Policing in US Society
Local police agencies have rules and regulations that they are to abide by; however, these policies change between agencies and jurisdictions. The federal government does not have many guidelines to lead the local agencies into how their agencies should be ran, including how many officers there should be for a certain amount of citizens in a patrolled area. In 2003 the national average for local agencies was 2.5 sworn officers per thousand (Walker & Katz, 2008, p. 66). This makes it difficult for communities, since there are not enough police officers to be able tend to calls made in emergencies. Calls for nonemergency situations often end up not being responded to because there are other incidents with greater importance and not enough officers to be able to tend to every situation.
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This creates a problem in the communities for rehabilitating drug addicts, and other criminals with physical or mental disorders. When there is no rehabilitation, the criminals will continue to commit the same crimes and end up being back in jail and living the same cycle.
There is no standard required for training officers, or what their highest level of education must be. In turn, local agencies are left to recruit the people they feel are most capable of handling the stress of the job. This type of recruiting can lead to many issues within the agency including corruption, brutality, and neglect to do the job, and death. This affects the community because they rely on the officers to know how to handle dangerous situations and without proper training, the officers can be left incompetent to do such.
The government does have minimum standards for local police agencies; however, there is no systematic way of monitoring these standards to ensure that they are upheld. For example, the government requires the local agencies to have personnel, management and supervision standards, but there is no regulations as to the minimum of these standards. The government also passed the Civil Rights Act preventing the agencies from discriminating when considering recruitment, promotion, or assignment of officers.
There is only a few things in which the government regulates and controls about any given law enforcement agency. Those things that are governed do not have specific guidelines that the agencies must abide by. This makes it easier for those in charge at the agencies to do things their own way; however, it also makes it difficult for the communities to be properly defended in the face of crime under some instances.
Community Policing Consortium, (1994). Understanding Community Policing A Framework for Action . Retrieved from, http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/commp.pdf
Walker, S., & Katz, C. M. (2008). The Police in America (6th ed.). : The McGraw-Hill Companies.