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Detail at least one, if not two, specific ways in which law enforcement agencies can overcome police misconduct. In the details, list specific points that will be necessary to overcome in making reforms to the agency if necessary.
In an era when police administrators are advocating closer ties with citizens in their communities, scandals such as corruption, brutality, illicit drug use, as well as other criminal activities committed by police officers do little to portray the positive image the agencies are striving to attain. For the past several decades, police misconduct has made news headlines all too frequently. The tragedy of these primetime police scandals is that they give a black eye to the police officer who has integrity and who refrains from committing even a minor act that could be construed as misconduct. A greater tragedy occurs when citizens of the community and the nation lose their confidence in the police. The reputation of a police agency transcends its immediate community and more often than not, affects surrounding communities and police departments.
Not only does misconduct committed by an officer personally affect that officer, it also affects the community, the police department that employs the officer and every police department and police officer in America. Frequently, negative police actions caused by inappropriate police behavior reaches every corner of the nation, and at times, the world. Police misconduct cannot be tolerated. Due to the nature of police work, law enforcement officers need to be held to higher standards than the average citizen. A tarnished image of policing cuts deep into the moral fabric of our nation’s character. Throughout the world, people watch police officers to determine whether they are living up to the standards expected of those in a position of law enforcement and public trust. Police officers are expected to be protectors, not abusers of society. The primary responsibility of police in our society is to protect the human rights of all citizens regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnic make-up, race, gender, or religious beliefs. When police officers abuse those same citizens they have sworn to protect, they are ethically and morally violating the oath they committed to the first day they joined the police force.
One way to make officers accountable for their misconduct is through the internal affairs division. The majority of American communities have some form of police internal review of complaints against police officers. In smaller departments, an officer will be responsible for receiving and investigating a civilian’s compliant of abuse by an officer. Larger departments have an internal affairs division with several officers receiving and investigating civilian complaints of abuse. The chief of police reviews the internal report and their recommendations, then decides whether any disciplinary actions will be taken.
Another way of making sure that officers are held accountable for their actions is with an effective and efficient civilian oversight board. An effective review board would consist of an appointed board with a team of paid, non-police-affiliated investigators. Complaints would be received by civilians, not police officers. The board would have the power to subpoena. Reviews of police policy and training would be a regular function of the board and many of the complaints would be handled through mediation. By incorporating these aspects into the civilian review board individuals are more willing to file complaints. Investigations would be independently conducted, inspiring public confidence in the outcome. Individuals would be better able to provide feedback to police, achieving community policing goals and, more importantly, police are held accountable for their actions.
The availability of a legitimate and sound civilian complaint process offers a means for addressing accusations of police misuse of force in a fair manner. Community members, remembering previously unresolved complaints, may harbor expectations that the police department will discredit and dismiss the immediate complaint. Being without community support in the process at a moment of crisis runs a very high risk for the immediate crisis to escalate. In an effort to enhance the credibility of the complaint review process many communities have expanded the complaint process to include civilian input.
The positive of a civilian review board is that it takes on a variety of forms. It can include using community representatives to conduct systematic reviews of complaints to identify needed improvements in the internal review process to a hybrid approach that uses a board of review composed of police officers and civilians either to hear and adjudicate the complaint or to select officers to serve as investigators for an all civilian review board. Each civilian review mechanism reflects that community’s judgment of how best to meet the community’s needs. The review board can conduct parallel investigations to supplement the internal affairs investigations. It is very rare for a civilian review board to have the final say as to the disposition of an investigation or discipline to be imposed on an officer. These ultimate decisions generally continue to be the province of the chief of police. Nonetheless, all civilian review boards with independent investigatory authority seem to have the power to make recommendations to the chief on disposition and discipline. A properly conceived civilian review system acts as a check and balance to the police force. A truly independent body which has the power to review police policies as well as the behavior of individual officers is fundamental to good government.
The hallmark of a democratic system is that its governmental institutions (including the police force) are accountable to the citizens for whom they work.
Develop a satisfaction survey that you are going to give to law enforcement agencies. Detail what you want to measure: job satisfaction, police-citizen contacts, administration or personnel issues, or anything that may pertain to officer misconduct. The survey will be answered by each individual police officer in the agency. Write a complete detail of how you will carry out this research.
Taking a job satisfaction survey is a great way to find out if your current job is fulfilling your needs. Any job is going to have its ups and downs, its good days and bad. But if your job is not bringing you true satisfaction, the effects on your state of mind and your relationships can be devastating. The stress that arises from being in a job or career that you truly don’t like can quickly erode your physical and mental health as well. This can be truly detrimental to not only you, but others you come in contact with if you work in law enforcement.
My law enforcement survey would be formatted based on the five-point Likert scale. It would be an anonymous mailed survey sent to all of the officer’s precinct mailboxes in the department. So that officer’s will feel free to answer the survey honestly without fear of ramifications identifying information will not be required. There would also be a postage paid return envelope included so that he/she could anonymously return the completed survey. All respondents would be informed of the objective of the survey, their rights as participants, that the survey is voluntary, and that their responses would remain anonymous. To increase the officer response rate to the survey, in addition to mailing the survey to the police department, I would also send an email to all of the officers encouraging them to complete and return the survey. The survey will focus on the officer’s level of job satisfaction and/or frustration. It would consist of fifteen statements that requires the officer to think about how important that item is to him/her and if they feel satisfied in that particular area of the occupation. Each statement would be given a scored on a point system and added together to give the survey a score and all scores would be tabulated to give an overall job satisfaction percentage. The overall percentage can let the department know if the officers enjoy their job or if programs should be implemented to encourage job satisfaction. This survey could be administered post-implementation to see if there is a significant change in the officers job satisfaction.
The Job Satisfaction/Frustration Questionnaire
- The feeling of security in my job
- The opportunity in my job to help other people
- The opportunity in my position to develop close friendship
- The feeling of self-esteem resulting from doing my job
- The regard received from others in the organization
- The regard received for my work from the public
- The authority resulting from my work
- The opportunity for independent thought and action in my job
- The opportunity for the participation in the setting of goals and procedures in my job
- The opportunity for participation in the determination of work methods in my job
- The opportunity for personal growth and development in my job
- The feeling of self-fulfillment resulting from my job
- The feeling of work accomplishment in my job
- The good pay for my work
- The feeling of being an expert at my work
Answers will be given on the basis of the two following questions :
A. How important is this for you ?
- Quite unimportant
- Not very important
- Important below average
- Important on the average
- Very important
- Especially important
B. How satisfied are you with this ?
- Quite unsatisfied
- Very little satisfied
- Satisfied below average
- Satisfied on the average
- Satisfied very much
- Quite satisfied
77 to 90
Overall the department is very satisfied with their jobs. Any implemented programs are working.
62 to 76
While you do have some issues to consider, they are minor. Time to look for ways to boost department morale now before it’s too late.
47 to 61
People are not enjoying their job, so
START DOING SOMETHING
If your score is 47 to 54, you shouldn’t waste time!
32 to 46
Sorry, but you are in job satisfaction trauma, big time! Officers feel that they are not getting what they want and deserve from their job.
. GET HELP NOW
before it gets worse!
18 to 31
You are in the advanced stages of a crisis.
YOUR DEPARTMENT NEEDS AN OVERHAUL IMMEDIATELY!
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