse that can hinder many police personnel’s career.
One of the reasons why police personnel’s are in so many accidents is because of fatigue. Fatigue is the extreme tiredness, typically resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness. Fatigue is basically the loss of sleep. Fatigue can make a police officer overly tired and can put him/her at higher risk of being injured on the job or acting very inappropriately. There are ways that police officers can control their fatigue. Police administrators could pay attention to how they schedule officers so that they do not do too much work and too much overtime.
People are unaware of the stress that police officers face. Their stress is unlike any other type of job stress. The stress that police officers go through can be long-term and it can result in high-blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, headaches, digestive disorders, and it can also impair an officer’s mental health. Job stress is the harmful physical and emotional response that can occur when there is a poor match between the job demands and the capabilities, resources, and/or needs of the worker. Police officers work many types of different shifts sometimes on monthly rotations. When your body goes through changes like that constantly your body has to try and adjust to it. These changes can cause a high level of stress. Working within the criminal justice system can cause stress. Administrative issues, paperwork and internal investigations can all cause stress while working in a police department. The stress that they go through can also result in fatigue.
Job issues supersede family matters. Even during routine police actions, an officer's family often takes second place. But when emergencies arise, officers must put the job first. Police departments experience an almost 100 percent personnel response rate to such things as natural disasters, mass-casualty incidents and line-of-duty deaths. Often an entire department responds to work during an approaching hurricane, a bombing similar to the one at the World Trade Center, or the downing of an airline passenger jet, thus leaving family members to fend for themselves during a dangerous and vulnerable time.
Officers often shield their loved ones from ugly realities. As a result of this practice, police officers do not discuss what happens on the job or how they feel. This may lead to alienation of family members. For example, a chaplain responded to a particularly gruesome automobile accident wherein a passenger's arm literally became ripped from his body. The chaplain's 12-year-old daughter apparently overheard a description of the incident. Less than a week later, from the back seat of the car, she exclaimed, "Dad, there's a man with his arm out the window. Make him pull it in before it gets cut off!" The chaplain never again described such an incident in the presence of family members. When faced with similar situations, officers begin to share less and less, keeping some of their most significant experiences to themselves.
Some law enforcement officers misuse alcohol and/or drugs. Many officers believe if they attend "choir practice" often enough their stress will disappear. Because stress remains extremely subjective, alcohol and/or drug use constitutes only a short term solution. The long-range answer depends on eliminating the cause of the stress. For example, relieve financial stress by eliminating debts or increasing income rather than by getting drunk to forget financial problems. Close to 10 percent of the general population engages in drug abuse, compared to as much as 35 percent of the law enforcement community. Police often choose alcohol as their drug of choice due to its legality.
By Jeremy Gwinn x
Police have been getting turn apart in 2014 due to the fact of the killing of Michael Brown. An 18 year old black man that charged a cop and was gunned down on August 9th 2014 by Darren Wilson who is a white police officer in Ferguson Missouri, which is a suburb of St. Louis.
Brown robbed a nearby convenience store and stole several cigarillos and then shoved the store clerk. At this time officer Wilson was dispatched to the robbery and given Brown and his friends Dorian Johnson subscription, he then encountered the two men walking down the middle of the street. Wilson then backed up his cruiser and blocked off the street in front of the men, then an altercation between Wilson and Brown started when Brown reached through the window to try and grab Wilson’s gun. During this altercation Wilson’s gun was fired and the two men fled the scene. Wilson then pursued the men when all of a sudden Brown turned around and faced the officer. This made Wilson fire a total of twelve shots striking Brown several times in the front of his body killing him.
Different stories were told whether brown was surrendering with his hands raised or if he was moving toward Wilson. This shooting caused a huge unrest in the city due to the fact that Brown might have had his hands up or not. On November 24, the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson of any charges due to the fact that the evidence backed him up.
After the verdict was announced on November 24th to not indict Wilson, protests some of them violent broke out in Ferguson and even other cities across the United States. As the news spread through the city protestors surged toward the officers and started throwing objects at police officers who were standing guard in the streets wearing riot gear. Police officers used tear gas and smoke to disperse the crowds of violent people. The protestors eventually lit a police car on fire along with many buildings.
So did the police react to all this correctly or over react? To start I think that even though all the hatred Wilson has gotten I believe he did the correct thing defending his life because all the evidence that suggested that Brown was trying to cause damage to him. People belive that he should have just tazed Brown but people don’t realize how hard it is to take down a man that is coming toward you to try and hurt you and lastly the tactics may have been a little over the top with the riots but they did what they thought was right to protect the rest of the people of that city and so I believe they did the right thing.
