Law enforcement agencies are dedicated organizations that are trained to prepare to meet a great variety of problems and situations in the society. There are several police agencies that include the federal, state, county, and municipal police. These agencies are given the mandate to protect life, and the pursuit of happiness for every member of the society.
The local, state, and federal law enforcement officers are mandated with the responsibility to protect, prevent and enforce functions and duties across the state. The law enforcement agencies are engaged in various activities, which include investigating crimes, providing security and call response, preventing community-based crime, and facilitating corrections. The law enforcement agencies are also engaged in supervising detentions, facilitating court operations, and ultimately offering security or protection to the community.
Read also: "Academic Book Review: How to Complete It"
Law enforcement has undergone various phases. The law enforcement bodies have been mandated to uphold and enforce the laws of the society. The policing body has undergone changes in the American history. Kelling and Moore (1991) describe three eras of law enforcement or policing which include political, reform and community. The first era was the political era that took place in 1840 to 1930. In the political era, the authority of the law enforcement agencies came from the politicians and the law. There was a broad social service function, the law enforcement bodies were decentralized to the grass root level which led to increase in corruption through politics. The weaknesses of the political era were; the lack of organization which caused inefficiencies and disorganization. The close relationship between the state and the community resulted in discrimination against strangers and minor ethnic groups. The policing used extensive foot patrol. There was a lack of necessary tools and equipment for policing.
The second era in law enforcement is known as the reform era, which took place in 1930 to 1980. This area is recognized by the characteristics of the authority that combined law and professionalism. In this era, crime control was the primary function since crime increased with growth in middle class due to industrialization. The law enforcement agencies were centralized, and the social distance between the law enforcers and the community widened. The increase in technology helped the law enforcement bodies to facilitate efficient policing. Professionalism in the law enforcement bodies improved and corruption decreased significantly. There were police cars and radios that enhanced the motorized patrol and rapid response to crime. The weaknesses included slow implementation of reforms due to the intended transition to professionalism. The other weakness was the way the police handled the social movements that painted a dark image of this era (Walker, 1997). The civil rights movement and anti-war movement evolved during this era, which shaped in American politics in 1950s.
The third and last era discussed by Kelling and Moore (1991) was named as the community problem solving era which is the existing policing from 1970 to date. It was introduced as a problem-solving approach to crime and disorder by partnering the law enforcement agencies and the community in solving the problems. This era encouraged the development and nurturing of a mutual relationship between the community and the police (Kelling & Moore, 1994). During this era, a responsive approach was adopted by the police and communities interacting to solve problems. The police improved time and resources to solve crime and improve the quality of life for citizens. Kelling and Moore (1994) state that a decentralized chain of command is the best way for an effective community problem solving policing.
The community policing was introduced to bring the police and the public closer together. This would assist in identifying and addressing crime related issues. The police agency is trained not only to respond to emergency calls and arresting suspects, but to find out the causes of crime. Jointly with the communities assigned to them they would attempt to come up with solutions that would solve problems in their areas assigned.
The future trend in law enforcement agencies and departments will result in the formation of highly specialized organizations, which are trained to prepare to counter advanced levels of crime. The advance of technology and sophistication of weaponry will lead to massive changes in the law enforcement. The other cause of advancement in law enforcement is the new variety of problems and situations like cybercrime and terrorism. The main factors that will influence law enforcement agencies in the future include government, environment and resource and economic trends (Meade, 2010).
The advances of the law enforcement in the country led to the development of Special Forces like Swat and other Special Forces units in law enforcement agencies. In her research study, Balko (2007) states that there are over 40,000 raids conducted per year by the militarized law enforcers in the SWAT team. He states that the rate of using SWAT teams has increased by over 1500% in the last two decades. A similar study by Fernandos (2013), shows that the number of raids per year was between 2000-3000. In the present day, she states over 80,000 raids are estimated to happen per year. In future, the law enforcement agencies will be fully militarized (Shank & Beavers, 2013). The law enforcement agencies will be militarized, and special teams found only in large, high-crime areas will be found in small rural towns. The law enforcement agencies will be able to have the equipment to arm their paramilitary units.
Budget Implications of Future Trend
The advances in the law enforcement will have high impact on the countrys budget. For example, the Department of Homeland Security handed out $34billion to the local law enforcement agencies as terrorism grants to take counter-terrorism efforts (Shank and Beavers, 2013). The agencies need sophisticated approach to fight crime and counter terrorism activities in the United States. Technology will change the way law enforcement agencies will operate. This will affect the way grants requests are formatted and will have great effects on the local operating budget (Schultz, 2013).
High technologies are necessary to change the way law enforcement agencies operate. The chiefs of the law enforcement agencies will need to change their purchasing priorities to keep their agencies up to date with the technology (Schultz, 2013). A research study on crime prevention technology by Welsh and Farrington (2004) shows the importance of technology. The study indicates that technological advances have changed the way people think about crime. It has also changed the efforts taken by law enforcers to prevent it (Welsh & Farrington, 2004).
Managerial Implications of Future Trend
The program to specialize and militarize the law enforcement will have managerial implications on the law enforcement agencies. Failure to engage good management practices will lead to wastage of resources (Conser, et al., 2013). The law enforcement agencies will grow with weaponry and equipment they do not need worth billions of dollars.
The management will need to shift from the transition to participatory management. This will help the law enforcement chiefs to work collaboratively with stakeholders in criminal justice to introduce the necessary change (Hess & Orthmann, 2009). Criminal justice will be a mutual responsibility by stakeholders and the government to build and sustain success in law enforcement.
The key element of law enforcement is to emphasize on crime prevention. In doing so, the public would be encouraged to partner with the law enforcing agencies with the aim to lower the crime rates. The law enforcement agency would encourage community policing by educating the members of the community to help the police by identifying and reporting suspicious activity in their areas.
The community can be engaged in preventing crime through observation and awareness or by patrolling the areas on a regular basis. In addition to this; the community needs to address the crime activity by creating engaging programs. Such engaging programs would include open public days, athletic activities like basketball, drug awareness programs. The programs can be designed in a way that would be effective to control crime in the area. The law enforcers would work closely with the community to create strong bonds and solve problems through positive relations with the community.
- World Future Society
- America's police are looking more and more like the military | Michael Shank and Elizabeth Beavers | Opinion | The Guardian
- The Militarization of the Police. Are We Living in A Police State? - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization