Using adequate control methods and optimization approaches to increase the authority and efficiency of law enforcement is a valuable prospect in today’s conditions of conflicting and aggravated relations between the police and the population. This paper assesses the involvement of political boards in the activities of the criminal justice system and argues in favor of reducing the authorities’ control. Potentially viable hiring practices are described, which include such approaches as promoting workforce diversity and recruiting local officers. The value of education is described from different positions, including the possibility of increasing the authority of the police, expanding employees’ professional competencies, and preventing violations in the legal field. Relevant and credible academic resources are utilized as a rationale, and the probability theory and the procedural justice theory are cited as the appropriate concepts.
Building a sustainable, fair, and unbiased criminal justice system in the country is a must due to the inalienable right of citizens to protect their freedoms. Involving different stakeholders in this process is an unavoidable practice because, to function successfully, such a system needs a multi-vector strategy to address existing problems at different levels. Law enforcement, the judiciary, policymakers, and other interested parties form the criminal justice system, and the ability to perform direct duties efficiently at each of these levels is the key to productivity. Protecting public order can only be successful if the representatives involved work competently and without prejudice, and appropriate performance monitoring algorithms are significant factors in ensuring the safety of the population.
Political Influence on Criminal Justice Organizations
When speaking about the political influence on criminal justice organizations, one should, first of all, take into account the existing legislative norms and regulations that dictate the principles of operation of this system. Beckett (2018) highlights the limits to potentially valuable court improvement initiatives both locally and nationally. This concerns such issues as mass incarceration, the forced appointment of prosecutors, and other factors that reflect the control of the highest authorities over the structure of justice. Beckett (2018) notes the importance of criminal justice reform that will allow moving away from conservative methods of work and introducing more flexible principles of interaction with the population. Currently, many decisions regarding detention and appropriate punishment are taken at the political level, which limits the role of the judiciary and makes the criminal justice structure dependent on the authorities.
The monopoly of the state on making final decisions in criminal cases reduces the effectiveness and potential accuracy of steps made in relation to convicted persons. As an argument for this idea, Pickett (2019) cites the probability theory based on the idea that “collective decisions are more accurate than individual choices as long as group members have a better than random chance of choosing correctly themselves” (p. 411). In other words, the decisions of a limited number of stakeholders are more likely to be subjective and biased. The reorganization of the system of political participation in criminal justice can improve the mode of operation of the court. While excluding the state monopoly on decision-making, the courts have the right to count on a comprehensive assessment of cases, which corresponds to the traditional principles of fair justice. Therefore, political influence is observed in the criminal justice system and is often expressed in the coordination of the work processes of the corresponding boards.
The real negative consequences of the influence of political elites on the criminal justice system are expressed in police aggression and brutality. According to Soss and Weaver (2017), the lack of an appropriate control background for coordinating the activities of law enforcement agencies, due to the interest of the authorities in control, reduces the effectiveness of police work. The researchers have linked social protests against police aggression to government responsibility for inadequate enforcement of law enforcement activities (Soss & Weaver, 2017). As a result, the issue of abuse of power is not addressed, which is associated with ignoring the problem at the national level. Thus, political influence is pervasive within criminal justice organizations, and appropriate measures should be taken to build a more honest and unbiased control system.
Police Hiring Practices
To create a fair and effective system of interaction of law enforcement officers with the public, police departments should promote rational recruitment programs. One of the principles that deserve attention within the framework of this strategy is workforce diversity. In their research, Nowacki et al. (2020) argue that between 1987 and 2013, the proportion of non-white police officers increased by 150% (p. 49). These statistics confirm the positive shifts, but given the existing contradictions resulting in mass protests against police brutality, the measures are insufficient. Police departments should implement recruiting schemes with an emphasis on workforce diversity as a must. If the composition of the staff of local departments is ethnically diverse, this will minimize social tension and shift the focus from the belief in the racial dominance of white officers.
