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The police are an inevitable establishment in every society of the world, in large part due to their central role in guarding and securing compliance with enacted laws as well as conformity with the principles of social order (Ojo, 2014). The police are the main actors in the first cog of the criminal justice domain popularly referred to as “entry into the system”, whereby citizens bring criminal incidents to the attention of law enforcement officers or the police themselves identify a suspect by investigating a particular case (Adler, Mueller, & Laufer, 2013). Despite these important roles, it is evident that most police departments are faced with unique challenges that are largely perceived as defects. The focus of this paper is to discuss these defects and provide some viable solutions to the challenges.
“The penetration of the system” in the field of criminal justice
The first defect emanates from the failure by police to guarantee the constitutional due process as stated in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the American Constitution, leading to incidences where they are accused of depriving individuals of their life, liberty or property without due consideration of the law. The second defect concerns the failure of police to guarantee the civil rights of individuals by undertaking activities such as stop and frisk searches, arbitrary arrests, and racial profiling. The third defect, known as police brutality, is caused by highhandedness on the part of the law enforcement officers or an uncooperative, unsupportive, and aggressive attitude exhibited by the public towards the police (Adler et al., 2013).
The fourth defect, known as an abuse of discretion, concerns the fact that the police are known to use the authority bestowed upon them by relevant legal statutes to harass and intimidate other people into compliance. Another defect facing police departments is that of corruption, whereby the police end up being compromised due to integrity issues, limited manpower, and skills, poor government funding, as well as general lack of appropriate orientation and commitment by some officers. The last defect, known as poor police-community relations, emanates from the negative public perception of the police and the lack of some police officers to establish positive relationships with community members (Adler et al., 2013).
Several general solutions could be recommended to address the defects discussed in this paper. First, the content of police training needs to be changed so that it can include more liberal courses such as sociology, psychology, and political science. It is believed that these courses will impart to the law enforcement officers components of social structure and human relations, which will be key in assisting the officers to implement good policing practices and establish mutually beneficial police-community relations (Ojo, 2014). Another solution would be to implement frequent refresher training for the police so that they can internalize important components of the constitutional due process and how to guarantee the civil rights of citizens. Additionally, it would be plausible to undertake police reforms aimed at ensuring the force implements the latest technologies and inventions to keep corruption levels down. These reforms should also aim at training police officers to adopt a community approach to policing with the view to reclaiming the lost public trust and confidence (Peake & Marenin, 2008). Lastly, the government should commit resources toward training members of the community to be more accommodative of the police and to desist from offering bribes to the law enforcement officers.
This paper has not only discussed the defects or challenges associated with police departments but also provided several viable solutions that could be implemented to address these problems. Overall, relevant stakeholders in the criminal justice system and the government need to prioritize the recommendations to make the police more efficient in their primary role of maintaining law and order.
Adler, F., Mueller, G.O.W., & Laufer, W.S. (2013). Criminology and the criminal justice system (7th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Education.
Ojo, M.O.D. (2014). The Nigeria police and the search for integrity in the midst of diverse challenges: An effective police management approach. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 16, 87-100. Web.
Peake, G., & Marenin, O. (2008). Their reports are not read and their recommendations are resisted: The challenge for the global police policy community. Police Practice and Research, 9(1), 59-69. Web.