Police officers play an integral part in keeping our communities safe, and without them, everyone would sleep less soundly at night. But there are other individuals within the department who have a part in keeping it safe as well. A civilian career in law enforcement is a great alternative to serving as a sworn officer. For any number of reasons, serving as a sworn peace officer is not for everyone. These jobs offer opportunities to give back to the community and still work in the law enforcement field. Civilians around the country have been hired by agencies to do everything from crime-scene analysis to evidence collection. It's part of a growing national trend in which police departments are hiring civilians to do some jobs traditionally performed by sworn officers. In addition to clerical positions, departments use civilians as fingerprint technicians, crime-scene analysts and lab technicians. While the move could stimulate resentment among some in the officer ranks, it's aimed at saving money while putting officers back out in the field. There are several non sworn law enforcement positions available for civilians. The positions vary in experience and educational level. (http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/163811.pdf) Civilian Investigators investigate a wide range of incidents, such as computer crimes, traffic accidents, financial crimes and other non violent crimes. Using civilians to investigate crimes such as these allow sworn officers to focus on more major crimes. The theory behind the system is that residents will receive better service for lower level crimes from civilian investigators. Some of the legal issues for civilian investigators could potentially involve whether or not they were acting under the color of law, in which case they may be potentially sued personally. (http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/163811.pdf) The correctional component of law enforcement often rely on a civilian staff. These employees provide security services for the facility and...
Cited: Cox, S.M. (1990). “Policing into the 21st Century,” Police Studies.
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