The essence of the article Populism, Politics, and the Struggle for Police Professionalism in US by White, is to examine the major controversies and problems the U.S. police officers encounter in their day-to-day operations. Moreover, White is also interested in offering his audience an understanding on the policing state and the challenges they face in the United States. In general, the article focuses on various issues the policing community has to deal with, as well as the alterations it experienced from the past to the present day perspective. The article begins by placing specific policing issues in their historical context, tracing their emergence and evolution, and finally offering a discussion on the current challenges prevalent in the policing sector.
White also presents the most disturbing problems and controversies which currently affect policing in the U.S. Recent and long-standing issues are examined in critical perspective with solution focus to offer the readers strong understanding of the issues facing the communities, citizens, administrators, and police officers. The author bases his discussion on empirical research, current events, and scholarly literature to create a well-rounded and reliable information resource that answers key questions on this topic. Alongside with offering a significant insight on the U.S. state of policing to the audience, this information is also ideal for those pursuing policing as a career, as well as for the current law enforcement officers. This paper is focused on analyzing how the concepts of localism, popular rule, and aversion to centralized authority have influenced policing in the United States.
According to this article, localism is one of the factors that have greatly influenced the policing sector in the U.S. The logic behind the inclusion of the representatives of racial or ethnic groups in the police force derived from the studies conducted. It was found out that ethnic or racial differences in the police force are overwhelmed by the processes of acculturation and selection which officers undergo. For instance, according to investigations, Hispanic police officers were previously ignored and therefore deserve attention. This situation penalizes the state of other ethnic and racial groups. Localism therefore influences such aspects as police recruitment where ethnic and racial balances have to be duly considered and represented accordingly. Substantiating this claim, Willis, Mastrofski, and Weisburd articulate that hiring local and minority officers is often used for instrumental reasons.
The argument is based on the presumption that minority officers and local police will subsequently treat the local and minority citizens with greater care and respect, and sensitize white officers on doing so. In essence, there is no doubt that in today’s perspective white officers are treating all citizens with a certain sense of care and dignity, irrespective of their origin. Furthermore, nowadays police officers appear to be the representatives of various ethnic and racial backgrounds, thus creating diversity in the police force. This diversity has consequently led to the tolerance to the values, behaviors, and cultures of different ethnic groups. White notes that localism of the police force has been specifically beneficial to the local people. For instance, minority officers are matched with the minority neighborhoods, as they understand the nature and concerns of the local populace, and, therefore, treat them with dignity.
In the article, White presents an argument that popular rule is also considered a challenge of police work. For instance, the requirement of search and seizure deters many police officers from carrying out their mandates effectively. Many of them do not understand related rules and procedures in search and seizure, or stop and frisk, and how to apply these techniques in their work. It is therefore important for a regular training to be conducted on police officers to familiarize them with their mandates and boundaries when performing their duties. In this respect, Cohen observes that police officers should be exposed to in-depth legal aspects pertaining to criminology and penal codes, as well as to the jurisdiction of the police force. This will prevent them from making mistakes which are reported within the course of their work. Another example on the inadequacy or irrelevancy of the popular rule is the practices of the local courts. The legal and factual bases on the police expectations are not adequately presented. Inconsistency of the specific standards applied to various crimes, standards of challenging evidence, as well request of warrants contribute to the low police acceptance and understanding of the supervisory actions by the local courts.
Aversion to Centralized Authority
White claims that aversion to centralized authority has also been one of the key challenges facing police officers in recent years. Specifically, government interference in police work has ultimately changed the focus of police and their work. In fact, the aversion to the central authority has made the police to be responsive to government and bureaucracy instead of being accountable or responsible for the citizens.
There are many neighborhoods and individuals who are suffering antisocial behavior, while the majority of the populace does not believe their issues will be dealt with. On the same note, the challenges facing the country have moved to a new level. For instance, terrorism, similar to cybercrimes and organized crimes has increased. These facts require a strategy that does not only cross national boundaries, but international borders as well.
From this article, it is apparent that the U.S. police force is facing a number of challenges. They happen due to inadequate professional training, legal aspects, government control, and bureaucracy. In order to leverage on these challenges, it is important for the stakeholders including the government to ensure that the police is trained accordingly in all aspects and works independently from the government grip. Localism is one of the strategies that should be expanded and implemented within the police force since it has proved to be effective.
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