The public expectations for a police officer are often immense. Palmiotto & Brown (2007) says that the public expects the law enforcement agencies to prevent crime and make arrests. With the growing use of technology the California Highway Patrol s expected to enforce traffic regulation in the whole state, maintain social order and provide emergency services. The responsibility of monitoring crime is challenging to the law enforcement agency because of the rate of adoption of technology in crime scenes. This implies that law enforcement agents must fast track technology to avoid failure.
Rieckh & Greiff (2007) says that most of the law enforcement agencies are faced with abuses and therefore there is a need to assist their members to continue their practices. This means that addressing a legacy of abuse in the Los Angeles Sheriff Department should therefore not be limited to developing agencies capacities and also deal with the means its members can employ to pursue the use of these capacities (Rieckh & Greiff, 2007). In the California Highway Patrol there is always a need of integrity building to ensure that the members of this law enforcement agency refrain from committing serious abuses (Rieckh & Greiff, 2007).
Majority of the law enforcement agencies face the challenge of integrity building and therefore this implies that constant reforms in those departments will be required to promote confidence in those agencies (Rieckh & Greiff, 2007). According to Rieckh & Greiff (2007) the U.S Marshals may “require a fundamental shift in the focus of its members such that the agents shift from serving the state, from the previous known authoritarian regime or partisan interest groups to serving the citizens” (p. 494). They continue to say that agencies such as The Los Angeles Sheriff Department should change its image from what most people see as oppression, impunity and arbitrariness to service, public accountability and legality and also from provoking fear to responding to the public needs (Rieckh & Greiff, 2007)
List what dilemma’s or issues that may keep applicants from joining their agency
Most law enforcement agencies have rigorous recruitment process most likely keep applicants from joining these agencies. Rieckh & Greiff (2007) says that the effects of the training programs on actual conduct are difficult to assess and they have comprehensive impacts to those joining the agencies. Another dilemma that faces applicants especially those joining FBI and U.S. Marshall is the need to establish effective accountability mechanisms particularly for building the integrity and legitimacy of these two law enforcement agencies (Rieckh & Greiff, 2007). In this context, accountability mechanisms for law enforcement agencies is challenging because these officers are obliged to oversee both their conduct and their performance in providing public safety.
In addition Rieckh & Greiff (2007) says that the other dilemma which applicants face is that conflict and authoritarian rule which may be endorsed because of work conditions. They continue to say that abuses may be committed and professional standards are frequently not clearly defined (Rieckh & Greiff, 2007). Also the process of enforcing the procedures during the applications may some times not exist or they may be dysfunctional. Internal accountability mechanisms may no be well defined and sometimes there is lack of internal disciplines, mechanisms within the law enforcement agencies to monitor, investigate, and report on conduct of their members which may hinder potential applicants from joining the law enforcement agencies (Rieckh & Greiff, 2007).
How to join special units such as SWAT and special agents within the agencies
SWAT teams and other special units address specific emergency and lifesaving situations that regular officers on routine patrol do not have the time or expertise to handle (Dempsey & Forst, 2009). According to Dempsey & Forst these special agencies serve to supplement the police response and maintain efforts to keep citizens and other officers safe (2009). They also indicated that SWAT teams were created in many cities during the 1960 in response to riots and similar disturbances. They are commonly used around the country but sometimes have other names (Dempsey & Forst, 2009).
Dempsey & Forst indicated that members of these agencies are carefully chosen and trained in the use of weapons and strategic invasion tactics especially in dealing with conflicts (2009). It is important to note that no matter hoe the SWAT team or other special agencies is formed their training is very crucial. Dempsey & Forst says that the units are constantly trained and learn how to work together so that any action they will take during the duty will be appropriate and court defensible (2009).
SWAT teams are selected in a certain criteria. Blau (1994) says that emphasis is frequently on having a normal personality and the ability to work well as a team member. When joining this type of law enforcement agencies high level of physical fitness is required and is also considered. Blau thus indicated that team members considered must be able to tolerate stress and conditions of extreme fatigue and still respond effectively to variable confrontations (2009 p. 144).
Legal issues or constraints
Blau (1994) further says that courts have generally ruled in favor of situations where law enforcement agencies have gained admittance to private dwelling through deception. He continues to say that the Supreme Court can rule out that agencies do not require prior approval in the form of a warrant before using some agents. The court thus in most cases determines that wrongdoers are not protected by usual Fourth Amendment constraints (Blau, 1994). Studies show that in most law enforcement communities the incidence of psychiatric disturbance and severity of symptomatology has been found to be highest among active special agents and the most affected agents are the relatively young with no experience and who are engaged in long term investigations (Blau, 1994).
Costs versus benefits
One of the potential costs experienced by law enforcement agencies is that in most cases those involved in life endangering situations may be hurt or killed in duty. Blau (1994) says that “this involves those agents involved in investigation of illegal narcotics traffic” (p. 144). There is also a great danger of the officers to begin using the narcotics or collaborate with the wrongdoers. Research shows that agents who tended to have a disciplined self image presented a lower risk for any sort of corruption (Blau, 1994).
In conclusion law enforcement agencies are demanding jobs regardless the agency in which an individual is working for or intends to work in. Some of agencies tend to be more dangerous, more tasking and at the same time more stressful than normal routine police operations. In the recent years joining these law enforcement units has been a growth of interest in both testing candidates for such positions. Evaluating the applicants rigorously before offering them the chance to join the agencies is inevitable especially in federal agencies such as the FBI, SWAT and U.S Marshall units. The agents working in these special agencies are evaluated regularly to determine whether their work has resulted in any psychological condition impairing their capacity to serve in these agencies.