Futuristic Criminal Investigations-Part V

Source: FDA-OCIImage via Wikipedia

Specializing In Forensic Child Sexual Abuse Investigations

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

If law enforcement has the capability of looking into the future, will the crime rate drop, will the way law enforcement approaches a crime change, will the ability to identify the motive of why the crime was committed quickly appear at a crime scene, will criminal behavior be identified prior to the crime being committed? These are the type of questions which need to be continually considered by those who operate and command police officers.

One of the aspects of a futuristic attitude and viewpoint is finding a method and technique which is competent and intelligent. According to Lyle M. Spencer and Signe Spencer (1993) there are five types of competency characteristics:

1.      Motives – The things a person consistently thinks about or wants that cause action. Motives “drive, direct, and select” behavior toward certain actions or goals and away from others.
2.      TraitsPhysical characteristics and consistent responses to situations or information.
3.      Self-Concept – A person’s attitudes, values, or self-image.
4.      Knowledge Information a person has in specific content areas.
5.      Skills – The ability to perform a certain physical or mental task.

All of the above competency characteristics correlate with the jobs performed by law enforcement officials. In reviewing the information that the Spencer’s presented, the motives of an individual is based on the theory that an individual who identifies and pursues obtaining those goals is a motivated individual. In the field of law enforcement the career a police officer follows will be determined by multiple criteria’s. A police officer may choose to be a specialist in the Arson Unit, Sexual Assault Unit, Operations and so forth. Whichever the police officer sets their professional goals on, it will take years to become competent, intelligent, knowledgeable, thorough and complete in their specialize unit.

Some police officers aspire to be in management in a specialized unit. In the Los Angeles Police Department the police officer has the chance to proceed in management in the specialized unit. Therefore, the police officer not only has the opportunity to learn, become educated and knowledgeable about the job, but to advance in rank.

The types of Traits that the Spencer’s presented deals with the type of individual who has the physical and emotional ability to demonstrate self-control in situations which may present themselves.  Further, that the perception of the self-control is based on not short periods of time, but long. As discussed above it will take years to obtain the traits which teach the police officer the self-control which is needed at any given situation.

The types of Self-concepts that the Spencer’s presented are the belief that an individual can be effective in any given situation. Self-confidence is important to be an effective police officer, especially when assigned to reactive patrol. Individuals will try to manipulate and pressure a police officer into losing control. The confrontations a police officer will come across require under all circumstances that they demonstrate confidence. The self-concept evaluates those situations which are short-term and deal with the immediate circumstances.

The types of Knowledge that the Spencer’s presented deals with a complex set of criteria when it comes to competency. The taking of a test does not demonstrate the knowledge an individual has when it comes to working in the specific job. The example the Spencer provides is right on target. They state, “The ability to choose which of five items (answers to a question on a test) is an effective argument is very different from the ability to stand up in a conflict situation and argue persuasively. This example demonstrates that when testing individuals who want to become police officers there is a need in the future to utilize critical thinking in the manner in which they are tested. Too often individuals are good at taking tests, but when it comes time to perform under stressful situations they are incapable, which may be due to a lack of common sense and street smarts.

The types of Skills the Spencer’s presented deals with performance such as a police officer who responds to a crime scene and immediately secures the area around the crime so others do not have the chance to contaminate it. The problems associated with skills is that they are developed over a long period of time. Just because the police officer wears a uniform there is no guarantee that under special circumstances i.e. a perpetrator who pulls a firearm on them they will know how to react. The art of communication with a perpetrator is something that takes time. The decision to react to a hostile individual comes from developing a keen sense of what most hostile individuals will do. Experience is the best barometer for the police officer to properly gauge the situation.

The future of training and educating police officers to be competent, intelligent, knowledgeable, thorough and understanding of the complex nature of the multiple situations they will encounter on the job will take time. There are no police jobs which you can proficiently learn overnight.

There is a current need for law enforcement officials to think outside the box and create an evaluation of how to enhance job performances. The five characteristics the Spencer’s wrote about in 1993 was a futuristic ideology which presented those in a work environment to become efficient and competent in the manner in which employees deal with. Moreover, the abilities each individual possesses are the avenues to find and apply competence.

Tomorrow, I will continue the pursuit of the futuristic ideology which is at the forefront of the profession of the law enforcement community. There are many roads to travel and finding alternatives methods of transportation are the keys to finding new and innovative solutions. The Spencer’s were ahead of their time as it is 18 years since their publication and it is still utilized as a reference when it comes to competence at work.

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