One of the primary components of the criminal justice system in the United States of America is the law enforcement. Law enforcement operates primarily through police agencies. The purposes of police agencies in regard to law enforcement include investigation, referral of findings to the courts and temporary detention of suspected criminals pending judicial action (Linz, e al., 2006). The San Diego Police Department is one of the many police departments in the nation.
The San Diego police department is located in the city San Diego, California. San Diego has a rough population of 1 million residents. The department has one of the most qualified staff in the entire state of California. To become a full-fledged officer with the San Diego Police department, the applicant must first of all have a minimum age of 20 years. There is no maximum age limit. The minimum education requirement is a high school diploma from a high school located in the United States (City of San Diego, 2014). The position does not require any prior experience in law enforcement. After verification of the education requirements, a potential officer is then taken through a series of screening tests before he or she can be recruited.
The first of these is the written test. The test has standardized questions to measure the general aptitude skills of the applicant. The first section of the test is based on decision making. The purpose of this test is to determine if the applicant has the ability to identify and understand the crucial elements of a particular situation and come up with an appropriate course of action that draws from general legal guidelines and policies (San Diego Police Department, 2014). The second section of this tests assesses the cognitive abilities of the applicant.
The second test assesses the physical abilities of the applicant. Physical fitness is highly fundamental in law enforcement. A recruit is tested on dynamic testa, endurance and cardiovascular (San Diego Police Department, 2014). During this test, candidates are required to run a five hundred obstacle course. The course simulates a suspect chase. The applicant is also required to dodge low handy objects, and run through series of polygons. The applicant may also be required to jump, step and climb over several feet fences as part of the physical fitness and ability assessment (San Diego Police Department, 2014).
This process is followed by a comprehensive background information check-up. A background investigator looks into the applicant’s prior employees, relatives and references and also looks at any misdemeanours such as arrest warrants, DUI's or criminal convictions. This is followed by a collection and subsequent storage of the applicants DNA and fingerprints.
Psychological evaluation is the next process. The applicant is taken through written psychological exams and an interview with a psychologist. Some of the things assessed here include interpersonal sensitivity, integrity, observation skills, appearance, self-improvement desire, judgement when under pressure, communication skills amongst others (Deroche, 1990). The applicant is also required to go through an intensive polygraph test.After a successful polygraph test, the applicant is taken through another process of interview with the appointing authority.
The final process is a medical evaluation process. This process is usually carried out by a physician who is designated by the city. The applicant’s vision and hearing ability is tested.
After successfully completing their processes, the candidate taken to the police academy. Academy program typically last from three to four months. The program comprises a combination of both classroom, and hands-on physical training. Topics covered in the academy include civil rights, states and local laws, incident reporting and general criminal psychology. Successful completion of the academy program ends in the hiring of the recruit to the San Diego police department and the officer is then dispatched to one of its several divisions across the city (City of San Diego, 2014).
For a city to fully enforce its laws, it needs good policing. Good policing involves recruitment of capable and efficient police officer who can handle relevant tasks, and as shown above, the San Diego police department has a very comprehensive recruitment process that ensures that only the best are recruited.
San Diego Police Department. (2014).Written Test. Retrieved October 17, 2014, from http://www.sandiego.gov/police/recruiting/j
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Deroche, C. P. (1990). Styles of Urban Policing: Organization, Environment, and Police Styles in Selected American Cities. Anthropology of Work Review, 11(2), 14-16.
Linz, D., Paul, B., & Yao, M. Z. (2006). Peep show establishments, police activity, public place, and time: A study of secondary effects in San Diego, California. Journal of Sex Research, 43(2), 182-193.