The Future of Policing
September 14, 2014
University of Phoenix
Policing in the United States has changed dramatically since it was first brought to the thirteen colonies from England. However, some of the issues faced then are being faced in policing today. There are also new trends that are prevalent, and these trends will continue to have lasting effects on the future of policing. Even though new trends improve policing overall, they can also cause more serious issues. It is crucial to continue making changes topolicing because it allows law enforcement officers to keep up with the rest of society, including the knowledge of new crime trends. This paper will describe the current trends and issues in policing and analyze possible solutions to improve policing tactics.
One trend currently affecting policing is police-community relations. There is a strong emphasis now on community policing, which promotes trust and better relationships between police officers and community members, and less on the militaristic style (Stephens, 2005). Improving police-community relations not only accents the importance of diversity, but it reduces prejudice and discrimination by officers. Community policing helps build trust between the police and community members by relying on citizens to help fight crime. Hence, it is a type of proactive policing (Walker & Katz, 2011). By relying on citizens, police officers have a better chance at preventing and reducing crimes within a community.
Another trend currently affecting policing is utilizing many different types of patrol. These forms of patrol can be on foot, in an automobile, on a bicycle, or motorcycle. In the past, foot patrol was the only way an officer could patrol his beat (Walker & Katz, 2011). Consequently, foot patrol made it hard to effectively control crime in neighborhoods and perform other required duties. With a balance between each patrol type, police officers can complete both proactive and reactive patrols (Walker & Katz, 2011). If someone needs immediate assistance, the use of automobile patrol would be the best type of patrol to use in that case. For community policing, foot patrol is essential, but other types of patrol can be effective as well.
A third trend in policing today is the strong emphasis on diversity within the law enforcement field. Diversity allows better communications between police officers and members of society (Walker & Katz, 2011). Consequently, Hispanic and Spanish-speaking officers can better communicate with the Hispanic population. By having a diverse police force, minority members develop more respect for authority and law enforcement because they see that people of “their kind” are there to help protect them just like officers protect the majority group members (Walker & Katz, 2011). Diversity in law enforcement can also bring in explanations of minority members’ behaviors. All of these trends will continue into the future of policing along with some of the critical issues faced by law enforcement.
One critical issue that has been around since the dawn of policing in the United States is police misconduct. Police misconduct can come in the form of crimes committed by officers, police brutality, accepting bribes, drug and alcohol abuse, stealing evidence, excessive use of force against civilians, and other forms of police corruption (Grant & Terry, 2008). Currently, there are no long-term improvements created to combat police misconduct. Therefore, officers are not held responsible for their actions, and this is a problem because it allows police misconduct to continue and grow worse. Commissions were developed, which helped with corruption temporarily (Walker & Katz, 2011). However, none of the plans created have controlled the issue. One improvement may be more civilian review boards that can hold officers accountable for their misconduct (Walker & Katz, 2011)....
References: Cetron, M.J., & Davies, O. (2008, February). 55 Trends now shaping the future of policing. The Proteus Trends Series, 1(1), 1-216.
Grant, H. B., & Terry, K. J. (2008). Law enforcement in the 21st century (2nd ed).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Stephens, G. (2005). Policing the future. Futurist, 39(2), 51.
Walker, S., & Katz, C. M. (2011). The police in America: An introduction (7th ed.).New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
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