Aubrey mills x
There are many different forms or jobs that are encountered in everyday police work. Many of those include are social service, the police help people who need emergency assistance, whether it is giving first aid or finding lost children.
Typically, over 50 percent of the telephone calls to the police requesting assistance involve social service as compared with less than 20 percent relating to crime. Order‐maintenance activities are traffic control, crowd control, resolving domestic disputes, and moving prostitutes from the streets. The focus of order maintenance is on handling situations to preserve the peace rather than enforcing the letter of the law. The appropriate order‐maintenance solution may be making an arrest but it often consists of some less formal action In the area of crime control, the police engage in a range of activities, such as patrol and criminal investigation such as assistance in crime scene.
Factors the provide a roll in an officers decision to make an arrest include the seriousness of the crime and the strength of the evidence, the more serious the crime and the stronger the evidence, a suspect's demeanor also makes a difference. The more disrespectful and the less deferent a suspect acts toward an officer, the more likely that officer is to use force.
However being w police officers is one thing f the most stressful jobs there is Many police officers, and particularly those working in poorer neighborhoods or those with higher crime rates, experience physical danger on an almost daily basis. The constant possibility of being injured or worse by criminals is something that can weigh heavily on the mind of a police officer and cause a great deal of stress. Having to work odd hours and not being able to see their family as much as they want also plays a big role in stress of police. Constance change in hours from working late nights to switching to days is one of the biggest changes that hurts officers. Many times officers will start drinking heavy in order to try and relax themselves.
Disaster in Baltimore
Tahnee Saxton x
On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American man who was a resident of the U.S. city of Baltimore, Maryland, died in police custody a week after being arrested. At the time of his arrest he was in good health, but Gray fell into a coma while in transport as the result of injuries to his neck and spine while being transported in a police vehicle. On May 1, 2015, Gray's death was ruled to be a homicide and legal charges were issued against the six officers involved in the incident, including that of second-degree murder.
Peaceful protests were organized after Gray's death became public knowledge, and apparently spontaneous protests started after the funeral service, although several eventually included violent elements. Civil unrest continued and as of April 28, at least twenty police officers have been injured, at least 250 people have been arrested, thousands of police and Maryland Army National Guard troops have been deployed, and a state of emergency was declared in the city limits of Baltimore.
We do not know what provoked this type of behavior by the police, but it was wrong what they did. Maybe Freddie was saying profane things, or maybe he even tried to resist. But someone needs to step in and stop the madness. Adrenaline and rage can prevent the brain from being smart in certain situations. The mistakes make the cops seem blood thirsty.
This would seem like a racial issue because of the past riots. Police brutality usually springs from race, but this time half of the cops were black themselves. We can easily blame excess power and rage for the accident. Baltimore is being burned down by the issue at hand. It is a serious problem when the people that are supposed to protect the people are killing them.
I feel bad for the officers who mistreated Freddie that day. I’m sure they regret what they have done. I’m sure they didn’t mean to cause a death or anything so serious. I’m sure they have grown up a lot through seeing the city destroyed for their mistakes.
By Brandon Gaede x
Being a police officer is a job just like every other job out there, and just like in every other profession people make mistakes. Except in Law Enforcement it seems the littlest mistakes can be huge legal issues. Also in the heat of the moment sometimes we act without thinking just hoping we are making the right decisions. Every day officers are given different circumstances, and officers are forced to deal with them in the best and fastest way possible. Which may lead to civil court cases against a Law Enforcement agency. Police may come under fire from the public over several things. Making a false arrest, malicious prosecution, failure to intervene, and worst of all excessive force.There have been a couple allegations of excessive force in the media the past couple months. Eric Garner in New York, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. In both these cases there was a white police officer and a black male victim. Also in both cases the police officers were not indicted which did not sit well with the public. In one case the office resigned and in the other case the office was stripped of his duties, and both men will probably never have a job in Law Enforcement ever again.
Challenges of Being a Cop
Tahnee Saxton x
Just like all jobs, law enforcement has its definite challenges. The media portrays law enforcement’s main challenge to be the danger on the job. It is true that there are some life threatening situations that cops can get into, but for the most part the real challenges come from different things.