Along with the practice of promoting the ethnically diverse composition of police units, law enforcement agencies should maintain a gender-equal approach to the hiring of officers. Ray et al. (2018) cite data from various studies and note that regardless of the population structure of communities, the involvement of female officers is seen as a potentially beneficial step. One of the advantages is the avoidance of gender discrimination, which is fraught with discontent not only in residential communities but also within police units themselves. In addition, the employment of women in law enforcement eliminates any possible controversy associated with the use of force by male officers against female offenders. Following this practice is an adequate solution in the context of modern liberal principles promoted in the employment market, including in law enforcement agencies. Therefore, this is crucial to consider police hiring approaches from the perspective of critical importance as mechanisms for resolving social conflicts.
Finally, as another strategy for hiring police officers, one should consider recruiting law enforcement employees with experience living in a particular community. As Todak et al. (2018) state, “these officers have a better understanding of minority communities, stronger stake in the safety of these areas, and may improve citizen perceptions of police” (p. 491). This practice is an approach to ensure the public’s trust in law enforcement employees and exclude bias, including on a geographical basis, when an officer may demonstrate hostility towards the citizens of a particular neighborhood. Although this practice may be perceived as that restricting access to the police service for all officers without exception, its promotion can be flexible and involve the partial staffing of units by local employees. As a result, police recruiting strategies can have a significant impact on normalizing public order and improving the image of law enforcement agencies.
Value of Higher Education in Police Officers
The activities of police officers depend on a number of factors, including not only such crucial aspects as physical fitness and moral stability but also education. In the scholarly environment, one can find conflicting views on the value of education as a mandatory criterion in law enforcement. For instance, in his study, according to the respondents’ opinions, Cordner (2017) finds a weak correlation between police behavior and higher education. At the same time, as Hallenberg and Cockcroft (2017) argue, police education is an important precondition for enhancing culture within police organizations. From the perspective of the value of relevant academic training, higher education may not be a mandatory criterion for police recruitment. However, given today’s demands on officers’ activities, completing a basic stage in higher education, for example, a bachelor’s degree can help expand the range of officers’ professional competencies and enhance their organizational culture.
The importance of higher education for police officers is due to the prospect of enhancing the image of law enforcement. Hallenberg and Cockcroft (2017) highlight a strong social trend towards greater respect for educated employees. Regardless of their position and length of service, police officers have the right to count on an opportunity to improve their professionalism through academic training. This, in turn, is an incentive for the heads of structural police units to encourage their subordinates to receive an education. Moreover, according to Hallenberg and Cockcroft (2017), officer training contributes to social capital by increasing the credibility of the relevant services with the government. As a result, by promoting the importance of hiring employees with higher education, police departments can expect loyalty from the population and authorities, thereby enhancing the image of law enforcement.
In addition to the aforementioned reasons for emphasizing the value of higher education in police officers from a practical perspective, one should pay attention to the theoretical justification. Brown and Silvestri (2019) mention the procedural justice theory as a concept that interprets the relevant principles for ensuring fairness in the justice system. This applies to both professional attainments, for instance, conflict resolution skills and behavioral aspects related to following the ethical standards of work in law enforcement agencies. As Brown and Silvestri (2019) state, promoting the value of education in the area under consideration is due to “past corruption scandals, performance failures, loss of public confidence and economic pressures” (p. 466). Regardless of age, gender, or position, police officers are required to adhere to clearly defined standards for interacting with the public. Therefore, with proper academic training and an understanding of the legal and regulatory framework, employees can avoid being accused of breaking the law and confirm their status as respected and highly professional officers.
Performance monitoring algorithms and relevant hiring practices are the crucial aspects of accomplishing law enforcement effectiveness and avoiding police officers’ bias and discrimination. To ensure a sustainable and efficient operation of the criminal justice system, the participation of government agencies should be limited to prevent monopolization in decision-making and the devaluation of the role of law enforcement. Appropriate recruitment practices associated with workforce diversity and hiring local officers can help raise the profile of the police in the eyes of the public and eliminate manifestations of ethnic, gender, and other prejudices. To achieve high productivity results and strict adherence to the regulatory framework, it is desirable for law enforcement officers to receive higher education, thereby expanding their professional competencies.
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