Over time the society has looked up to the police departments to handle crime effectively with the general ideas of how the police should go about this evolving drastically among the society with passage of time. The society as for a long time too had been satisfied by the delivery mode of services offered by the police departments whose main role was offender apprehending. Through the police departments the societies could hold law breakers to act responsibility of their own crimes. The tactics and technologies used by the police have ranged from less aggressive preventive tactics like preventive patrols, rapid response, and in to content investigations, to rather aggressive tactics for prevention like specifically directed patrols, field interrogations and searches , decoy operations, and sting operations, which evolved over time. This evolvement has been in a bid to tackling crimes through anticipation rather than reacting to crime once it has been committed thus reducing deterrent effects through arrests. In recent time, the police departments have been experimenting using a wider idea concerning the prevention of crime introducing proactive efforts (Wortley 2008).
The police departments have made this advancement to counter the argument that they were more focused on their organization to work than how they were equipped to solve crime problems facing the departments. The focus was therefore shifted to doing a thorough analysis of the crime problems and appropriate solution development rather than improvising and effecting improvements in the organizational and general management. This problem solving perspective involved more precise problem identification, documenting and neat documenting the nature of the problem, current police response to access the existing authority adequacy in terms of resources. Further problem-solving policing and the available problem solving and crime prevention alternatives were weighed on basis of merit to choose from the best alternative among them. This paper presents a modest attempt to address the issues and problems facing police departments in the medium sized police department in Maryland and suggests possible solutions for the problems.
My reflections on the agency and its administration
The agency and the whole administration are faced with various challenges in delivering their services solving crime problems services. They are exerting constant remarkable efforts to counter these problems but they still need to do a bit of streamlining of strategies and administration to achieve some more fruit in their effort. They should base their problems around a well- known problem analysis triangle which will help in breaking crime into the features; of places, victims and offenders, and visualize more about the crime problems understanding the underlying relationships among the three elements as well considering the areas of overlap which may make the problems not to fit neatly. The crime triangle will offer an-easy-to understand framework which will help them organize examples of effective problem-oriented policing and situational crime prevention efforts.
My other reflection on this police department agency is that the Maryland Police Department has not effected crime prevention projects which should be done through thorough discussion of criminal research and looking into some possible theory/ theories that would provide some vital information into why their measures were not completely effective. The agency should also consider some administrative arrangements into the department that could facilitate effective problem oriented policing since most of the projects should not be designed explicitly to link to particular theories to observed prevention gains but the discussions of crime prevention mechanisms should be based to certain extend on speculation. This will be an exercise of applying theoretical knowledge to the task of illuminating the crime prevention process hence enriching the practice within the agency (Wortley, 2008).
Agency history contribution to the current issues
It is clear that the problem with this police department is its history and its approach to managing past crises. According to the case study, the history on the management of crime problem management has a contribution to the current problems and issues facing the agency. The approach the department used to manage mass demonstrations- identification of issues and identification of issues and the successful approaches, countering the violent crime trends, patrol level response and the guidelines for their consideration, strategies for minimizing use of force in conflict resolution among others contributed greatly to the current issues and problems. There has been a great challenge to the democracy of the police officers in the managing of mass demonstrations.
Generally in the United States, during the 1960’s and through to the Vietnam war the law enforcement in America was faced by a testing time on how to generally to manage mass protest-demonstrations. This was followed by a calm that was reignited about 20 years later specifically during the Seattle world organization protest that sent alarming effects to police agencies throughout the world, the reactions left a vital landmark that is a point of reference to date with issues concerning planning and preparation, training, roles and responsibilities, crowd control and use of force and media relations being the major areas where history carries on to the major issues and problems facing the agency presently.
Based on the Baltimore county police report: resource book, the history of violent crimes also has a contribution to the current situation since earlier on the agency dealing with the policing and dealing with crimes faced a fall in the incidences of violent dealings with crimes. However the sweep on the general rise in violent crime on the entire states that witnessed major increases on the cases of violent crimes beginning 2005 saw a similar impassive trend to this particular agency. This lead to sounding of an alarm that would see the agency move quickly to help its police to understand what was happening to counter the measures which were somehow new in the world of policing. The history of the department of negligence of the issue of dealing with suicide bomb attacks was also tragically affected by the 9/11 attacks on the United States, with relevance to this history the current trend still connects so much to it coupled with the culture and perception problems. However, much has changed since the 9/11 attacks and the police department has improved tremendously especially to terrorism attacks or warnings basically in order to try and avoid a similar occurrence.
