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Law enforcement revolution in America??


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  • Law enforcement revolution in America??

    Is it just me or is law enforcement going through a bit of a metamorphisis over the last year or two?
    First, from 1993- 1996 you couldn't buy a law enforcement position. There were so many talented and educated folks making application, that recruiters had their pick from sometimes hundreds of applicants for maybe 5-10 openings. If you got hired you probably had one or more of the following:

    1) a four year degree

    2) substantial experience

    3) knew an insider

    4) a lot of luck

    It seems that standards are lightening up quite a bit. It also seems that depts are moving away from the "chior boy" types that they have been hiring for the last decade, and moving towards regualar people that demonstrate a long-term interest and aptitude.
    Second, it appears that the tides are turning in the arena of civil liability concerns. The days of the six inch SOP manual appear to be waning, as does the total and complete worship of "community policing". I am starting to see a little bit of what the "old days" used to look like (for better or worse). Departments seem to have stopped sacrificing their officers over trivial mistakes for fear of lawsuits, and backing them a little more on their actions.

    Any comments? Does anyone see it this way too?

  • #2
    I don't see it that way, espicially with recent legislation ( i.e. Racial Profiling legislation ). As far as I can tell, departments are more than willing to sacrifice an officer for political or legal expediency.

    Most departments in this area are having a difficult time finding qualified candidates. In the past 18 monthes, we have only been able to hire 4 police officers, of which 2 washed out during training. The last test we gave, we hired no one.

    On to compensation, which is a key benchmark for public support, we are getting a huge 2% pay raise. This doesn't even keep up with the cost of living increase. Add onto that the increase in dependent health care coverage, a higher deductable, and oh yeah, we're going to start charging the employee for their health care coverage just to show you how much we appreciate you. After October 1, 2001, I am going to be in worse compensation shape then I was October 1, 2000.

    Then there is the dreaded IAD. Last time I looked, we already exceded the number of IAD's done during the whole of last year. The percentage that are sustained still remains remarkably low, but it sure is a sign that your clients like you when they cannot wait to drop a dime on you.

    Then onto the verbal abuse. The level of verbal and symbolic disdain for law enforcment is still very high. Most nights, I can drive through nearly any neighborhood, except those whose median income is over $30,000, and hear nothing but " PoPo, Five-Oh" and other terms of endearment being yelled. Then when I go to arrest one significant other for assaulting the other, I'm greated with, " You just messin' with him 'cause he's black! " Give me a break!

    I'll truly believe that the pedulum is swinging back when the FBI or IAD shows up just to share some Dr Pepper and say Hi. That and when the City Manager and Assistant City Manager take that knife out from behind their back and put it on the table.

    But, thats just me.

    [ 09-08-2001: Message edited by: Evnings ]
    RADAR is the 8th wonder of the world.


    • #3
      We've got the 6 inch policy book, and we have, in some areas of the counties, a lukewarm relationship with citizens. But we're also going through a change of command which is helping a bunch.

      Our hands are still tied in a lot of ways that community policing won't help. First is when we are forced to use deadly force. Thanks to Hollywood and Police Videos where officers use that once in a lifetime shot or some type of situational tap dancing, we're all expected to do that. If we can't shoot the gun out of his hand at 100 yards and go for center mass, we're wrong. If we pig pile someone to keep from having to use more force, we're wrong.

      The second is pursuits. We're starting to see the pendulum swing in this area, though. Administrators, for good reason, got scared of high speed pursuits and the resulting carnage, so more and more jumped on the "let 'em go" bandwagon. Next thing you know, as word spread, and the Police Chase Shows became more popular, more people were running because they knew we wouldn't chase them.

      The last is the one thing we can't overcome, and that's public perception. You can't please all of the people all of the time, so don't kill yourself and try. Do the job, arrest who you have to arrest, ticket who you have to ticket and let the chips fall. If we're not in a neighborhood exactly at the right time as speeders go by, we're wrong, but yet if we are there and catch one, we should be doing more important things. When we can't do anything more for someone, suddenly it's represented as "they won't do anything about it".

      The most critical problem I see nationwide, but most notably with my agency, is the pay and recruitment. It's really hard for one agency to attract the best of the best when they can go 30 miles farther and make more money. If you pay minimally, you attract minimally. Even if an agency does attract a highly qualified candidate and pays them low, they use that agency as a springboard. In that case, it's not always the agency's fault, either, because the municipal governments control the purse strings, which in turn are held by the taxpayers. If our "public image" is harmed, then the taxpayers reject giving us more money because we don't deserve it, but yet if we kiss their a**es and worry about doing our job, we're not an effective agency and in someone's eyes, we're still not worthy of more money.

      Then there's the new generation. Don't get me wrong, there are some very good candidates in the 19-23 year old bracket, but the numbers are minimized by the ones who still haven't matured enough. There's a "me, me, me" attitude prevailing in this group that needs to be overcome. We've lost people because they wouldn't come in on their scheduled weekends. It clashed with their social calendar. Then there's the ones who talk tough, but deliberately show up last on hot calls and then ditch when paper is involved. This is a team sport we're in and we need team players. That's what needs to be taught in the academies, that's what needs to be tested for by the hiring agencies, and that's what this generation needs more experience in.

      A college degree is wonderful, but in the real world, without anything else to back it with, it becomes one more thing to get shoved up your a** when s*** goes sideways.


      • #4
        Maybe its the east coast west coast thing. I noticed its not that easy to get a LE job over here on the west coast. I do know that in AZ, they tolerate nothing bad from thier officers. Integrity is everything.If you mess up you are fired regardless. I was told they will accept nothing less. I also was told by a SWAT team officer that they never transfer a body from patrol into SWAT unless they are in thier mid 30's. Its a maturity thing he said. I still believe no one can buy thier way into a LE job, But if you know someone it makes it easier. With all the tips and advice your chance is better but you still have to prove yourself.
        "To each his own"


        • #5
          Must be a NC thing. Here they are just beginning to lay us on the sacrificial alter after supporting us for years. As for what they are hiring, read my last post in the squad room.


          • #6
            Our Department in the early '90's would have one opening & 60+ would show up to take the test. Now our last test had 26 applicants for three openings. Of the 23 that passed the test, we hired one. That does not speak well for the caliber of applicants we are getting. That's the only swing in the pendelum that I see.


            • #7
              I don't see it. I've been doing the hiring in my agency for the last 8 years, and things are only getting worse. I have literally thousands of people taking the test, but due to statewide civil service standards, all vets go to the top of the list, so I can't interview a non vet with a 99%, I have to interview the vet who has a 74%.

              the military of the late 1990's is *NOT* the military of the 1970's (when I was in.)

              Our NEW SOP's (on computer, not hardcopy), are over 1400 pages long. Things started going downhill @ 1986, and I see no change...
              [email protected]


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