The biggest challenge that comes to a police officer is maintaining a good relationship with his or family. Shift work presents the first problem to do so. Shift work can be an enormous stress for not only the worker, but the family of the worker. When kids have to keep quiet in the day because their dad is sleeping, and then not see him at all at night will create a distant relationship between them. Unpredictable hours can also cause problems within an officer’s family and home life. Police officers are always at risk to report to the scene of an accident or a natural disaster.
Work comes first and officers must always sacrifice family time in time of an emergency. After so long on the job, officers sometimes suffer from something called “chronic suspicion”. This happens because they have to be suspicious for their job. Officers have a hard time switching between the mentality they must have at work, and the mentality they have on their time off. When an officer is suspicious of their own kids and spouses and the people around them all the time it can be dangerous. In these times the officer often times becomes controlling, just like he would be to a criminal. This makes it so hard for the family, and hard for the officer as it would add stress to his or her life. Along with being suspicious, officers often struggle with being “off duty” at all.
They are emotionally detached from their friends and family, acting like they do on the job, being emotionally detached to cope with the stress of criminals. An officer can’t have an emotional connection between either the suspects or the victims in a case because it would tear them apart. Likewise, when an officer can’t differentiate between work and home, he or she will lack the type of emotion that is needed to maintain a family connection. Sometimes cops isolate themselves, their actions, and their conversations to law enforcement only. A cop’s spouse will often tire of the negative influence of law enforcement in their lives.
If an officer doesn’t have his own family, he struggles with the bad stereotype given to law enforcement. Many people these days don’t trust law enforcement, they think that they are the worst criminals. People often accuse all police officers of killing pets, being racist, lying to the public, breaking and entering, shooting when unnecessary, spying on our personal lives, and suspecting innocent people. It is true that some officers may do some of these things, but the law enforcement isn’t perfect. The law isn’t perfect. People need to understand that for the most part, police officers are trying to provide safety to the community. The stress of having the public against you can really affect the way you work and live. Some officers go crazy because they try and please everybody around them. When an officer has the public’s support, they usually don’t have their boss’s support, and vice-versa. Policing can be dangerous, but maintaining a good relationship with the family and not letting the haters get to you are the hardest challenges that come with law enforcement.
Challenges in Women PolicingMiranda Hernandez x
Women face many obstacles when in the law enforcement work force. They face things such as gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and a lack of support from colleagues. The most predominant challenge women in this workforce face are the male colleagues’ negative attitudes towards them, which can make it rather difficult for women to focus on the tasks at hand. In a workplace such as law enforcement, women search for the moral support of their family, friends, and colleagues. When the support does not happen, women take it into their own hands to work twice as hard for the respect of others. While facing the negative attitudes, some women have faced harassment, sexual or verbal. Women are sometimes treated like animals instead of people.
Though women have stated that the challenges were not good enough reasons to leave the workforce, some issues have resulted in women leaving. Most women instead are said to use the discrimination as motivation to succeed and to excel. It is not just within the colleagues that women can face challenges. There are personal issues that women have to face when working in this career. Women can sometimes find it difficult to balance work and their families at the same time. Some even stress starting a family due to the lack of support in departments that may not support pregnancies.
Also, women face the challenge of physical strength. This topic always seems to emerge when the issues of female police officers are brought up. Do women have the strength to take on this job? Are women strong enough to successfully fulfill each task? Do you really think a women can handle taking down a man his size? There have been studies that some entrance exams have required a climb over a 5-6 foot solid wall which requires great upper-body strength, that may keep women from passing, regardless of how strong they are. Some departments realize the issue at hand while others blatantly ignore it. Alongside the physical strength, come the stereotypes and double standards. Women and men have biased opinions on what men and women can and cannot do regardless of what the person does to show that they are capable of just that. When telling a woman she cannot do something it only motivates her to achieve it.
In order to cope with the challenges women in the workforce have came up with coping strategies. Maintaining a positive attitude, having thick skin, working hard to build relationships with colleagues, and developing outside interests are just a few. The goal of a progressive police department should always be to recruit and retain a quality group of officers who reflect and represent the community they serve. This should include women and other minorities. The 21st century police officer is one who embodies not only physical strength, but also strength in character, communication and problem solving. The ideal officer is neither male nor female but a combination of admirable and reputable traits that embody what our communities desire in the new age of policing.
