Criminal Justice in the Community week 11 individual

| March 31, 2017

Question
Criminal Justice in the Community week 11 individual

Week 11: Week Eleven – Individual Work

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(In your own words, referencing)

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Instructional Objectives for this activity:
Compare and contrast various community policing models.

The nature of law enforcement agencies is quite political. The sheriff is elected by popular vote; a police chief however is typically appointed by the city manager who is also an elected official. The county commissioners and city council oversee police operations. Both of these groups are elected positions comprised of members from the community.

Please answer the following question:

Why is policing inevitably political? Explain the political nature of police-community relations and community policing.
Chapter 11, “Policing and the Political Environment,” pages 441-497.

Policing and other criminal justice processes in a democratic society are public and political functions. These processes span the three divisions of government.

Legislative bodies create law. The executive branch, with the police as its major instrumentality, is responsible for the enforcement of the law. The judiciary, including the prosecutorial function, interprets the law, passes judgment on violators, and sentences those convicted to correctional treatment of some kind. (Carter, 2002, p. 441).

All of this is subject to civilian oversight, with the community ultimately responsible for all the processes dealing with crime and criminals. Thus, what happens is public, and inevitably political. It has to do with the use of authority and power.

What the police are, what they do, and what is expected of them, how well or how poorly they fulfill these expectations, what can be done to improve police services these are, in considerable measure, political questions. They are also in some sense sociological, social, psychological, and economic questions, depending on the eye of the beholder. Historically, however, policing has tended to be viewed primarily as a political institution,, inextricably tied to the function of governing through the executive responsibility for enforcement of law enacted by legislatures and interpreted by courts. Given this orientation, it is surprising that police and community relations programs have devoted so little specific attention to the political aspects of police work. So policing is inevitably political. To call for taking the police out of politics “ is absurd. But “politics “has a taint to it, in public opinion. It has come to be regarded as “dirty” “contaminated, “corrupt, “unethical,” dishonest.” When the Wickersham Commission in 1931 proposed talking the police out of politics, it meant politics in this jaded meaning. The commission recommended “professionalizing “the police, as an antidote for the despicable “disease” of politics. Forthwith, discussions of professional policing have made it appear that professionalization and depoliticalization go hand in hand. There is some nonsense in this and it has caused widespread public confusion.

Political Policing:

One lamentable result of this confusion has been a reluctance to speak openly and frankly about the politics of policing and of police-community relation. “Nice people do not talk about such things.” This has played into the hands of those who would use a police department or police officers as political pawns, as instruments for political chicanery of one kind or another. So the question of the police and politics is not as simple as it appears at first blush. James Q. Wilson has even argued that having the police as part of a political spoils system has not been all that bad.

In other than a partisam, political sense, it should be evident that the police have a perfectly legitimate, respectable, and indeed indispensable political role to play. But history even contemporary history is replete with example of the police playing the role of enforcers of political tyranny.

Terms such as “state” and secret police symbolize political policing at its frightful worst. For many Americans, there is more than one reason for reluctance to contemplate the police as political entity. But look at it this way: the management of a police agency is surely in the realm of public administration. A police chief plays several social roles, but the political role is unquestionably one of the most vital of these roles. Yet this is different from being a politician, although the chief must be this in some sense too, as a matter of survival.

Moreover, a patrol officer also carries out some interesting political functions. As we have noted earlier, the officer should be a kind of neighborhood ombudsman fielding complaints and playing mediator in all sorts of disputes. In the routine exercise of discretion, the officer, in effect, makes policy on the street. Clearly, this is a political function. Stated in the simplest terms, a police officer is a powerful person. The criminal justice system is a coercive system. This is the “stuff” of politics.

Page 457

Politics and community policing:

When describing politics and the police, many people often assume that there is some type of unprofessional behavior, unethical relationships are not inherently “good” or bad” : Rather, they practically reflect processes that are nor-mal in the course of doing business, whether that, business is manufacturing, sales, or public service. Political maneuvering and negotiation are as natural as the ebb and flow of the sea. They are activates that, to the experienced navigator, can be used to achieve organizational goals or, to the novice, be a frustrating impediment undermining well-intentioned programming.

Increasingly, police executives are more open about the political nature of their roles. Some have become quite skillful at the process, while others of their roles. Some have become quite skillful at the process, while others struggle to learn the ropes. Clearly, managing the politics of police administration is something that comes with experience. That is, one has to explore communication and negotiation strategies that work both within the environment and with the people involved. Similarly, a police leader must be adept at sensing changes on the political terrain that can alter alliances, arguments, and positions, changes on the political terrain that can alter alliances, arguments, and positions. Despite the nebulous nature of these factors, there are some important constants that exist in political relationships, which serve as useful guideposts for effective police management.

Community policing provides a new challenge for police executive in the political arena. The police are exploring redefined organizational configurations and processes akin to the reengineering corporations movement now found in the private sector which involve a new emphasis on teamwork, leadership, service, organizing work around “ processes, “ job enlargements of patrol officers, empowering the community, and solving problems. Not only does this require radical surgery to traditional police practices (administrative and operational alike), it also places the police in a new dimension of political gamesmanship. This dimension, although ultimately providing more influence, certainly has its pitfalls.

Community Relations and Crime as Political commodities:

Police involvement with the community in a proactive, positive relationship is a key element of the emerging political role. The administrative changes necessary to facilitate this” reengineering” are fundamental to internal political problems, which must be resolved. This is not occurring in a vacuum of policing but is representative of a broader “community movement” signified policing but is representative of a broader” community movement “signified by recent elections and more vocal grassroots concerns voiced by citizens from our communities. These changed are coupled with contemporary movements in the private sector targeted toward quality management, most prominently emerging in the United States.

As mentioned above, the prosecutorial function interprets the law, passes judgment on violators, and sentences those convicted to correctional treatment. These are all subject to civilian oversight, with the community ultimately responsible for all the processes dealing with crime and criminals. Thus, what happens is public, and inevitably political. It has to do with the use of authority and power (Carter, 2002, p. 441).

Reference:

Carter, D. L., Radalet, L.A. (2002). Police and the Community (7th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ:Prentice Hall.

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