Police Operations: The Technology Used in Policing

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Dangers of policing

In the recent past issues of increased criminal activities have surged. Such aspects as terrorism, cyber crime, etc pose hitherto un-witnessed challenges. This development places the police force under intense pressure. Specifically, these crimes call for utmost attention. As such, the police are expected to liaise with all concerned departments if they are to stand a chance of containing the threat that criminal gangs pose. However, attaining full cooperation remains an illusion. The absence of full cooperation poses a danger to the policing department.

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High technology usage poses a serious danger to policing (Goldsmith and Sheptycki, 2007). With the advent of technology, new opportunities have arisen. On the other hand, threats have equally emerged. Criminals come from various groups within the society. Within the criminal community, some groups enjoy a high level of technological capability. This implies that the police needs to polish their technological skills and knowledge if they are to contain the activities of techno-savvy criminals. In practice, criminal groups such as drug traffickers and terrorists possess higher technological capabilities than police agencies. If such is the state of affairs, then the police face various dangers

Less than lethal weapons

The police discharge various duties. While carrying out the various responsibilities, the police use different types of weapons. The execution of different tasks demands that the police force is likely to use various weapons. However, the use of deadly weapons is often contested (Walker and Katz, 2008). Lobby groups and victim family members object to the use of lethal weapons by the police. Experts also argue that proper training would help in eliminating the use of lethal weapons. Such, coupled with mounting legal suits have strengthened the case for shifting to the use of less lethal weapons. Less lethal weapons are only intended to incapacitate a victim as opposed to causing injury. Less lethal weapons include shotguns used to fire nets, thermal guns used to raise body temperature, darts, blinding strobe lights, pepper spray, etc.

Just as the case of using lethal weapons, the use of less lethal arms is also controversial (Dempsey and Forst, 2011). To begin with, the weapons also pose danger to the health of victims. The fact that the weapons are classified as less lethal does not imply the absence of harm. Consequently, the preference of the weapons equally makes the policing function a controversial one. In actual sense, some of these weapons may cause serious harm and even death in given circumstances.

Additionally, one needs to recognize that weapons may not help in solving the crime problems. The use of the weapons is only necessary in arresting suspects. In order to respond to the real issues, establishing the causes and developing preventive measures would be appropriate.

Technology used in policing

Technology is highly dynamic. Equally visible is the rapid nature that characterizes technology. Concisely, technology changes at a very first pace. Despite the changes, technology aids the way activities are conducted. However, the same technology also undermines some duties such as those of the police. It is noticeable that the police need to invest in technology if they are to be in a position to counter the activities of technologically advanced criminals. In the past authorities paid more attention to personnel requirements as opposed to technology demands (Deflem, 2004). Nevertheless, the increasing threats by the technologically advanced criminals such as terrorists have placed huge responsibilities on the police department. Put simply, the police department must invest in technology in order to have any realistic chance of protecting the citizenry.

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Thus, policy makers should help the police in acquiring new technologies and equipment. Such is possible through the promotion of buying consortiums that allow the police enjoy greater economies of scale (Das Dilip and Otwin, 2000). In this scenario, obtaining bulky equipment could save the police funds and increase the range of weaponry they access. Similarly, policy makers should promote the use of regional and State economic development agencies. Such would help in the pursuit of similar goals.

Homeland Security and law enforcement

Law enforcement is a critical component concerning the duties of policing (Grant and Terry, 2008). In the United States, the role has taken an enlarged dimension especially after the expansion of the threats posed by terrorists (Das Dilip and Otwin, 2000). Due to the increased threats to peace, homeland security takes centre stage. It is not coincidental that Homeland Security has played a significant role regarding law enforcement in the United States.

To get a clear picture regarding how Homeland Security has affected law enforcement, reviewing the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 is valuable. The Act, which was enacted in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks in the country, led to the creation of an interactive community that connects the community, the States, and the federal enforcement level (Goldsmith and Sheptycki, 2007). The enactment of the Act paved way for allotting of over eighteen billion US dollars to both the State and the local governments. Clearly, this demonstrates how Homeland Security and policing matters became conjoined. Increased funding at the local level meant that law enforcement and policing responsibilities expanded. As an illustration, the installation of mobile radiation monitors demanded that additional workforce be sought to operate and monitor the emerging homeland security equipment. The approval of the Patriot Act in 2001 by the Congress also captures how homeland security affects the policing unit (Goldsmith and Sheptycki, 2007). Although expectations were that the federal and local agencies fully cooperate, local police complained of inadequate disclosure from the federal agencies such as the FBI.

The future of policing

The police force will continue to evolve as time goes. Such is necessary since the society advances as time passes. As pointed earlier, the society is not static. As changes take place in one aspect of a society, the other parts are also affected. As an illustration, changes in technology present both opportunities and threats to the general populace. For the police, changes in technology offer the chance to improve monitoring and detection mechanisms. On the other hand, the development offers criminals an opportunity to advance their attack capabilities. This underscores the dilemma for the policing community. However, the most appropriate thing to do is to continually conduct research and invest in new technologies to guarantee better service delivery. Policy makers are also under an obligation to design policies that reflect the realities on the ground. As an illustration, the enactment of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act captured a proactive approach on the part of policy makers geared towards addressing security concerns. Such measures that unify the approach against emerging security threats are commendable since they help in advancing the security agenda of the country. However, efforts should be made to ensure complete collaboration among all involved agencies in order to guarantee positive results. As such, each agency should execute its mandate and liaise with the others charged with the security maintenance role.

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Das Dilip, K. &Otwin M. (2000). Challenges of Policing Democracies: A World Perspective. London: Routledge.

Deflem, M. (2004). Policing World Society; Historical Foundations of International Police Cooperation. Oxford: Calrendon.

Dempsey, J. & Forst, L. (2011). An Introduction to Policing. Florida: Cengage Learning.

Goldsmith, A. & Sheptycki, J. (2007). Crafting Transnational Policing: State-Building and Global Policing Reform. Oxford: Hart Law Publishers.

Grant, H. B., & Terry, K. J. (2008). Law enforcement in the 21st century (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Walker, S., & Katz, C. M. (2008). The police in America: An introduction (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

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