Free Police Community Relations Essay Sample
Nowadays, law enforcement agents face many issues while trying to establish productive and positive relationship with the community. Many of these challenges emerge due to the fact that police departments have poor communication skills, different views on how to resolve pressing criminal justice issues, and properly establish social control in a modern, free, and democratic society. Recent police shootings across the USA have raised numerous questions about the relationship between the community and police officers, who are responsible for the protection of civilians. Nowadays, the police departments review the use-of-force policy that focuses on the de-escalation concepts. Despite the complexity of criminal justice system, communities continue to rely on police departments in regard to the protection and serving; the law enforcement agents rely on community support as well, but the relationship between both parties is not always positive and harmonious, and, therefore, it produces many issues.
Reasons for Poor Police Community Relations
Causes of inadequate police community relationship include the socialization of children by their parents to distrust and fear the police officers, hostility towards the law enforcement agents, the lack of confidence in police ability to decrease the crime rate, poor contact between citizens and police officers. Many people badly treat law enforcement agents considering them violent, corrupt, and rude. Veteran officers prefer not to deal with the communities at all. Policemen also lack adequate communication skills that could help them enlist communitys support. Moreover, citizens and police have different views regarding the causes of crime and response to them. In general, these factors have forced police reformers to develop relevant solutions to all issues faced by the criminal justice system, including the integration of human relations into law enforcement sphere. Nowadays, police executives, as well as their subordinates, focus more on bearing responsibility for the law enforcement. It is a mistake, as they have to interact with the citizens, whom they serve.
Inadequacy of Programs
During student protests and riots, the U.S. officials start questioning the efficiency of efforts and actions undertaken in the field of police-community relationship. The traditional model of community organization including councils and committees does not improve the relationship between police officers and citizens. As a result, policemen start expressing skepticism about their professional activity; question the worthiness of their actions and efforts. Most of the police-community relations programs have not been effective mostly due to the lack of scientific and rigorous evaluations. Program developers often resist to such studies as many citizens have not changed their attitude, or they have refused to participate in research. Moreover, there is little progress in resolving societal issues that may significantly affect the relationship between communities and police officers. In the context of policy-making process, the competent bodies face challenges with obtaining vital resources, and most departments resist necessary changes.
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Levels of Interaction and Building Trust between the Community and Police
Law enforcement agents work with communities at individual, organizational, and political levels. The general harmony can be reached only if law enforcement agents adequately represent the communitys interests. Unfortunately, it does not always happen. When the police officers are unable to synchronize these sentiments, disagreement and discontent emerge. Moreover, different community groups differently view law enforcement agents, and they also have various objectives and priorities.
Difficulties emerged at one level of interaction can produce repercussions at another one. In recent years, the mass media has delivered many stories about unfortunate incidents occurred between the law enforcement agents and communities. The mass media prefers to focus only on this issue while neglecting positive aspects of police-community relations. As a result, the audience gets false, negative, and unfair picture of professional activity of law enforcement agents, and public loses trust in police. It is quite difficult to rebuild that trust, and, therefore, law and police agencies take necessary measures to improve their relationship with citizens. They include the development of community outreach programs, communication skills, specialized training, the promotion of interdepartmental accountability, and internal affairs. Only in this case, the communities can trust the police again. The lack of legitimacy and integrity culture within communities and police departments may prevent parties from building and sustaining trust in safe communities.
Deteriorated Relationship between Community and Police
The relationship between police and communities deteriorates due to inadequate community policing and collaborative efforts to identify and resolve crime issues. In reality, law enforcement agents alone cannot control offenses and promote high quality of life. Unfortunately, in the light of recent events, the relationship between police and community has significantly deteriorated. Therefore, current efforts are directed towards building strong relationship of mutual trust between various parties and maintain public safety. The lack of cooperation and vital information about crimes in neighborhoods prevent police officers from resolving crime and disorder issues. Moreover, if the community views that police actions do not reflect their values and fail to incorporate legitimacy principles, then the citizens will never trust the police. In the light of recent crimes including the use of force and guns by the policemen, the legitimacy of their actions has been questioned by many people in communities. As a result, the citizens have organized large-scale protest marches and riots criticizing excessive use of force and police misconduct. Therefore, the task of top priority is to improve the relationship with the local community to prevent misunderstanding and many other challenges.
To avoid issues, the establishment of policy-community relationship should be accompanied by the collection of communication techniques to convince the public about the policies, practices, and programs. The current communication in the public relations process is one-sided- from the law enforcement agents to the communities. However, in order to reach harmony and balance, it has to be bilateral. If the communities are consulted and only some of their issues are taken into consideration and addressed, other individuals, whose problems are ignored, may be upset. Another issue is that when police officers consider some actions to be good and beneficial, the community may not necessarily think the same way.
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Impact of Poor Police-Community Relations and Identified Issues
In case of poor police-community relations, police officers may not completely understand communitys goals and issues. In the neighborhoods with high crime, poverty, and homelessness, the residents perceive police officers as a force that does more harm than good to people. Therefore, the relationship between the citizens and police officers requires relevant changes and the resolution of such issues as racial tension, corruption, violence, and fear of police.
The organization of regular meetings between police officers and communities has helped to identify and resolve various issues, including disorder-type problems and drug dealing. Due to the challenges faced by vulnerable neighborhoods, residents and police officers develop various approaches to alleviate pressing issues as they know that the lack of residents involvement in high-crime and poor areas will only aggravate problems. For example, low-income households, ethnic minorities, and individuals without diploma are not engaged in these initiatives. Recent improvements in police officers behavior, attitude, and community relations have been moderate and have not brought significant changes.
Importance and Drawbacks of Community Policing
Through close alliance between the community and law enforcement agents, community policing helps to diminish peoples fear of crime, improve public relations, and facilitate adequate responses to community issues. However, this approach has drawbacks. The hostility between the residents and police officers can hinder productive relationship between the two parties; an increase in agents decision-making autonomy can also boost corruption in criminal justice system. Resistance within the police department can hinder successful realization of community policing. Under community policing, the relationship between the police agents and residents is supposed to improve. However, in reality, the cooperation between the locals and policemen has not brought the desired satisfaction. However, the criminal situation in individual states differs depending on efforts undertaken by officials. The crucial challenge of community policing is to make officers aware of benefits that reduced social disorder and increased public engagement in neighborhood issues can bring. Officers autonomy also increases the likelihood of bribery and abuse of authority. Little efforts have been undertaken to address this issue, but the presence of corruption and patronage in criminal justice system reminds of danger and hazards of implicating the law enforcement directly in the communitys life.
The relationship and interaction between police officers and local residents are difficult particularly in the context of serving and protecting the population from criminal elements. Communities should be able to conduct productive dialogue with law enforcement agents and police officers, engage in decision-making process, and work for strong communities and their peaceful, stable, and safe future. Unfortunately, nowadays, safety is compromised, and public trust is broken as locals experience inequitable law enforcement. Citizens consider policemen to be prejudiced and highlight the fact that most of them enforce the policy in an unfair manner. As a result, the relationship between law enforcement agents and communities is deteriorated. In order to resolve all pressing issues, harmony and balance between public safety and civil liberties should be reached.