The Law Enforcement Profession Essay

1741 Words Oct 21st, 1999 7 Pages
The Law Enforcement Profession


In order to understand comptemporary law enforcemment, we should recognize the conditions that impact our profession. It is agreed upon by many scholars that major changes in law enforcement occur every five years. Policing is sometimes characterize"... like a sandbar in a river, subject to being changed continuously by the currents in which it is immersed..." (Swanson,
Territo and Taylor, p. 2). However, in recent years some major changes have occurred in a shorter time period.

Innovations in law enforcement

During the past two decades, I have observed major changes in the viewpoint of society towards police officer's as the symbol of trust and dignity, the technological advances of
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A videotape of the incident is shown repeatedly on television over the next few days. The aftermath of the trial that acquitted the officers involved in the Rodney King beating speaks highly of the sentiment felt in the minority community (ICLAPD, p. 14-15).

Another discouraging sign that little has changed is the continuing pattern of police abuse. Most recently on July 29, 1994 Compton Police Officer
Michael Jackson was captured on videotape striking a 17 year old male in the head with his baton. This scene did not win sentiment from the public nor revitalize the compassion felt by many after the Rodney King incident. While this incident appears unjustified and even later deemed to be justified, it will not help the image of law enforcement.

Some citizens truly believe the police represent the wealthy and not the poor. Two researchers Geoffery P. Alpert and Roger G. Durham (1988) examined different ethics diversed communities in Miami. There, they discovered much more negative and suspicious attitudes toward the police and regard them as
"representatives of the majority class", not "agents of social control" (CQ
Researcher, p. 650). The media have also contributed to the fracturing by playing up dfferences and tensions.

As citizens spend more time working with the police, they learn more about the police function. Experience has shown that as citizen's

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