I. To explore past and present alternatives that would make law enforcement transparent and accountable to the satisfaction of the public and police agencies. II. Background of the problemPolice Accountability and TransparencyIn America, past and present there has been a seemingly never-ending struggle for a transparency in law enforcement. It involves federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. It involves police, citizens, officers of the court and judges.
Information revolving around abusive and/or unnecessary force, personnel records of conduct/ discipline and corruption has entwined itself into patchwork of diverse policies. Applying the appropriate use of the powers entrusted to law enforcement is dependent upon the public enabling and can hold law enforcement agencies accountable. This task can be viewed from many perspectives:•Historical perspective based upon incidents and attempts toward reform•Citizen Activist organizations•Police rank and file•Police hierarchy•Governmental Acts and influence•Public reaction and Hue and CryThese perspectives, and possibly others, are proposed alternatives that could offer solution and/or direction towards the objective. Historical:” New York was what was called a “ wide-open” town, with gambling, prostitution and liquor available on almost every corner.
The cops and the Democratic machine politicians of Tammany Hall mostly looked the other way — when they weren’t actively involved. But in 1895, a new sheriff came to town. Literally. He was going to root out the corruption, and vice and clean up the city.
“ Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt’s Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York.” Police should acknowledge the history of racial minorities and others who have faced injustice at the hands of the police. And police should never discount the negative experiences of individuals with the police.
African-Americans in particular have a history of being marginalized and mistreated by the police, leading to a lack of trust and resentment. This history is reflected in many people’s feelings about the police.” Mentel, Zoe. (2012).
Racial Reconciliation, Truth-Telling, and Police Legitimacy. U. S.
Department of Justice: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Citizen Groups:” As public servants, police should be fully accountable to the communities they serve. Up until recently, their performance was measured almost exclusively in levels of crime. The most well-known tool is Compstat, which the NYPD developed in 1994 with early assistance from Vera.” Vera Institute of Justice- www. vera.
OrgPolice rank and file:” Police officials should see themselves as a part of the community they serve, and local government officials, police leaders, and community members should encourage the active involvement of officers as participants to help maintain the peace.” DOJ Bulletin- “ Community Relations Services Toolkit for PolicingPolice Hierarchy:” Police are morally and legally obligated to provide safe communities for all, but when they do public trust and confidence can suffer greatly due to the racial disparities that typically follow. There is a place in the middle.
Police must work with the active engagement of community residents, to become partners in creating safe neighborhoods. Without the engagement of those living in the impacted areas, perceptions of predatory motivations for police actions can result, further diminishing trust between police and those receiving police service. At a time when crime is a near 20-year low point, studies have shown little if any increases in public trust, and dramatic differences in beliefs about police between white and non-white respondents.” Retired Chief Cameron S. McLay; Police Foundation” No matter how good the training, how instrumental management has been in shaping the culture, and how positive supervision has been, the circumstances of police work will continue to allow for corruption, malfeasance, and incompetence. Policing is not unique in this respect, but stakes are higher when lethal governmental power is involved.
There are reasons to believe that skillful administration will reduce such problems. Even so, managers will have to be ever vigilant.” National Institute of Justice, U.
S. Department of Justice: George L. Kelling, Robert Wasserman, and Hubert Williams Governmental Acts and influence: Senators Booker, Van Hollen and Castro Introduce Bill to Improve Transparency and Accountability in Law EnforcementBill will require creation of national database on use of force incidents involving policeThere are Supreme Court decisions that have been instituted that protect citizens rights against abuse of police powers and illegal search and seizures. Most recently there have been have rulings, Tennessee v.
Garner (1985) and Graham v. Connor, that some believe legalizes police brutality. Public reaction and Hue & Cry:” Protesters channeled their discontent through peaceful assembly, while others displayed their anger through the destruction of property and attacks on police. Distressed residents gave release to their frustrations, while many Charlotteans looked on in horror, struggling to reconcile this display with the image of a progressive new south city.” Charlotte Observer, James E. Ford, September 25, 2016 Decision Criteria: Historical (10%) based upon incidents and attempts toward reform we will learn from our mistakes and conditions. Citizen Activist (15%) organizations. They are the impetus of the strategy and voice of the people that will speak up through organized channels.
Police hierarchy/ Police rank and file (40%). The police are the ones that can make good on situations and work within the communities to properly serve them. Training and policies can be put into place and followed. Governmental Acts and influence (15%). Governmental influence can quickly, if necessary become law.
However, the shared information and cooperation between the government, research, and education organizations can provide vast knowledge and structure. Public reaction and Hue and Cry (20%). The people must always be heard.