Police work is a very complex and stressful occupation. Their main goal when leaving for work in the morning is to come home to their families at night and sometimes this is not the case. Police on a daily basis see the human condition at its worse and people going through the most awful times of their lives-some by their own doing and others as victims. There is much reform that is needed in the law enforcement occupations and much of that mirrors the reforms needed in society as a whole.
Major Characteristics of Political and Reform Eras of Policing
An historical prospective can give credence to the current state of police and functioning. The history of policing was divided into three different eras the first of which is a political era . In this era the police department was s dumping ground for the relatives of politicians creating nepotism in the ranks. Enforcement of justice during this time frame was subjective and conditioned in many forces on who the police officer knew and what they could get away with. Some of this exists to this day on some forces.
The second era was a reform era to deal with many of the problems created from the nepotism and political era. In this tie conflicts with the political leaders and the new urban class caused a change to stop the abuses that occurred from the close relationship of the political leaders and the police. Citizens wanted more accountability and fairness in the police department and an end to widespread corruption.
The contemporary era is a community problem solving approach. Foot patrols were added in the 1980's and the popularity of the police interacting on a one on one approach with the city dwellers began to break through many of the barriers that were built in the prior eras.
Police Academy Training
In the current environment of police training the skills needed for good police work require ongoing training and education. To become a police officer a recruit has to successfully complete a certified police academy training program.
In order to prepare for the police position candidates must first meet the mental and physical including psychological testing that is necessary on the job. After a series of competencies test the passing recruits will begin Firearms training. This includes shotguns and for those officers that pass the initial firearms testing additional training is given in sniper and SWAT with 308 rifles .
Training in the vehicle operation is an important chapter in the training as the police vehicle is equipped with high tech computers but, is nonetheless, a lethal weapon. Handcuffing, using the Taszer and all skills associated with arresting (baton, mace) and apprehending a suspect are taught in simulations and classroom learning experiences. Through each phase the recruit will be build a manual to take with them once they are on the job.
Additionally as part of their role each and every day the police officer is faced with moral and ethical choices. The news and Facebook have circulated stories of police officers paying for food for a mother caught shoplifting to pay for her groceries, or the police officer who gave a homeless man a pair of sneakers. These sensational stories are part and parcel of the everyday life on the job. The Academy begins to prepare the recruits for this moral and ethical decision making. Civil rights, racial profiling and police brutality are some of the concepts presented to the recruits. These are taught with both theoretical and practical applications. Further reference materials that are readily available for the officer is distributed as part of the professional standards classes.
Implementation and evaluation phases of community policing
Community policing involves a proactive approach to fighting crime in that police officers are encouraged to interact with the public in non criminal ways. For example school liaison officer are in the schools to keep the peace number one but they are also given the freedom to interact and form bonds with the students. They can serve as community role models for students.
Neighborhood Watch meetings and programs give an officer insights to the community activities in a way to encouraging sharing of information on the happenings in the community in a non violent atmosphere. Town Meetings brought on my special interest groups give the police a chance to explain new guidelines and information on a topic for example Mothers against Drunk Driving.
Top Qualities of a Police Officer
Training is the first and foremost quality in a good police officer . The Academy does an excellent job of providing the necessary academic information and training with a proficient officer will help to round out the training experiences offered to a police officer. In this era of cyber crime, additional training in the use of digital technology helps to use the digital tools that many departments now use in enforcement.
Courage helps a street cop to be aggressive in situations that cause other people to flee. Cops are afraid but cannot show fear and must handle the dangerous situations even if it means risking their own.
Honor is all about integrity and doing the right thing. Sometimes people need help in deciding what the right thing is as lives an get so confusing. An honorable police officer places the integrity of his profession above all when making decisions in situations and in his own life.
Family life helps to keep a police officer grounded and can also be the source of added stress. Problems within families are not new to anyone and cannot hinder appropriate decision making on the job. Compartmentalization of home and work help to keep the stresses from each area from overcoming an officer.
Faith comes in all forms for police officer. A belief in the greater good and a belief in the Golden rule help to make sense of some of the violence and dreadful stages of humanity that the police encounter.
Policing has changed over the years but it is still important to be mindful of the past. Developments in today's police forces are rapidly changing including education by the way of Criminal Justice programs which give the police officer in depth knowledge of the system of law enforcement.
The police officer is a highly skilled individual not only in firearms but in digital technology as much of crime fighting is gathering information. This information gathering is still done in the streets to some extent but data gathering is a major role in today's officer.
The Police Academy does a wonderful job of preparing the recruits and staff police officer provide good on the job training for new hires. The ongoing educational opportunities afforded to police are all efforts to keep the force a well educated as well as committed group.
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Moore, G. K. (1988). The Evolving Strategy of Policing. National Institute of Justice, [online] doi:114213.pdf. Accessed January 2016.
Rayburn, M. (2013, September 12). 5 Traits of great street officiers. PoliceOne.com, pp. [online] https://www.policeone.com/police-jobs-and-careers/articles/6444595-5-traits-of-great-street-cops/. Accessed January 2016.