10.27.2011

Futuristic Criminal Investigations-Part VI

US Federal Protective Service Police officer w...Image via Wikipedia

Specializing In Forensic Child Sexual
 Abuse Investigations


By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

The stability of the law enforcement agency is built upon a strong moral and integrity base within the police department. The police officers who serve and protect the community must stand above the rest. They must stand for integrity and demonstrate this attitude in every situation they are presented with.

The future holds many opportunities for the present and future police officer to take strides in being innovative and creative. The conduct of the future police officer must be above reproach. The documentation available to the community will make police officers accountable for their actions. Mobile telephones have video and audio digital recorders besides powerful cameras. If a police officer acts unprofessionally and the conduct is caught on video, the officer will be looking for a new career.

Performance measures of employment standards need to improve and become relevant to the challenges of those who wear the uniform. The law enforcement officials, who are responsible for the evaluation of their police officers performance, need to a continual promotion of job performance excellence.  This excellence must detail standards which are reachable and relevant to the current and future times.

When law enforcement officials set performance standards which are unreachable and unreasonable this concept will decay morale and then the performance of their police officers will be diminished. It only takes a few bad apples to bring the morale down a notch. The law enforcement officials need to remind those who supervise employees that it is necessary to continually address conduct, performance, standards and the purpose of continual evaluations.

The future law enforcement official who will have the responsibility to inspect and instruct how their supervisors are performing will take them into the second decade of the 21st century. The standards of yesterday do not correlate with the future standards. Technology has taken law enforcement in a new direction and the employee evaluation system must incorporate how to enhance the abilities and skills of police officers.

The future police officer must strive and pursue goals which are achievement oriented. According to BusinessDictionary.com being achievement oriented is defined as, “Management which sets challenging goals, assists in training, emphasizes improvement, and expects the highest levels of performance.”

Law enforcement management must be achievement oriented as the community expects the performance of their police officers to be the best they can be. Nothing more than being achievement oriented is acceptable.

Achievement oriented presents police officers with the opportunity to compete amongst themselves. This allows the police officer to strive for improvement. The future police officer strives to be the best they can be. Being complacent is no longer the norm, but in the future being the best you can be will be the standard.

The future police officer who is results oriented must have the courage and drive to establish themselves as one of the competent and intelligent police officers in the department. Reputation is something a police officer will be socially evaluated by other police officers and those working in the criminal justice system. The future police officer must be practical and concentrate on accomplishing not only the work presented to him/her, but to reaching further, finding the energy and drive to be the best they can be.

The expectations of the future police officer will be that the standard finds each police officer physically and mentally conditioned. The future police officer will need to stop the increase in physical and mental failures. These failures are seen in many police officers due to the stress they find themselves in. These stressful situations may cause them to suffer from high blood pressure, insomnia, increased levels of destructive stress hormones, heart problems, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicide.

Researchers have identified that the average age of the current police officer is somewhere between 50-54 years old. The types of jobs current police officers are in ranges from being a reactive patrol officer to a detective. The job classification depends on the type of law enforcement the police officer is employed by. Whatever job the police officer is assigned to, the job is very dangerous and stressful. Police officers have the highest rate of on the job injury and illness. Additionally, since law enforcement officers live in a world of darkness because of the type of people they deal with on a daily basis this could take a toll on them physically and mentally.

When I was a police detective I worked for a sergeant in the Special Assault Unit, Sgt. Howard Reynolds. One of the best police officers I ever had the pleasure of working for. When the detectives in the Unit began complaining about their responsibilities and what the job was doing to them mentally he told them the following, “Nobody told you, you had to become a police officer; if the job is that tough there are a lot of openings at King County Metro; being a bus driver is a great job.”

He was right about being a police officer; it is an individual choice. The future police officer knows the risks of becoming a police officer. They also know if they don’t do the right things physically and mentally; their life on this earth may be cut short.

Tomorrow, I will address the type of perpetrator the future police officer will have to deal with. With the ever changing technology available to the career criminal it is making the job of being a police officer difficult and very dangerous. Most criminals who commit major crimes may be better equipped with weapons and manpower. This is an interesting aspect of law enforcement and needs further exploration. 

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