11.05.2012

Today’s Investigative Special Report – November 5, 2012 “Dealing With Today’s Law Enforcement Specialized Investigations” “National Storm Police Force – A Good or Unrealistic Idea?”



LONG BEACH, NY - OCTOBER 28:  Rich of Long Bea...
LONG BEACH, NY - OCTOBER 28: Rich of Long Beach prepares sand bags as Hurrican Sandy approaches on October 28, 2012 in Long Beach, New York. Sandy, which has already claimed over 50 lives in the Caribbean, is predicted to bring heavy winds and flooding to the mid-atlantic region. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
            By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
Forensic Expert – Senior Author
The ever demanding law enforcement needs has raised the question reference is there an alternative in preventing, protecting, and serving the needs of potential storm victims? The demand for services is so great on the local, county, and state law enforcement before, during and after a storm there is little to no time for proactive enforcement of criminal behavior.
The after storm criminal behavior surrounds looting and fraud type crimes. As soon as the sun goes down the local criminals come out and begin victimizing those who have little to nothing left. Law enforcement is spread so thin that there is little time to patrol the neighborhood areas where homes have been decimated and people have limited resources.
In the recent storm named Sandy, the police had time to prepare up and down the eastern shores. However, the preparation and institution of plans developed prior to the storm landing may be of little assistance as mother nature has the power to do what she wants. Man-made barriers, sand bags, and other creations may stand for a certain amount of time, but in the end they may be of no value. Sandy was brutal and her devastation was felt in a number of states.
So what are the law enforcement answers to combat the criminal element which accompanies a storm prior to and especially during the aftermath? The damage caused by Sandy is estimated at 50 billion dollars and they are still counting. How much cost there will be to law enforcement is unknown at this time and the amount of crimes may dictate the growing costs of enforcing criminal behavior during the transitional stages of recovery.
Homeland Security deals with a multitude of crimes, but establishing a “National Storm Police” may seem to be costly and an excuse to turn this division into a National Police Force is if not concerning but scary. The fears may cause the idea not to be considered as the idea may seem unrealistic, unreasonable, and illogical, but since there has never been such a type of specialized law enforcement people may not support it.
The areas where a National Storm Police Force could assist local, county, and state law enforcement would be a responsive law enforcement agency which establishes storm zones. In these storm zones they would be responsible to do nothing but respond to complaints about crimes. Further, they would insert proactive police units which specifically work in the most devastated areas where looters roam free to do whatever they want and where thefts, assaults, and robberies occur throughout the night time.
In examining and evaluating where a National Storm Police Force would be able of assistance to local law enforcement agencies and the community are as follows:
LONG BEACH, NY - OCTOBER 28:  A man surfs as H...
LONG BEACH, NY - OCTOBER 28: A man surfs as Hurrican Sandy approaches on October 28, 2012 in Long Beach, New York. Sandy, which has already claimed over 50 lives in the Caribbean, is predicted to bring heavy winds and flooding to the mid-atlantic region. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
1.      Road type crimes which deal with situations such as major crimes i.e. assaults, homicides, robberies, vehicle assault, and etc. The other type of road issues such as down wires, trees, floods, and etc. can be handled by the established law enforcement agencies and companies who specifically deal with these issues.
2.      Marshall law will be handled by the established law enforcement agencies or the National Guard. Any major crimes which occur within those jurisdictions would be handled by the National Storm Police.
3.      Evacuation issues and responsibilities prior to and during can be handled by the established law enforcement and fire department agencies. Any major crimes which occur within those jurisdictions would be handled by the National Storm Police.
4.      Reports of fraud by individuals who promise devastated residents that they can rebuild their homes or assist in remodeling the home. This type of fraud was seen in the aftermath of Katrina. It is important in the current storm Sandy and any future storms that this type of fraud is proactively pursued, complaints taken, perpetrators apprehended and prosecuted.
5.      The storm zones the National Storm Police Force would work in would create a perimeter around the most devastated areas, where individuals congregate for food and shelter. Individuals who prey upon the young, old, weak, and other individuals who can’t defend themselves are generally targeted and robbed of their possessions. A National Storm Police Force would implement uniformed and undercover officers who would specifically target these types of perpetrators.
6.      The need for resources within the criminal justice system would need to be created as the number of arrests made would increase the jail population and court system. Crime should not be overlooked because the arresting of criminals causes resources to be maximized or exhausted. If criminals are committing crimes against vulnerable storm victims they need to be prosecuted to the fullest.
7.      There will be other reasons why a National Storm Police Force can benefit communities which become victims due to storms of all kinds. The purpose of this police force would be to assist local, county, and state law enforcement agencies in dealing with serious crimes where they would be handled either at a later date or never handled due to victims, witnesses, and perpetrators leaving the area.
It seems ludicrous to consider that creating another law enforcement agency be created for specialized investigations would be of use to victims of storms. However, let us consider the other options:
1.      Local, county, and state law enforcement can prepare for specific storms, but the amount of damage, devastation, and crime is unpredictable. Most law enforcement agencies can’t afford to address the demands of a devastated community that a storm causes.
2.      Local, county, and state law enforcement can put officers into storm zones where uniform and plain clothes officers would be a presence in the zones. The mere presence may stop a criminal from committing a crime. Most law enforcement agencies can’t afford to be proactive. Local law enforcement officers are dealing with deaths, locating individuals who need medical assistance and so forth. Every minute they have available is expended on assisting victims who have lost family and friends.
The Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) was a U.S. federal agency within the U.S. Department of Justice. It administered funding to state and local law enforcement agencies, and funded educational programs, research, state planning agencies, and local initiatives. The LEAA was seen as the government
 considering developing and creating a national police force. The
Mississippi National Guard
Mississippi National Guard (Photo credit: The National Guard)
 LEAA was abolished in 1982.
Recently President Obama began considering possibly moving towards a national police force. His ideology is to turn local police agencies into a national security force to match the strength and replication of the armed services. In 2011, President Obama advocated enlarging the U.S. Marshal’s Service into a “stability police.”
The number of consideration about changing or expanding the current local, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies is a possibility of the future. Establishing a National Storm Police Force seems reasonable and logical when you examine and review the advantages versus the disadvantages. The only disadvantage is the concern by law enforcement agencies and citizens that a National Storm Police Force is one step away from a national police force. This is always a possibility depending on the President of the United States and his ideology.
When you consider what a citizen said on a national television show today when he was interviewed about the conditions of the aftermath of Sandy, he replied that there are only two concerns that the storm victims have, the access to heat and the looters who try to take what you have, come into your home and rob you, and try to take anything else they can.
Hurrican Sandy
Hurrican Sandy (Photo credit: jaydensonbx)
There is no way to stop most crimes under the best of circumstances, but when there is death, devastation, hunger, and the lack of shelter the criminals seem to find their way through the neighborhoods where they hurt and steal from vulnerable people. The establishment of a National Storm Police Force if managed correctly, with the proper leadership could make a difference to communities which are victims of storms. May the idea of a National Storm Police Force be of value or unrealistic will eventually be left to those in leadership.


 
Lawrence W. Daly
206-650-0229
onedaly@onedaly.com
Kent, WA




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