Today’s Investigative Special Report July 15, 2012 “Dealing With Today’s Law Enforcement Specialized Investigations” “The Victims of Violence Are Not the Only Casualties – But Those on the Front-Lines Responsible For Fighting For Those Victims”

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

With all the violence occurring across America law enforcement official’s resources are being pushed  
Unsolved Double Homicide Near My House
Unsolved Double Homicide Near My House (Photo credit: 666isMONEY ☮ ♥ & ☠)
to unexpected levels, not just financially. The stress of the job has created a morale and mental decrease of those who deal with crime on the frontline. In the past law enforcement was able to combat crime in a proactive fashion and deal with crime head on. The current law enforcement approach is a reactive policy and procedure due to the demand of major crimes such as serious assaults, shootings, and murders. There are a multitude of reasons for the draining of financial resources and front-line personnel, one of the reasons being the violence occurring across America.

Law enforcement officials who wear a uniform need to be supported on many levels by their agency, politicians, media outlets, and those living in the community. Without the necessary support from these individuals and organizations, the victims of violence are not alone in this struggle to combat the ever increasing violence. Their partner is those responsible to assist, protect, and serve those, due to violence, have become casualties due to the high stress and demand of law enforcement front-line personnel.

Today, the comparison of homicides across the nation is staggering. In Chicago, homicides are up 38%; in New York homicides are down by 17%; in Detroit homicides are up 2%; in Philadelphia homicides are up 20%; in Houston homicides are up 27%; in Seattle homicides are up 39%; in Dallas homicides are down 20%; in Orlando homicides are down 33%; in San Diego homicides are up 10%; in Detroit homicides are down by 1%; and in North Carolina homicides are up by 6%.

No matter what city crimes of violence is still occurring, some at an unbelievable increase and some, not many decreasing? There has been minimal law enforcement policies and procedures, which have been implemented across America which have the answer for the increasing or decreasing of violence.  The statistics demonstrate that law enforcement and the criminal justice overall resources are being maximized to their limits.

Law enforcement resources are one of the highest misused of public services by the public. The misuse of the financial costs of criminal behavior is not the only tragedy which is taking place. A significant cost is what violence on the streets is doing to the first-response public service personnel. Every day and night law enforcement and fire personnel are responding to one violent crime to the next. The concern should be what type of physical, mental, and emotional tolls are these demands taking on those who are employed to protect and serve the public?

Stress on the job is affecting law enforcement officials in so many ways. According to The Police Policy Studies Council, “Even more troubling is the prospect that the synergy of job stress and chronic sleep indebtedness contributes mightily to a diminished life expectancy. In the U.S., non-police males have a life-expectancy of 73 years. Policemen in the U.S. have a life expectancy of 53-66 years, depending on which research one decides to embrace.”

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.
Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The concerns of those in the criminal justice system are the policies and procedures, which have been semi-effective need and desperately need an over-haul.  Creative, innovative, critical thinkers and leadership has to be the way of the future when it comes to combating the violence occurring across America. Further, the physical, mental, and emotional toll on those who work in the criminal justice system needs to be immediately addressed.

Current physical, mental, and emotional disabilities of law enforcement officers is increasing, due to a multitude of reasons. These reasons include the post-traumatic stress disorder which is being addressed in the law enforcement community due to the many wars the United States has been in. Soldiers have come home from wars only to find themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally in trouble and disabled. Suicide is very high when it comes to soldiers who return from war, as well as those who work in the law enforcement field.

Being a law enforcement officer is similar to those of the military. The conflicts they deal with, the injuries and deaths which are part of their job on a daily basis, the officer safety issues which has become increasingly a major concern of those in the criminal justice system have contributed to an unhealthy work environment.

According to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 72 officers were killed by perpetrators in 2011, a 25 percent increase from the previous year and a 75 percent increase from 2008. At times it seems the criminals are better equipped when it comes to firearms, strategies, threats, assaults, and so forth. The need for more effective training and education needs to be implemented to stop law enforcement officials from being assaulted, injured, or murdered.

The ability of dealing with all of these factors is confusing, being dealt with, but not as fast as those who are becoming battle casualties. Turning to the medical and mental health experts seems to be the logical and intelligent place to start. Proper diet and exercise is a necessary evil which all human beings need to live by especially those who work in an environment which is demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally.

There are several approaches which come down to a change of the way things are done in the tasks of the law enforcements job. Legislatures need to change the laws which make violence a crime no one who is involved in wants to be a part of. The minor violent acts, specifically those committed on law enforcement officials, to the major crimes need to be dealt with harshly.

There should be an educational plan which should be implemented in every community across America by using the media outlets as the voice of stopping the violence. Television commercials should tell the audience that violence will no longer be tolerated and those who violate the laws will be dealt with effectively and with all of the resources available to the criminal justice system.

Law enforcement agencies need to provide extensive training on how to deal with physical, mental, and emotional issues. The need for protective equipment in order to decrease injuries needs to be funded, even in an economy which is in serious poor shape. The theme by those who can make a difference should be “whatever it takes, and then some.”
FBI Criminal Justice Information Services.
FBI Criminal Justice Information Services. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The medical and mental health communities need to step forward and offer assistance to those in the law enforcement community. Specialized programs need to be developed and offered, so when a problem arises the problem can be dealt with immediately.

Law enforcement officers need to step up to the plate and demand the way things are being done. Operational and strategies need to be devised from those who work the street and not from those who sit in the ivory tower and have little understanding of the needs of the first line personnel.

It is time to stop the excuses from those who can make the necessary changes and begin a support campaign so the casualties of those who serve the community are no longer the “latent victims.” The media needs to support and report the great work those in the criminal justice system are performing.

It seems the only time the media outlets report about the criminal justice officials is when a law enforcement official does something wrong. The media outlets should expend 60 seconds several times a day providing their community with the positive and successful things the criminal justice system is performing. The time the media outlets expends detailing and describing what the criminals are doing and should be replaced with what the first-line law enforcement officials are doing.

Turning the tables on those who violate the laws is the key to changing the manner in which society deals with criminals.  Those who work in the criminal justice system need to be properly compensated so they aren’t working double shifts, extra jobs, and other steps to pay their bills. These individuals need to expend time away from the job, so their family receives the proper attention, they are able to exercise, and receive the proper medical and mental health resources.

The increase in violence, shootings, and homicides demonstrates that America is dealing with many problems where there are no easy answers for all those involved in some manner. Public services especially the law and fire front-line personnel are being taxed to their limits, financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

There needs to be a change in how law enforcement addresses the manner in which they approach, respond, and deal with violent predators. The administrators need to step up to the plate and begin evaluating from those who are on the front-line on how to properly deal with these issues.

The medical and mental health fields need to begin volunteering their services to the law and fire professionals if only to be a listening ear. Lastly, the media outlets need to begin publicly addressing the violence, not by telling their audience that this crime occurred here and there, but this is what you can do as a citizen to stop and report crimes. Those in the media need to begin telling everyone that this is what your law and fire personnel are doing for the community every day and night.

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Lawrence W. Daly                                       
Puyallup, WA

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