A significant problem in the United States today is to understand the true problems that are prevalent within the field of policing, which makes the citizens in the community to have a lower expected opinion of the effectiveness of the police department. This is because many police officers are not able to stand out and expose issues like corruption, incompetence, racial bias or others problems due to fear of retribution by coworkers and supervisory personnel. For instance, incase of any ethical difficulty on the job, there are no actual avenues in various police departments that would assist an officer to report such a problem. Different departments have divisions in internal affairs that are able to deal with specific problem such as corruption, but at what price? This becomes hard because many times police officers are scrutinized and get negative opinion from these internal affairs investigations that those that try to report. The major problem for these negative occurrences in the police department is that may be the entire department is not ready and willing to accept that problems exist.
For instance, the branch that deals with investigation is always aware of all the allegations but it is not willing to make a follow-up due to the complex nature with the accused, or incompetence in efficiently investigating the claims. In most cases, the branch of investigation may find a member of police department on the wrong side and just push them for prosecution as a scapegoat and hence, leaving the problem not addressed as required. Therefore, as a result of such issues in the police department, it becomes hard for the citizens in the United States to trust police officers thus, the lower than expected opinion of the effectiveness of the police department. Many problems are experienced in the police department because of lack of freedom or the willingness of many officers to deal with the incompetence or any other ethical issue once and for all.
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These issues significantly affect the work of the police since any incompetence and unethical act in the police professional is directly correlated to how the public perceive their police department. The prosperity of the community to some extent may depend on the image perception the citizens in that are have on the police department. For instance, when the citizens in a community have the right perception of the police department, their professionalism, ethical organization, among other things, they will be motivated to cooperate with the police officers to promote and create a better environment. This is because trust is a very vital virtue in any situation, and without trust, people will not freely enjoy working with others. Therefore, this research proposal seeks to carry out a survey in my community in the United States that will provide a clear understanding of the nature and extent of the negative public opinion on the police department.
Statement of the problem
A major problem today in the police department is failure to understand the real issues that are prevalent within the field of policing, which makes the citizens in my community to have a lower expected opinion of the effectiveness of the police department. This is because many police officers are not able to make sacrifices and expose issues like corruption, incompetence, racial bias or others problems due to fear of retribution by coworkers and supervisory personnel. For instance, incase of any ethical difficulty on the job, there are no actual avenues in various police departments that would assist an officer to report such a problem. Therefore, this research aims at finding out more about the nature and extent of the negative public opinion on the police force department and finds ways in which to rectify such problems for community advancement.
The major objective of the research is to determine the nature and the extent of the negative public opinion on the police force department within my community in the United States. The hypotheses of the study involve the following: to determine why the citizens have lower than expected opinion of the effectiveness of the police department. Secondly, to assess the extent to which the public has the negative opinion on the police department. Thirdly, the research seeks to find out the effectiveness of the relationship between the community and the police. The first objective aims at analyzing the underlying reasons that makes the citizens to have a lower opinion on the effectiveness of the police department.
Through this objective, the research acknowledges the fact that the citizens may be willing to cooperate with the police in order to improve the community but their efforts may be in vain because of the bad image the police force shows to the public like their corrupt and incompetence nature. This objective involves motivating the police force to try and portray a positive image to the public. Therefore, if the police department fails to change their image, then the community will continue to have a low opinion. The hypothesis will be measured by analyzing all the reasons for their low opinion.
A positive image of the police department is very necessary especially for the sake of the community. A police department that deals with issues such as corruption, racial issues and other ethical problems justly is likely to receive a positive perception from the community and its citizen. Therefore, the second hypothesis aims at finding out the extent to which the public has a negative opinion on police department. This objective will be measured and achieved by performing a survey on different people to find out the percentage of negative opinions over the positive ones.
The final objective concerns finding out the effectiveness of the relationship between the community and the police force. Both the community and the police force acts as stakeholders in the promotion and creation of a better environment for all. Therefore, good police and community relationships will enhance proactive policing where people are ready to do something when called upon before a calamity occurs. Good relations create room for handling a problem from the root cause so that justice can be administered. This objective will be measured by assessing how the police and individuals in the community relate to each. This will be achieved by performing survey on both the community and police force for their views concerning the issue at hand.
