Table of Contents
The police are in charge of different activities and operations that ensure smooth running of a nation. Their role in society ishighlycritical in law enforcement, protection of persons and property, and in maintaining order. They engage in various activities and operations. Some of these are extremely involving. Some need a lot of intelligence, use of force andauthority, use of weapons, and some areexceedinglydangerous. In addition, the operations may require highscaletechnology.
Dangers of Policing
In carrying out theirduty, most of the police officers facenumerousdangers. Some of them aredirectwhile others areindirect. Policing is the most dangerous of all the occupations. These dangers are increasing rapidly. The number of officers killed or injured in line of duty is increasing rapidly (Dempsey & Forst, 2004). The police face risk of infectious diseases, some of which arehighlythreatening.
There are a lot of reports of killings or injuries to the police. The tasks performed by police expose them to dangerous humans. Theyconstantlyrespond to dangerous situations such as robberies in progress, people shooting each other, fighting or stubbing each other. Such situations sometimes expose the police to people withlethalweapons. Theyfaceconfrontationfrom law breakers or people who are mentally ill or emotionally disturbed. There are times when the police respond tounknownproblems, disturbances in which they have little or no information, and riskunknowndangers. The worstdangerfaced is death. Some criminals mayconfrontpolice with all types of weapons. Others may resist arrest by shooting at the police often killing or injuring them. The increasing drug and alcohol use among the youths is one of the contributing factors increasing the risk of death (Dempsey & Forst, 2004). Drug trafficking andbusinessinvolves the use of trained,mercilessarmed gangs who oftenshootviolently at the police.
The second danger is theriskof contamination of diseases ordangerouschemicals. Policing involves rescue ofinjuredpeople in scenes of accidents, fighting. There is an increase in the number of people with highly infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS. The police expose themselves to risks of exposure to such diseases when handling theinjuredpeopleor the causalities when they come into contact with theirbloodor wounds. In addition, they face the risk of contamination from toxic chemicals such as iodine, lithium and lye. Such risk occurs in situations where they have toarrestpeople in labs manufacturing methamphetamine compounds.Want an expert to write a paper for you Talk to an operator now
Additionally, policing expose officers tointensestress. Researchers indicate that the rate of alcoholism, divorce and suicide issignificantlyhigh (Terry, 2002). This indicator of stress point out that policing isstressful. Occupational stress can lead to incidences of insomnia, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, increase in levels of cortisol hormones, posttraumatic stress disorder and suicide among the police than in the general population. Reports show that more than 284 suicide deaths occurred in 2000 and 2001 in the USA (Dempsey & Forst, 2004). This meant 17 suicide cases occur in 100,000 police. This rate is higher than the national suicidalrateof 11 per 100,000 people (Terry, 2002).
In the US, there were 156 policemen died in line of duty. 68 deaths were from assaults on officers. 54 were from vehicle related accidents. The rest died from heart attacks, contamination of diseases, emergency blood transfusions, falls, drowning and accidental gun discharges (Dempsey & Forst, 2004)..
Less Than lethal weapons
Most of the time, thepublicis nothappywith the use of a deadly weapon by the police. The highrateof incidences of killings of innocent people calls for alternatives of deadly weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons are weapons thatcauselittle or noharm. They have inherentdangerof harm to the suspects. No death, injury, or side effects result from them. At the same time, theintentionof their use is to incapacitate the persons withoutdamageof property or the environment. They are useful incontrolof individual persons, crowds and rioters.
There are four classes of less than lethal weapons: restraint devices,distractionand disorientation devices, vehicle interdiction, and crowd control devices. The policeemploybluntmunitions and chemicals mostly in their daily operations. These weapons include thermal guns, net guns, temporal blindness strobe light, drug-tipped darts, pepper spray, water cannons and tear gas. Pepper spray is one of the most used non lethal weapons. A recent research indicates that injuries to civilians reduced by approximately 45 percent whilephysicalharm among the law enforcement officers reduced by 15 percent (Dempsey & Forst, 2004). The injuries inflicted by these alternatives included strains, abrasions, minor bruises.
Homeland Security and Law Enforcement
Since the September 11 terrorism attack on USA, the US government takes the issues of homeland security seriously. The police force is in the forefront of fighting terrorism and ensuring homeland security. It is the responsibility of the police toprevent, prepare against and respond to terrorism. Thisis achievedthrough the use of high intelligence surveillance within the borders of the country. The federal government is expanding the nature and functions of the law enforcement.
According to a survey done in 2004, there is an increase in duties of the police force. The increased responsibilities involved an increase in the number of officers, police patrols and integration ofintelligenceofintelligencedata. The Department of Police had toemployspecializedintelligencepolice to enforce internal security. The officers have to maintain a highstandardofdetectionof suspicious activities. There is ashiftin priorities of funding and enforcement from community crimes and fight against drug trafficking.
It is almost impossible to carry out policing withoutadvancementin policing technology. The 1900s finger printing technology andadvancementof the crime laboratories increased policeabilitytocombatcrime. Later, the policeproductiondoubled with the use of two-way radio and automobiles. The equipping of the police force withmoderntechnology willeasepoliceworkandenhanceefficiency.
Computer technology is one of the basics for law enforcement. Information technologies are significantly increasingproductivityof the police force. These include computerized crime mapping, fingerprinting databases and records management systems. The use of notebook computers in crime scenes helps policeaccessindividual’s credentials,produceaninstantreport,collectevidence and identify fingerprints at crime scenes. The police cancollectall the necessary information in a shorttimeand apprehend perpetrator. In addition, global positioning satellite and the geographic information systems provides the police with the ability to track criminals (National Institute of Justice, 1998).
Future of Policing
The future of policing is promising. The increased awareness in the need for improvement of police departments is increasing. There are efforts to improveofficerprotection frompossibledangers involved in policing. The research done on the causes and impacts of policestressoutlines various recommendations for reducing suicide and stress related complications. Theadvancementinmoderntechnology in policing will require funding todecreasetimeof response andspeed. A recent research by the Executive Police Research Forum reports that funding will enable acquiring of high grade technologies (National Institute of Justice, 1998).