Organization of department and changes that could be made to make improvements
According to Dempsey (1999) the department in order of hierarchy is organized from the highest as the commissioner head of department down to sergeants or generals who head various sections. The department is headed by the commissioner with two deputy commissioners heading two bureaus; the administrative bureau and operations bureau. The administrative bureau is further subdivided into several sections with each headed by a captain or major. These subsections include; personal, education, property, training, fiscal, written detectives or CALEA and central records. There are other several units under sergeants or lieutenants.
Further the operations bureau is too divided into criminal and patrol investigation divisions with each being under a colonel. The patrol division is comprised of two areas which are under a lieutenant colonel, with each area comprising of several districts and units. The districts are under a major a captain as second in command who is answerable to the major. There are several units under lieutenants or sergeants too and all this may result to confusion as to whom they should be reporting to. It is important that that important service is streamlined to ensure efficiency in the police department.
Based on NOBLE, National Organization [of] Black Law Enforcement Executives, justice by action, there should be an improvement to separately introduce an independent section in one of the two bureaus second from top in the hierarchy to deal with minor offenses booking. This is because the handling of minors has sparked critics in the past and should be handled better and more carefully. For instance, the exposure about numerous cases of the police arresting people for minor offences and booking them for long hours by the daughter of Maryland State Delegate in 2000.
Differences between agency and the department and how to make agency more reflective to the community
There is a great difference in the governance with a policing once and for all policy of the government being in use. There is a mass confusion of roles and responsibilities within some subsections within the same bureaus. The skill and expertise which are contained within the several departments and sub departments need to be identified and consolidated within the whole areas involved. Remodeling where necessary and repositioning should be done to increase accountability and transparency. To retain the confidence of the community it must be implemented from the top and make it the governance that is accountable to the community funds it according to Maryland Transportation Authority Police (2001).
After years of its growth the community expects the agency and the department to demonstrate their financial efficiency by cutting costs by developing central purchasing arrangements and sharing their equipment. The management of resources from top to down will lead the community to look at the roles occupied senior officers right to the management and do a critical analysis that they are worth it.
According to Wortley (2008), the issue of crime and detections is another point of discrepancy. The department should focus on increasing the detections and reducing crimes. There should be a connection between performance and seniority in the force to as to whit back any confidence from the public that might have been lost. The officers should avoid cuffing where they make crimes disappear from official figures by doing several things like downgrading their seriousness or terming them as false. They should too desist from stitching where offenders are charged with crimes that there is insufficient evidence to be charged with. These easy get away strategies tarnish the department image to the community.
How agency culture has contributed to issues and how to create change
The resource book: Baltimore County police, 1874-1999. (1999), shows there has been a culture of neglecting confounding variables like law enforcement deployment and driving behaviors. The rates of stops, searches and arrests show that law enforcement officers stopped drivers who were races rather than they stopped Caucasian drivers with lack of validity however being unavailable for use as common denominator for correlating driving behaviour with ethnicity. There has been a fault in using licensed driver data which has been causing unknown problems of estimation, such variables as rates of car ownership, law enforcement and driving behavior. This culture can be eradicated by reducing the error by reducing this stops and eradicating any hint of ethnicity. Amendments should also be made to reduce this misleading data by increasing its value by use of specific ethnic codes which will define stop analysis data better.
