Principles of Police Organization, Administration And Service

Introduction

Police administration is a career that requires high level of dedication to be able to keep up with the work related demands. Thus just like all other careers, police department requires to employ individuals that are fit for the job and to constantly train them to be able to discharge their duties with high level of efficiency. Based on the police work demands, the police department spend a lot of time in recruitment and training process as a way of ensuring that the force has the right people who understand their duties and who are ready to serve. Once a police officer passes the two stages, he or she qualifies for all other policing duties and can easily manage to be promoted to a higher level based on the level of experience, individual track performance record, and ability to pass promotion written exams. This paper evaluates police career development stages and some of the process that take place during police daily operations in the United States police force.

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Police Recruitment

The United States police recruitment process starts with placing job advert in relevant media which can include printed media and virtual media. The advert normally contains information regarding the required individual minimum qualifications to stand a chance to be selected. It also states the role and duties of the specific unit that requires new recruits, and how the unit anticipates these duties to be accomplished. This guides applicants in making informed decision while making their applications. The initial application highly determines whether an applicant will be selected for entry level or not based on how convincingly a person proof that he or she qualifies for the advertised position. Once selected at this level, a person get a chance to go through other numerous selections and training as they seek career advancement (US.Sagepub, n.d).

To qualify to join the police force in the U.S. one must be a U.S. citizen and be able to proof that he or she is a U.S. citizen at the beginning of the selection process. The police unit also requires all applicants to be aged between 21 and 39 years at the appointment time. One must have a GED certificate or higher school diploma certificate.  Applicants will also be required to have a valid U.S. driver license, which should be well maintained and that has not been withdrawn, under suspension or revoked and show responsible habits of driving. Applicants must also be listed with the Selective Service System or excused from registration with Selective Service System as female or due to military or age status. Individual applicants with military service will be required to offer honorable discharge proof or documentation (US.Sagepub, n.d). Applicants are also required to go through a full background investigation. Individuals who satisfy the minimum requirements are then required to make an online application to the relevant police department as directed by the job advert. The police recruitment process in the United States can take varying time based on each applicant’s individual primary eligibility. The length of the period taken relies on specific circumstances of an individual, and it can takes months to years to be completed. The application procedure differs based on the unit one is interested in. Applicants are thus required to strictly follow the unique application process included in the specific unit, fill in all the required forms, and to attach all the required documents or proofs before submitting their application. The application forms should be accompanied by cover letter and resumes which are gauged based on how well they are written (Sagepub, n.d).

The application process is then followed by entry level selection. This process involves going through the application forms and choosing applicants that meet the recruitment requirement convincingly. This is followed by a number of interviews and tests to enable the unit to select the most qualified personnel. The police recruitment selection process include written standardized test, oral board interview, status test, physical agility test, background investigation to validate submitted information, and medical exam. Status test evaluates individual citizenship, ability to get or possession of a driver license, age, service in the military, level of education, and residency. Physical tests involve medical examinations, physical agility tests, vision tests, weight-height proportionate tests and endurance to do police work. All the physical agility tests have to be job-related; otherwise they can be challenged in a court of law (US.Sagepub, n.d). The candidates that manage to satisfy all of these requirements are offered the job. Other than discriminating applicant on height, height-weight proportionate test concentrates on body proportionality based on BMI requirements to check on applicant fitness. Vision test mostly vary greatly from one unit or department to another most focusing on weapon qualification, ability to identify persons and license plates, and ability to drive based on individual duties.

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 Medical testing during recruitment is very important since it assist in determining how healthy a person is and noting any possible disabilities or health issues. The initial assessment results are later used to determine work related injuries later in an applicant career and hence guiding the department in injury related compensation. Medical test also includes physical examination, cardiovascular pulmonary test, blood test, vision test and hearing test. The test also includes mental tests which are divided into two groups that include tests to determine psychological fitness and test designed to assess applicant aptitude, knowledge and intelligence. The intelligence test mostly checks on applicant’s ability to apply and learn police information, ability to remember and learn details, ability to employ logic and judgment and ability to follow directions. There are also molarity tests which include polygraph examination, drug tests, and background investigation. The background investigation checks on aspects that include driving records, bankruptcy, court records, education records, social security number, military records, vehicle registration, past employers, character references, property ownership, personal references, credit records, incarceration records, court records, state licensing records, neighbors interviews, sex offender lists, criminal records, drug test records, workers’ compensation, and medical records. The oral board test individual person’s ability to communicate, to think critically and to solve problems among other things (Sagepub, n.d).

The police selection process is also carefully done to ensure that the country’s employment laws are strictly followed especially while doing medical test, and body agility test. Some of the laws that are considered in this process include the anti-discrimination laws. This law focuses on ensuring that applicants are not discarded based on unique individual traits that are determined at birth and other features applicants should not be anticipated to change such as religion, race, disability, gender, age and national origin. However, the police recruitment employ age discrimination which is regarded to be legal since Age discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) permits age limit in situations where age has confirmed to be a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) (Sagepub, n.d.). Age is highly related by individual physical decline, agility or ability. It is also related to individual risk to personal trauma or injury and thus, it is an important factor while defining the recruitment and retirement of police officers in the force. The selection process in police unit can reject an applicant based on disability. Although the American with Disability Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination of individuals with specific groups of disabilities, it also requires a qualified person with disability to be able to execute important job elements with or without sensible accommodation. This provision makes it possible for police unit to eliminate applicant with physical and mental disabilities that would interfere with their job execution (US.Sagepub, n.d).