Loren Evans x
Challenges in Law Enforcement
There are many changes in Law Enforcement, some are big some are small. Though some of these challenges come from stereotypes some of them also come from incidents that have truly occurred in life. One of the biggest challenges in Law Enforcement is the topic Sexual Assault. The challenges of Sexual Assault most likely come from the assault of accusation of assault of a woman. One of the biggest problem is the shame that victims feel about the violation they’ve experienced in most cases. Those feelings are so deep and drastic that many attacks go unreported and unspoken of. The percentage of this is at fifty five percent now according to experts. What also makes the difficulty higher is figuring out what really happened in a situation that often lacks witnesses and evidence. Some questions that are asked is: did the alleged victim agree to sex and then change her mind? Is she seeking revenge out of generalized hatred for men? Could she perhaps be a compulsive liar?
Another problem we come across is the widespread conviction that women should be responsible for their own safety. A theory says if women dress appropriate and don’t put themselves in harm’s way they will be alright. Because law enforcement used to be a predominantly male career, there were not many women voices to insist that women have the right to dress attractively, pursue friendships with men, and go out and about as they after dark. There was also evidence emerged that law enforcement still harbors doubts about whether sexual assault is really a crime. What makes matters worse is when the victims come forth with their story most of their rape kits aren’t even tested. In one case it took seven years for her rape kit to be tested. But, practices are beginning to change. In Detroit, where at least 9,000 rape kits have been stored for years, Michigan State Police have selected about 1,400 for testing. Los Angeles has embarked on a similar program. In both cities the tests are being paid for through grants and donations. It remains to be seen whether budget money will routinely be allocated for DNA testing in rape cases.
Another big challenge in Law Enforcement is the crimes against children from police. The investigation and prosecution of crimes involving children and adolescents pose special challenges for law enforcement—problems related to the immaturity of children, their vulnerability to intimidation, the prejudices of judges and juries, and the frequent involvement of family members as perpetrators. For instance, Michael Brown’s death on August 9 was a nationwide wake-up call to the death-by-cop of young minority men at the hands of law enforcement. According to data-stretching from 1999 to 2011, Blacks have been 26 percent of all police-shooting victims. Overall, young African Americans are killed by cops almost five times more often than people of other races and ages. But, since Michael Brown’s death, at least 14 other teenagers, at least six of them African-American, have been killed by law enforcement in a variety of circumstances.
Last but not least, another Challenge in Law Enforcement is Internet Child Pornography Crimes. These crimes have been huge since the mid 1970’s. Police believed they had things under control and were a step ahead of child pornography offenders until the internet emerged. Though there has been a major attempt to lower the amount of child pornography on the internet, the internet has increased the accessibility and availability of the material. There are many Challenges that Law Enforcement faces but not everything will ever be handled.
Aubrey Mills x
Challenges in Law Enforcement
There are many challenges that law enforcement goes threw everyday whether its having to deal with legal issues or just the emotions that go through there minds in everyday situations.
One of the biggest challenges that law enforcement is when they are dealing with a sexual assault victim and determine weather or not the victim agreed to have sex and then change her mind. Is she just trying to seek revenge for the male? The problem during these situations is that there is not normally any witness. According to experts they say that roughly 55 percent of sexual assault crimes are not reported due to the women because the feelings are to deeply embedded.
Law enforcement brings a lot of stress to police officers, due to something that may occur at work or the constant change of the work schedule from working an over night shift to having to work a day shift one following week.
They may isolate themselves cops associate with other cops. Those not involved with law enforcement due not understand the officers' world, the situations becomes compounded because when together they mainly only talk about past events that has occurred, who has had the wost call to who had the most successful call.
Many officers often are more strict with their children due to events that they may see on the streets, meaning they are telling their kids more about the dangers of drugs and drinking and driving, they may have more rules around the house such as chores or an earlier curfew than other kids may have.
Many times officers deal with the death of someone whether it was a young child or a adult. This may cause the officer to needing to go through therapy or just to take a few days off of work.
Officers also have to deal with just normal everyday people because some feel that officers are to violent in certain aspects of their job leading to people to feel that are could have handled it in a different way then what they did.
Other thing they deal with is that going to work every day they never know what kinds of call they may be called out to it could just be a simple pull that turns into a chase ending in a shoot out, or it could just be a quite day where nothing happens and they get to go home worry free.
Online challenges occur many times for officers also protecting young kids from child predators that may be posing as another child theirs age just looking for friends and asking them to hang out, or someone that maybe trying to sell illegal things or posting inappropriate pictures on websites.
Stopping those that are on the streets selling illegal drugs and those that are buying alcohol for miners is another problem that occurs in their everyday lives, not only are they both illegal but they both cause a threat to others around them.
They have to fight in courts about the reason that they arrested this person and what proof that they have in order to prove that they should be charged with that crime.