There has been a culture of notable issues of officers of the commission facing charges being violating of law. For instance, police Commissioner James M. Hepron was subject to a hearing which was an accusation of several flaws like rights flouting, judgment errors and policing brutally which at one point he denied vehemently walking out refusing to respond to questions. The delegate leading the hearing gave a long history of how wiretapping and use of search warrants unconstitutionally which were said to be violating natural rates of citizens. More instances like that involving Ed-Norris a former commissioner who was charged by US attorney on three charges, the flex squad scandal, detectives Murray and King case and the case involving Mugo just to mention a few constitute a culture of dirty individuals in the agency. This can be dealt with by handling all cases equal whether involving citizens or government officials. Moreover, the vetting of persons to take positions in the departments should be done with transparency to ensure the right and competitive officers take the positions (Wortley, 2008).
Analysis of crime statistics and strategies to reduce crime or increase closure
Based on the case study, the analysis of crime statistics covers the areas of domestic violence, arson, carjacking, murder, rape, robbery, theft, assault and carjacking among others. The general trend is a decreasing one, but its decreasing on an almost constant rate requiring more effort to be focused handling these crimes.
The crime statistics can be analyzed on a number of the following basis. First is the police reaction to crime patterns under threat. However the response has not been satisfactory over time with some instances when the officers send to counter the situation being not enough. When threatened the department should respond by exiting towards the scene with enough resources to counter the threat not sparing a chance to failure, they shouldn’t react any later and they always send adequate personal, with necessary resources for swiftness and aggressiveness (Wortley 2008).
Secondly, the analysis on the crime statistics on basis of identification and bulletins, although patterns are not counts of crime but crime analysis through a methodology. Police agencies are recognizing that officers cannot be responsible for identifying patterns during their normal duties because they do not have access to databases and they are focused on their priorities too. They should therefore assign officers discreetly to handle pattern identification.
Thirdly, accountability system, response evaluation and strategy evaluation also determine the analysis and the general trend. These will ensure the response patterns be immediate, systematically and appropriately and should therefore be improved from the current levels, (Dempsey, 1999).
Possible solutions to issues in the case study
The following can offer good solutions to the issues in the case study
- The police department agencies can conduct research and bringing together police leaders to work on the most difficult and important issues facing police departments and looking into ways to curb that by implementing the finding in police departments. These issues should cover police management of large scale demonstrations, strategies to reduce violent crimes, the role of police in immigration department, gun crime and gang violence, and the impact on policing on the economic crisis (Wortley, 2008). Basically this means that the police need to streamline their operations in order to be more effective in responding to situations as they may be needed to.
- With the problem of diminishing resources, more focused approaches to implement crime-reduction strategies by police executives should be put into place. A stratified model of problem solving and accountability should be used since it’s a systematic approach to addressing the disorder in crime witnessed in different levels. These models are more realistic since they depend on the existing resources; police can also successfully address them if they are all concerned and are supportive of their immediate resolution (Dempsey, 1999).
- Based on a report by Maryland Transportation Authority Police. (2001), the use of an effective pattern response system which will be automatic and institutionalized into the general policies and daily business. Police departments should invest in crime analysis and constantly identify patterns to which they should respond to with immediate effect and coordination. As part of the accountability structure, the departments should hold weekly meetings – action oriented, and monthly meetings -used to evaluate response effectiveness.
The police department in the suburban area in Maryland and the whole administration are faced with various challenges which pertains a smooth delivery of their services which mainly involves solving crime problems services. one of the reasons that has led to these scenario is that police department agency has not effected crime prevention projects which should be done through thorough discussion of criminal research and looking into some possible theory that would provide some into why their measure were not completely effective. For the police department to free itself from these challenges, need to conduct research and bringing together police leaders to work on the most difficult and important issues facing police departments to discuss the different ways of curbing crime and by implementing the findings of this research.
“Case Study.”: This document describes a medium-sized police department operating in a suburban area in Maryland with an average amount of crime.
Baltimore County police, 1874-1999. (1999). Paducah, Ky.: Turner Pub. Co..
Dempsey, J. S. (1999). An introduction to policing (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub..
Maryland Transportation Authority Police. (2001). Paducah, KY: Turner Pub. Co..
NOBLE, National Organization [of] Black Law Enforcement Executives : justice by action (Limited ed.). (1998). Paducah, Ky: Turner Pub. Co..
Wortley, R. (2008). Environmental criminology and crime analysis. Cullompton, Devon, UK: Willan Pub..