With the rapid changes in society as well as the rise of new threats such as cybercrime, the law enforcement is faced with some major challenges as to the adaptation to the modern environment and facilitation of security practices that will protect the population from the emerging threats. Similar to the way the law enforcement had to employ new practices to comply with the technological advancements of DNA and fingerprint recognition in the 1980’s, the modern enforcement forces should go through extensive training to understand the existing trends and learn to use them to their advantage. Therefore, the first challenge is a technological one.
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To better serve and protect the communities, law enforcement organizations should be in tune with the unfolding of new technologies, make amendments in existing policies with regards to the use of technology, and be prepared for change. What is the most challenging is the abandonment of the old and ineffective practices that many agencies still use because of their resistance to change. It is crucial to understand that the innovation will only facilitate successful enforcement interactions and provide security to the community.
The problem of adaptation to the technological progress and the incorporation of new advancements into the law enforcement practice can be resolved through extensive training of the personnel. While physical training is important, educating law enforcement officers about how they can use technologies in their operations will lift the existing barriers and provide agencies with room for growth. Surveillance, unmanned aerial vehicles, DNA recognition technologies, crime prediction software, mapping, and lie detection are all innovative technologies that law enforcement can use to achieve better crime clearance outcomes.
While technology is considered the primary challenge that would affect law enforcement in the nearest future, it is also worth to mention the problem of the public’s distrust in law enforcement agencies. The recent cases of police misconduct, like, for example, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, fueled the distrust of the public to the law enforcement in the form of street protests that were covered by the national and global news outlets. Such a situation is particularly challenging for the law enforcement since the provision of safety on the streets implies the cooperation with the community, but distrust in the police may undermine the practices of collaboration and peaceful relationships. Police misconduct is an issue that particularly affected the citizens of color; therefore, apart from being accused of beating and killing peaceful members of the community, now the law enforcement has to deal with the accusations of racism.
Resolving such an issue will not be possible without the reestablishment of the present law enforcement practices targeted at defeating the suspect instead of establishing peace and then arresting. Law enforcement agencies should invest time, efforts, and funds into training officers on how to deal with potential suspects, conducting a screening to filter away officers with mental health problems (anger management issues), and promoting a culture of responsibility and transparency. Moreover, the problem of mistrust to the police can also be resolved by educating the community about their actual rights and the procedures of behavior in critical situations when interacting with the police. To establish peace and trust in the community, the efforts of the law enforcement and the citizens should be combined and directed towards achieving a beneficial outcome.