Policing Issues In The 21st Century
A successful policing organization is what we all want: well-trained officers who adhere to thoughtful policies due to exceptional training, supervision, and discipline. These outcomes benefit communities and police officers. So why is it so difficult to achieve the results we all want?
Challenges in Modern Policing: Recruitment
Command level losses across the country have resulted in decades of knowledge and experience leaving policing. While in some cases it’s been good to get new perspectives and attitudes in leadership roles, it also means that many agencies have experienced disruptions as they work to fill these spots. In some ways more importantly, the number of line officers leaving the field of law enforcement has put increased strain on departments, as the everyday demands of officers can certainly lead to tragedy through misjudgments and overwork. And as fewer recruits meet the standards required to succeed in policing, the number of under qualified officers on the streets increases. Without question, negative perceptions of policing have had an impact on the number of people willing to enter the field.
On top of everything else, training has become more difficult due to COVID concerns, shutting down police academies in some towns and drastically altering the content delivery in others. Agencies find themselves having to make difficult staffing decisions, sometimes relying on mediocre applicants, other times moving specialty units around so there are enough patrol officers on the beat.
The past couple of years has led agencies to reevaluate harmful policies, particularly regarding use of force, de-escalation, and proper restraints. These policy changes have occurred in tandem with officer wellness programs designed to help officers deal with the stress of their work, particularly following involvement in critical incidents. Is this enough? Many believe that policy advisory teams would be a valuable addition to law enforcement, helping agencies to envision and put into practice the best policies for individual communities. This would be a monumental step toward greater transparency and accountability, as well. Underlying all of this is the steady resistance of some to make necessary changes going forward.
Modern policing requires training in a variety of areas beyond recognizing and responding to criminal behavior. Issues related to mental illness, airborne pathogens, ethical behavior, peer intervention, technological innovations and crowd control are examples of education that needs to be a mandatory part of any police training program. Regardless of COVID or other limitations, properly trained officers are a must.
A Shifting Paradigm
Policing has been under attack in recent months and years, impacting morale among officers. Change is difficult, and the changes demanded of law enforcement are by no means minor. Communities want to feel protected, cherished, and valued by law enforcement. The era of authoritatively cruel policing is no longer being tolerated. Individual officers, or entire departments, are sometimes unwilling to accept this new reality. But public condemnation of over-policing will win out.
Have You Suffered Due to Police Misconduct?
If you have found yourself at the wrong end of a metaphorical police baton—or, more to the point—have you suffered due to poor policies, training, or enforcement actions? If so, you are not alone. At Lobo Law we fight for justice in any situation. Contact our Las Vegas criminal attorneys for a confidential consultation today.