The Role of the Criminal Justice System is to maintain public-order (John Covey)
Dr. Harry O. White, Jr.
This essay will attempt to discuss and contrast three segments of the criminal justice system, Law enforcement, Courts, and Corrections. Without all three sections working together, there would not be public-order. The first person an offender comes into contact with is law enforcement. These are the people who investigate and ultimately make the arrest. Law enforcement agencies main purpose is to keep the streets and the people living on them safe from all types of crime. The second element of the System is the courts. The main purpose of the courts is to decide if an individual is guilty or innocent. This important decision is made by the judge, a panel of judges, or a jury panel of unbiased citizens. The third and final step in the Criminal Justice System is corrections. A convicted offender is usually turned over to the corrections department following the courts to fulfill their punishment which includes monetary restitution, house arrest, probation, community service, prison, or capital punishment. Sometimes there is a mix of punishments. This step is also used to hopefully help to rehabilitate an offender.
Police Officers are one the most respected professionals in America. Given all the responsibilities of protecting and serving the public, police officer jobs can be a dangerous, high-stress occupation. According to the FBI, in 2011, 72 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty. (FBI, 2011) Even though their jobs are dangerous, they are the backbone of the criminal justice system and contribute substantially to their communities by being the first line of defense in maintaining public-order. I chose Officer Don Majors for my police officer interview. He is retired military and has been on the Oklahoma City Police Department for 5 years. He works the Northwest side of Oklahoma City in the Hefner Patrol Division. According to the Oklahoma City website, they cover 141 square miles of northwest and far western parts of Oklahoma City. (City of Oklahoma City, (n.d.)) For people not familiar with Oklahoma City, that is a high crime area with lots of gang and drug activity. Some basic biographical information; He is married with no kids, collects and shoots a wide variety guns. He doesn’t consider himself as a “prepper” but more of a hoarder/collector. That is how I met him. I sell firearms at the Base Exchange. After talking with him he knows way more about guns than I do. But when we talked he was not bragging on what he knows it was more like a teacher and a pupil. John: Why did you join the Oklahoma City Police Department?
Don Majors: For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a police officer. I’m sure, as a little boy, what first caught my attention were the flashing lights and sirens on the police cars. It could have also been police officers were permitted to carry a gun and had the ability to run red lights. This is why as I grew up and played games like cops and robbers, I was always the police officer. After high school I joined the Army and spent 20 years in Military Police. My wife and I wanted to move back home to Oklahoma City after I retired. I looked into some of the other police departments and Oklahoma City was the only one hiring at the time. After spending a few months I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. John: What is a typical day like?
Don Majors: "Hours of boredom interrupted by moments of unbelievable horror." He said he got that from Everybody Loves Raymond. After we laughed… John: Have you ever had to use your weapon? Have you ever had to shoot someone? Don Majors: No, I have never fired my weapon other than training. Thank God. John: When you stop someone what goes through your mind? Does the race of the person change the way you do things? When I...
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