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Future Of Policing

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The future of policing is fairly clear in what direction it is heading. It has been slowly reforming to meet the needs of the people, reduce crime, and make policing more efficient. Some of the reforms that will probably take place in the future include, better educated police officers and police managers, consolidation of police departments to save on money and resources, upgraded technology, race and gender equality, better testing techniques to recruit and promote within the department, and improved proactive planning techniques. One of these proactive tools that will surely become more widely used and implemented better is community policing. It has been evolving since its first introduction into the police world and will see more reforms in the future. Compstat should also become more widely used by almost all police departments to make those in charge more accountable and for improved crime mapping.

Current economic and political trends will affect how, and if, certain reforms take place. Some trends like the increased costs for medical services will affect officer's salaries and benefits, while the growth of inexpensive technology with instant communication through cell phones and personal computers will improve response time and distribution of information quickly and effectively. Changes population demographics, with the increase in the cultural and ethic diversity of the population will create more of need for career equality. This will also be pushed forward by the immigration of more highly educated professionals from third world countries. Increased multinational organized crime activity will create a bigger need for better communication between countries and joint efforts to stop it. Increased concerns with crimes committed by violent juveniles and individuals with modern weapons, terrorism and threats against our infrastructure will also shape the way policing reforms to solve these increased threats. Because of greater concern with terrorism, more resources will be allocated to homeland security. These are resources that could have helped domestic crimes and police management and will have to compensate for. Even smart credit cards, DNA identification and global positioning systems will all help shape the new policing model.

One of the main problems facing most police departments is using cost-effective police services. So, consolidation should be the first aspect of policing used to cut costs and dispose of duplicated services. State police, county police, village police, sheriffs department, and private police can all share the same area of jurisdiction and all be spending money and resources on the same things. Instead of this, consolidation of some of these would reduce the amount of money spent on the same areas, and patrols could be redirected to hot spots or further areas that could not be reached before. This would also eliminate the problem of sharing information between departments, because it would all be gathered in on department and accessible to all officers. Consolidation of some of the departments would also eliminate the competition between departments for calls, resources and personnel. The next reform should be the use of all the new technology that is available today. Police agencies need to take full advantage of all the new technologies that could help them fight crime easier and become even more proactive. One great way is having laptop or hand held computers in police cars. They can show street and map response time grids, demographic characteristics and time of crime committed. They can even show the time, place, and nature of crimes by number and color for easy identification. Listings of the crimes as burglaries, robberies, traffic deaths, juvenile crimes, and other grids would be available at the touch of a button. Demographic characteristics of location like density, distribution and vital statistics of population could also be obtained instantly. Trend-analysis grids for traffic control, civilian disasters, and energy blackouts would also be available for planners if a disaster occurred. All of this at the touch of a button on a handheld computer could make a police officers life much easier and make them a more useful crime fighting tool. We should also see in the near future, an improved personnel selection process. Associate's or bachelor's degrees should be required for all new recruits. The shift needs to be made from a military trained to educated officers. The way the police force is moving, the military model is almost extinct, with a more educated and community relations oriented approach. Men and women and minorities should be assigned to all aspects of the police mission and promoted to specialty units and supervisory positions on an equal basis. Even the way that departments recruit their new officers need to be changed. It needs to move from a pencil and paper test, to a general test emphasizing role playing, interviews, aptitude and other skills needed for the job. Being a bad test taker doesn't mean a person won't make an excellent police officer. Even selection of supervisors and administrative staff members should be done in this way. Test taking years of experience, or being appointed because of who you know should not be the only ways someone gets a promotion. For promotions to higher rankings, more credentials should be required. A master's in police administration or a related field, at least three years of experience in police planning, patrol or investigation, and successful completion of a state-certified training academy for police patrol officers



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