Title: Critical Issues in Policing Submitted by: Travis Hance Course: CJS210 Instructor: Jason Garner

Examples of technology used in policing and how technology enhances or detracts from police organizations’ ability to function

There are a number of technological breakthroughs that have advanced the methodology which law enforcement uses currently. While in the past few decades the introduction of the patrol car and the radio revolutionized the amount of service calls that an officer could respond to, recent advances have introduced new devices which have provided better less-than-lethal methods for ensuring a suspects compliance. Mobile data terminals and common data sharing networks have introduced a new level of awareness for officers. Statistics show that these technological advances increase certain aspects of an officer’s effectiveness, by providing increased information. The advent of the patrol car and its increased mobility has also resulted in a decrease in the officer’s interaction with the citizens within his patrol area. A current trend within modern policing includes increased interaction with both citizens and business owners within an officer’s patrol area, in an effort to increase both awareness and potential community interaction. The concept promotes a broader avenue of information which law enforcement might use to prevent crimes before they actually happen.

Examples of less-than-lethal weapons and how less-than-lethal weapons affect policing in today’s society A review of common Law Enforcement Academies today shows that there

are a number of less-than-lethal options which are taught to potential officers. Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) is a common course that most states endorse. It teaches officers to assess a situation, and then attempt to maneuver all parties into a peaceful resolution. Departments have rules relegating escalation of force. These include the use of riot gear, batons, OC spray, electronic devices (such as Tasers ®), bean-bag rounds, rubber bullets, and eventually even department issued firearms. “At the blue level, or professional perception, are normal, dayto-day law enforcement activities and interactions with the community. In most cases, conversations or verbal commands are located at this perceptual level. At the tactical perception level, which is color-coded in green, suggestive physical tactics, such as taking hold of a suspect, are appropriate responses to an officer’s increased sense of the threat of confrontation. At this level, suspects are engaged in passive resistance, especially nonresponsive behaviors. The threshold threat, color-coded yellow, indicates that the officer perceives a serious situation that requires significant use of force, such as chemical sprays or application holds to pressure points, to subdue physical resistance. This is also known as less-than-lethal force. The orange level, or harmful threat perception, is when a suspect physically assaults an officer. In such instances, the officer should respond both defensively and decisively with striking maneuvers, using the hands or a baton. This is another example of less-than-lethal force. The final and most serious level of force is reserved for when the officer perceives a lethal threat, which is coded red. The red level requires “absolute and immediate tactics,” such as the use of a firearm” (Terry and Grant, 2008). The concept that

is universally accepted is to utilize the least amount of force needed in order to gain compliance. I can personally attest to the Law Enforcement Academies training methods that teach officers to use as little force as possible in order to resolve conflicts. “Police officers are unique in that they are not only justified in using the amount of force reasonably necessary to control a situation, but that that force can be deadly (Terry and Grant, 2008). A recent event in law enforcement history showing the difficulty of attaining compliance while remaining civilly accepted are protests taking place around the country, where students and other civilians feel they can obstruct lawful enforcement action. The media often portrays such use of less-than-lethal force as a violation, and yet we as a society rely upon law enforcement officers to use personal judgment, while upholding the very rules that allow us to continue living in a peaceful manner. Civilians who choose to ignore lawful orders are often shown within the media as martyrs of some type, yet the simple truth is that they are in violation.

Example of dangers faced by police and how police organizations address these dangers

There are a number of dangers which law enforcement officers face on a daily basis. These include the unknown intentions of citizens during traffic stops and service calls. An officer always wonders what might potentially happen during a service call. This tension results in a fine line drawn between being aware of potential dangers and respecting the Constitutional rights of citizens. “The police are authorized to use coercive force to control a variety of situations

(Terry and Grant, 2008).” An officer is only authorized to protect themselves and the citizens around them from potential harm or threats. “Officers are not always justified in using force, and for the use of force to be legitimate they must abide by a number of criteria. Officers are only allowed to use force to protect themselves and others around them. (Terry and Grant, 2008).” Law enforcement organizations address such difficult areas by producing departmental guidelines which outline how and when officers should address and engage potential threats. The lamentable problem facing law enforcement today is that the career field takes people with minimal training, providing a ridiculously low wage, and expects them to exercise an enormous amount of judgment, while still being examined in the court of public opinion. Should these high standards be met, there is still the possibility of a civil suit, often times brought about by those who violated the public trust or broke other laws to begin with.

It remains my humble opinion that the field of law enforcement is one that people most often choose to pursue, not because of the monetary rewards, but rather because of a sincere desire to serve the community. Without such selfsacrifice, our American society would quickly decay into a mire which would self destruct. While public opinion often venerates those who build corporations and amass fortunes, those who choose a life of self sacrifice in behalf of the community are truly the heroes and heroines, and I am proud to count myself as being a part of their ranks.


A. Terry, K. J., & Grant, H. B. (2008). Law Enforcement in the 21st Century, Second Edition, Published by Allyn & Bacon. Pearson Education, Inc., page 265

B. Terry, K. J., & Grant, H. B. (2008). Law Enforcement in the 21st Century, Second Edition, Published by Allyn & Bacon. Pearson Education, Inc., page 262

C. Terry, K. J., & Grant, H. B. (2008). Law Enforcement in the 21st Century, Second Edition, Published by Allyn & Bacon. Pearson Education, Inc., page 264

D. Terry, K. J., & Grant, H. B. (2008). Law Enforcement in the 21st Century, Second Edition, Published by Allyn & Bacon. Pearson Education, Inc., page 264