This research therefore is very necessary because it will help in revealing some of the underlying problems in the police force that could have led to the lower opinion of the effectiveness of the police department. For instance, it may be possible that the police themselves have created this in the minds of the people through their actions towards handling community problems. Additionally, it could be that people just have a negative attitude towards the police force because of their harsh treatment, thus instilling fear in people. it is important therefore, that all these issues be highlighted in the process of developing high opinion on the effectiveness of the police department. Research in this community would be quit instrumental in changing the opinion of the citizens towards the effectiveness of the police force.
Positive perception of any community on the effectiveness of the police department can be improved by dealing with the prominent issues such as corruption, incompetency, and other ethical issues. According to studies by Hagan (2006), corruption is the major problem that is killing the police force, but if dealt with effectively then the department will be free from injustices. Eradicating any form of corruption within the branches of the police department requires obtaining accurate and necessary information on a particular suspected police rank and its causes. This can be achieved by investigating branch carrying out surveys, investigations, and also through interviews. For instance, it is always difficult for an investigating agency to follow up for another police officer suspected to be corrupt. In most cases this may be ignored by the law enforcement as not being a real crime since they believe that no police officer can commit a crime.
In some instance, the police force tends to pay off in order to prevent any further investigations in their corrupt cases. According to research by Earl (2005), New York made a payment of approximately $ 20 million in 1994 and Philadelphia did the same in order to settle over 220 civil cases in the 1990s. Unfortunately, the money paid does not create a positive image of the police department, but it distorts the trust of the citizens in their work and the police department as a whole. According to Brown (1998), any form of corruption undermines the dignity of the police department and if not dealt with properly, it will continue creating a negative attitude to people towards the effectiveness of the police department. The public views the police force as the first people who should keep and follow the law; therefore, their failure to portray a good example to the public leads the negative opinion on their effectiveness in the community (Mastrofski, 2002).
This research is proposing to use different methods of data collection and analysis. It will collect data through interviews where a group of community members and will be chosen randomly for the survey and their responses analylized critically (Earl, 2005). The interviews will be divided into two parts such as those that seek to assess the relationship status between the police force and the community, and those that seek to determine the extent of the negative public opinion on the police force. In both types of interview method, respondents will be asked to give their thoughts on the effectiveness of the police department as a whole. They will be encouraged to give both the positive and the negative sides of the police. The data will be analyzed critically to find out the percentage of the extent of the negative public opinion on police force. For this research to be successful, the responses of the participants will be analyzed according to their demographic features such as age, occupation rate, and sex.
To be fair to all people in the community, structured interview will be also given to the police force section in to us in finding out their relationship with the ordinary members of the community. A group of the police force will be selected randomly from all their ranks and they will be required to provide honest answers on how they handle the citizens. They also be expected to tell if they respond immediately in case of any problem in the community and how effectively and justly they deal with delicate matters. The collection of data will also be done through observation. This will be through assessing the basis of the participant's responses.
Questionnaires will also be used as another alternative method of carrying out this research. The questionnaires will be prepared and distributed to the relevant participants in the survey process. Contact information for the researcher will be included in the questionnaires for the respondents to call and make a follow-up on the survey at a set time after completion.
The above methods selected to be used in this research are convenient and not very expensive financially and they also effective in time saving. For instance, printing the questionnaires is not that expensive and many copies can be made depending on the number of the respondents chosen. This research will be successful only when the community members and the police department accept to participate fully. Through participation, various issues will be revealed and most important issues concerning the low opinion of the citizen on the effectiveness of the police department.
This research aims at educating people on various issues within the community and in the police department. For instance, on the issue of the public negative opinion of the effectiveness of the police force, the police force will be motivated to change the way they handle issues which destroys their image, hence negative public perception. Therefore, am sure that after this research, the community will be educated and also encouraged to change their negative opinions on the police department. The relationship between the police force and the community will be improved especially through education programs and training offered to the community and the police department.
Through this awareness programs implementation, there would be no excuse for anyone to complain because of ignorance to participate in unethical and unlawful acts. Therefore, the research mainly seeks to determine the nature and the extent of the negative public opinion on the effectiveness of the police department in the community in United States of America. Various methods will be used to help achieve or test the designed hypotheses. The methodologies selected include questionnaires and interviews.