Law Enforcement Today

In today’s society, law enforcement officers face many difficult and challenging issues. It is important for officers to be trained efficiently so that they can respond appropriately to these issues. Some of the issues law enforcement faces are: corruption, on-the-job dangers, deadly force, racial profiling, and exposure to civil liability. One of the most noteworthy challenges that police officers face is policing a multicultural society. In this paper, I am going to discuss these issues in detail, as well as how local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies interact with the U. S. Department of Homeland Security.

I will also offer suggestions on how this relationship may be improved. The duty of law enforcement is to “protect and serve”. To do this, police officers must be able to police in a multicultural society. It is important for officers to understand and respect the differences in habits, customs, beliefs, patterns of thought, and traditions (Schmalleger, 2011). Once law enforcement officers understand and respect the differences in citizens of a multicultural society, this issue will resolve itself. Corruption is another issue facing police departments.

There are many law enforcement officers who perform their duties with honor, and then there are others who do not. This is where corruption comes into play. According to the text, police corruption is “The abuse of police authority for personal or organizational gain” (Schmalleger, 2011, P 269). Corruption not only affects the officer, but the entire community, the police department, and every police department worldwide. Some examples of police corruption include violent crimes, property crimes, major bribes, gratuities, and denial of civil rights. On-the-job dangers come with being a police officer.

By nature, it is a very dangerous occupation. On-the-job dangers range from stress to automobile accidents, but what police officers and their families fear most is a violent death at the hands of a criminal. Although there are few police officers who have been killed in the line of duty, the rate of violent deaths among law enforcement individuals in the line of duty is very minimal. Police use of force becomes an issue for police department when it becomes deadly use of force. Police are allowed to use a reasonable and necessary amount of force in any given situation, but should use extreme caution if things get completely out of control.

The FBI defines deadly force as “the intentional use of a firearm or other instrument resulting in a high probability of death” (Schmalleger, 2011, P. 281). Racial profiling has always and will always be an issue for police. There is just simply no way around it. Racial profiling is any police action instigated on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin of a suspect. The majority of individuals who claim racial profiling are minorities. The biggest issues with racial profiling is the constant harassment of African Americans who drive nice cars, or are in a neighborhood (usually white) that police believe they should not be.

Regardless of how much is done to eliminate racial profiling, there will always be an ongoing controversy over police powers to stop and search (Reid, 2009). The final issue faced by police departments is civil liability. This is defined as suits brought against law enforcement personnel. There are two types: state and federal. State suits are more common and involve sources that include false arrest, malicious prosecutions, inappropriate use of deadly force, and racial profiling.

To combat terrorism, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies are currently working with the Department of Homeland Security. Since the 9/11 attacks of the World Trade Center, counterterrorism efforts have become a top priority. It has become the responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to predict and prevent terrorist attacks. To do this, they collect, analyze, and share information and critical intelligence with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and law enforcement agencies throughout the country.

To improve the relationship between DHS and police departments, I believe local police departments should have input into pending and proposed policies. It will not guarantee acceptance of the input, but the opinions would be heard. In conclusion, the duties of law enforcement officers can be very difficult and challenging. Their most important duty is the “protect and serve”. To do this without appearing prejudiced or biased, officers are trained extensively in how to police in a multicultural society.

Being able to police in a multicultural society will make the job a little easier, but there will always be issues facing law enforcement. These issues include: corruption, on-the-job dangers, racial profiling, deadly use of force, and civil liability issues. Since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies are working with the Department of Homeland Security to combat terrorism. This relationship is ongoing, but just like anything else, can be improved. As long as the agencies continue working together, terrorist attacks can continue to be predicted and prevented.