Peacekeeping and Order Maintenance

Although patrol officers and traffic patrol officers make up the bulk of policing (Fuller, 2010), the police do a great variety of other things, all of which may fall under the heading of peacekeeping and order maintenance. For example, duties in this category include:

Responding to domestic dispute situations

Controlling crowds at various public events, such as concerts, baseball games, and parades

  • • Working vice as an undercover officer
  • • Dealing with the mentally ill
  • • Working with juveniles
  • • Responding to emergencies, such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and blackouts

Traffic Enforcement Functions

Local police agencies and state highway patrols are responsible for ensuring safety on the streets and highways. In some states, state police officers patrol freeways, expressways, and interstate highways, while local police patrols provide traffic enforcement services on lesser streets and roadways. The major responsibilities of highway patrol officers are to respond to traffic accidents, set up roadblocks to detect drunken drivers,and generally enforce traffic laws.

Criminal Investigations

According to the Worldwide Law Enforcement Consulting Group, a training and law enforcement consulting organization, an investigation is “an examination, a study, a survey and a research of facts and/or circumstances, situations, incidents and scenarios, either related or not, for the purpose of rendering a conclusion of proof” (Worldwide Law Enforcement Consulting Group, 2015, n.p.). When a police officer investigates, he or she makes a systematic inquiry, closely analyzes, and inspects while dissecting and scrutinizing information.

Later in this book, we will look at how important it is for both civilian intelligence analysts and tactical analysts to have a basic understanding of the process of criminal investigations. This can help the analyst develop an investigative mindset that can lead to better and more relevant intelligence provided to criminal investigators. For now, however, let us look at the investigative process as it relates to the police and how they investigate crimes and suspicious events.

Investigative Process

Regardless of whether the crime involves the theft of a bicycle from a garage or the violent murder of a woman alone in her house, the process of investigation follows the same format:

  • • Identification of the crime scene, victims, and witnesses
  • • Gathering evidence and clues as to who perpetrated the crime and what may be the possible motive
  • • Interviewing persons with knowledge relevant to the crime to enhance (or eliminate) solvability factors (factors related to the event that may lead to solving the case)
  • • Following up on any forensic leads
  • • Identification, apprehension, interview, and arrest of suspect(s)

The Investigator

A well-trained investigator should be able to follow up, and expand upon, this process regardless of the complexities of the investigation in question. And while the skill set needed to effectively investigate crime can be learned through training, and repetition, an investigator must also be able to objectively consider all scenarios that present themselves during the course of the investigation.

Remaining objective during the investigative process can aid an investigator when assessing the facts presented to him or her, thus enabling the consideration of all possible scenarios. Understanding the reasoning as to why the criminal may have committed the crime can help the investigator to understand more clearly the suspect’s thought process. Gaining a better understanding of the suspect s thought process can help when evaluating the facts relevant to the investigation.

These same traits hold true for skilled intelligence and tactical analysts as they research and reason their way through the intelligence analysis process while assisting in the investigative work.

Eras of Police Reform Leading to Change

During the first 15 to 20 years of the twentieth century, there were attempts to reform the police, although these attempts were not very successful. But at the same time, the use of technology' by police departments—the use of bicycles, cars, and radios, for instance—enabled the police to respond more quickly to emergencies.

Throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, there was increasing professionalism of the police. However, the 1960s and 1970s were times of great tension and change, creating a very turbulent time for police departments in the United States. Civil rights disturbances, anti-war demonstrations, campus disorders, and urban riots all taxed police departments across America. But by the 1980s and 1990s, the turbulence of those two decades gave way to a more peaceful era. Although the police were grappling with new issues, such as terrorism, school shootings, and bombings, it was a time that ushered in several positive developments.

Among the new developments of the 1990s was the introduction of the computer revolution in policing, involving new ways of looking at and dealing with communications, record keeping, fingerprinting, and criminal investigations. Other positive developments that began during the 1990s were a sudden reduction in crime and the birth of two new major concepts in police work: community policing and problem-oriented policing. Although no one can say for sure, it may be that all of these new developments had an impact on what Franklin Zimring called the “great American crime decline” (Zimring, 2008).

New York City has shown some of the most dramatic reductions in crime of all major cities in the United States. One explanation for the crime decline in New York City that is often cited by city officials and police administrators there is aggressive police tactics like those introduced by the city’s former commissioner William J. Bratton (Dempsey and Forst, 2010). Bratton completely reengineered the NYPD to make reducing crime its primary objective (Silverman, 1996). The primary idea behind Brattons reengineering was a process known as CompStat.

CompStat

CompStat is the name of a specific program implemented by the NYPD in 1994 (Silverman, 2006). Silverman (2006, p. 267) has described it “as perhaps the most important organizational innovation in policing during the latter half of the 20th century.”

The name CompStat conies from a computer file called “comparative statistics.” Central to the program are weekly crime strategy sessions conducted at police headquarters. At these weekly meetings, computer-generated maps are used to provide a wide variety' of crime details. Precinct commanders are held responsible for any increases in crime and must present innovative solutions to manage their precincts’ crime problems (Dempsey and Forst, 2010). In discussions about what the computer maps indicate about crime problems, crime fighting techniques are developed for implementation.

There is a four-step process that is the essence of CompStat:

  • 1 Timely and accurate intelligence
  • 2 Use of effective tactics in response to that intelligence
  • 3 Rapid deployment of personnel and resources
  • 4 Relentless follow-up and assessment (Dempsey and Forst, 2010)

What CompStat allows the NYPD and other police departments that have also adopted the use of CompStat to do is to pinpoint and analyze crime patterns almost instantly, respond in the most appropriate manner, quickly shift personnel and other resources as needed, assess the impact and viability of anticrime strategies, identify bright, up-and-coming individuals from within the ranks of the police department, and transform the organization more fluidly and more effectively (DodenhofF, 1996).

 
Source
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >