Today’s Investigative Special Report - September 21, 2012 “Dealing With Today’s Law Enforcement Specialized Investigations” “Have You Ever Evaluated Your Law Enforcement Agencies And Officers?

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
Forensic Expert – Senior Author
In the city of Kent, Washington there are numerous law enforcement agencies which work amongst the citizens in a city which has grown to nearly 80,000 since it became a city on May 28, 1890. You are probably asking why the city of Kent would be of interest to you. Great question and I your author have the answer. My wife and I live in Kent and enjoy the secure and friendly environment it presents to two elderly citizens in the community.
Kent County Court House
Kent County Court House (Photo credit: jimmywayne)
I know that makes me sound old, using the word elderly, but I will soon be 60 and as my younger family and friends tell me, that is old. The law enforcement community has a major Regional Justice Center in downtown Kent. Every day the diversity of law enforcement personnel have to drive through the city and this presents an atmosphere where living in Kent is safe. It is like there is this sign which reads, “Criminals Go Home.”
Kent is located in the county of King, so the King County Sheriff’s Department travels to and through Kent every day traveling to the outskirts of the city. Most of the main roads operating in and out of the city are state highways which the Washington State Patrol is responsible for.
Most of the lakes, parks, and other natural resources are protected by divisions of the city, county, and state patrol.
Depending on who you are, you may enjoy living in a city similar to Kent. In fact you may live in a city which provides you with the comfort of security and safety. However, now that you know who is responsible for enforcement in my city and hopefully your city, have you ever taken the time to evaluate the type of law enforcement agencies who work amongst you?
So what are the parameters you would use in evaluating your law enforcement agencies? The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is the agency the law enforcement agencies in your city report to i.e. the types of crimes, who committed them, and etc.
The FBI believes your law enforcement agency should be evaluated on the following, let’s ascertain if you agree:
Persons attacked: the number of victims; their age, sex, and race; and when possible, their occupations.
Property attacked: the type of premises in which the offense was committed, such as drug store, grocery store, gasoline station, etc. If a building is used for several different purposes, the first purpose for which the particular room entered is used is typically indicated; after that, the general use of the building.
How attacked: the general manner in which the crime was committed. If a burglary occurred, state the location of the door or window by which entrance was gained. In a robbery case, indicate whether the victim was threatened, strong-armed, etc. For a theft, specify the place from which the property was stolen, such as a desk, cash register, car, porch, etc.
Means of attack: any instruments, tools, or devices used in attacking persons or property. In burglary cases, all tools should be specifically described, showing for instance the size of a jimmy or a drill. In robbery cases, the best possible description of the weapons should be given. In theft cases, the means of attack may be the carrying away or driving away of property, shoplifting, etc.
Object of attack: in crimes against property, the property stolen will be the object of attack. The specific type of property, such as money, jewelry, clothing, silverware, etc. should be shown. In crimes against person, the object of attack will be expressed in terms of the motive (as distinguished from any property)—illicit love affair, robbery, quarrels, etc.
Trademark: any peculiarity in the commission of the crime which might aid in distinguishing it from other generally similar crimes.
Vehicle used: as completely as possible, include the year, make, model, color, type, vehicle identification number (VIN), and license plate number of any vehicle used in the commission of a crime.
Suspect: descriptive data of the suspect, such as the age, sex, and race. Also, other descriptive data such as the height, weight, identifiable scars and marks, geographical accents in speech, body odors, or anything which might be helpful in later identifying the suspect is typically included. (U.S. Department of Justice, 1984)
These categories are filtered through the local agencies to the FBI using a system known as the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) which allows an officer to code in the type of crime which was committed and then provide the above criteria. The UCR was developed by the FBI in 1929 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police who needed a system with integrity and one that could archive the above criteria information.
The evaluation of your local agency will come by way of reports created by the FBI. Further, your own agency will have a division where all they do is analyze crime patterns, activities, perpetrators, and assist other divisions on where the problem areas are in your city.
With new technology the crime analysis units can identify a problem and not only communicate the problem to their own agency but to surrounding agency. A pattern of crimes may require a task force to be put in place and address the crimes occurring in a specific location.
While law enforcement agencies are monitoring each other citizens monitor the performance of their agencies. The criteria of what the FBI needs to evaluate and what a citizen needs to evaluate a law enforcement agency may be different, but in essence are usually similar, minus the police acronyms and jargon.
As a citizen if you are not a victim of a crime you may have the false belief that you are safe from perpetrators coming into your neighborhood and breaking into your house; robbing the local drug store; gang activity; and other factors.
In evaluating your law enforcement agency you may give them an A+ in proactive patrol and a F for patrolling the city if you happen to be caught speeding through a school zone. The contact you have with the law enforcement officers probably will decide what grade they receive depending on your situation.
Response time always seems to be a major factor in the evaluation if your agency is providing excellent service. If the patrol units are expending their time baby-sitting the youth problem in your area, then it is difficult for them to respond to a call for assistance or act proactively stopping crimes from occurring in your neighborhood. Being a parent and a victim of a crime can sometimes be similar in nature.
However you evaluate your law enforcement agencies and officers, remember they are individuals who are generally performing a job they enjoy i.e. providing public service to a community who relies upon them for assistance.
Every contact you have with law enforcement may not be positive, but overall, if you are a law abiding citizen who is careful not to commit a traffic violation, supports the men and women who are proud to wear the uniform, then your feeling of being secure and safe sounds to be based upon solid ground. Your evaluation may be right on target and if it is, when is the last time you told an officer just how much you appreciate the work they do?

Description: Larry-Daly_01

Lawrence W. Daly           
Puyallup, WA

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