Police Training

The United States police training is highly standardized at both federal and state level. The US academy training is offered at local, state and federal levels. Others federal law enforcement training centers and FBI academy are found at national level. Every state contains its own police training academy with training taking twelve to twenty six weeks. The total number of training hours at the end of the academy training also varies from one state to another.  However, the basic academy training hours at state level ranges from 280 to 1032 hours. The state primary academy program is standardized to control the minimum training level in every state. For instance the primary academy training program for Hawaii goes for 1032 hours, while that of Minnesota only goes for 280 hours (Dogutas, Dolu & Gul, 2007). Kentucky, Ohio and California are the most significant states with regard to police training. This is because they set the initial USA police academy training standards. For instance, in 1959, the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) was created in California to develop a standard for primary police training. This regulation has since then been implemented by all states.  All cities at the local level have their own academies and some universities contain academies to address the police training needs in their region. All state and local police academies are required to meet minimum training requirements, although most go beyond the minimum level (Dogutas, Dolu & Gul, 2007).

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All departments of police support formal training which is used to introduce recruits to primary police procedures and legal concepts. These rough police training programs are structured to drive police trainees to perform their best cognitively and physically. Most states contain some kind of governmentally authorized training regimen which must be completed by law enforcement officers. These programs are normally held at the specific department police academies or state facilities of law enforcement training utilized by all agencies of law enforcement in the state. These training programs take four to eight months, and those who manage to complete them are awarded with college credits in some states and certificates in others. Most states offer intensive four months training as the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC). This training covers a number of areas which include physical fitness, officer survival and safety, driving training, interviewing and communication, tactics for flying armed, Federal and constitutional law, firearms, criminal law, physical security, arrest techniques, VIP protection, defensive tactics, terrorism, and drugs of abuse. The above training is offered to all officers in most cases despite of their unit of specialization. The training is meant to ensure that all officers have general knowledge needed to ensure effective operation and provision of quality services as police officers. Majority of police training academies are modeled on programs of military training that instill a high concern for performance and physical conditioning. According to Dogutas, Dolu and Gul (2007), active police officer need to be ready for anything, from chasing a suspect fleeing on foot and restraining unruly persons physically, to pursuit discharging sidearm while driving. The thoroughness of extreme police training programs is highly demanding and demand candidates to be in their best mental, psychological and physical condition. This explains why the recruitment process demands physical agility and medical examination.

Police in the United States also require field training where police cadets are needed to spend twelve weeks training after their graduation. The officers are needed to spend time with a Field Training Officer (FTO) immediately after their graduation. FTOs incorporate police officers who are the most successful in their career. In addition, an officer that is specially trained is assigned for every probationer to assist then in adapting to the police force. The field training process also has Field Training Coordinators that are responsible of managing activities between the Training Bureau, Patrol Zone Commanders and FTOs. The FTOs provide three varying evaluation reports about the Field Trainee Field Training Coordinators (Dogutas, Dolu & Gul, 2007). The trainees begin patrolling with the help of FTO until they turn to be successful in working independently as qualified police officers. In case an individual trainee fails based on the evaluation report, the FTO might demand the trainee to pursue extra course back at the training academy. US also offer in-service training programs in the country’s police academies. The departments publicize their programs of in-service training through publishing the courses schedule, descriptions of course, and course costs (Dogutas, Dolu & Gul, 2007). Pursuing in-service program is normally voluntary, officers are urged to pursue as many courses as one can manage, especially is an officer wishes to take part in some specialized duties. Additional, in case an officer fails to complete some tasks he or she is obligated to take similar courses in in-service training. The US specialized police training programs are provided to train distinctive personnel that include members of special response team, technical crash investigators and detectives among others. Similar to basic training academies in the US, programs of in-service training are application and hands-on founded programs particularly structured to meet specific police needs. Police officers are required to at least take proficiency and quality control tests once per year. If an officer fails the test twice, the officer is needed to pursue some refreshment courses or lose their police officers operation license. In this regard, majority of US local police departments have their own standard training facilities and shooting ranges and they do not have ammunition limits for officers in their range training (Dogutas, Dolu & Gul, 2007).

Police Promotion

The last stage of fresh police officer training ends when an officer in field training is approved. This officer gets to work alone but on probation, where he or she is closely monitored by a supervisor. During this time an officer can be dismissed for any careless mistakes performed during the operation. However, once a fresh officer is confirmed, he or she stands a chance to join any unit or specialty in police department. At this point an officer can move from one unit to another in the department to gain exposure. An officer needs to work in certain position for a minimum of time to qualify for possible promotion. He or she will also need to advance in the related field and write and pass an exam to qualify for promotion. The police ranks moves from junior entry level to a sergeant, then a lieutenant and finally a captain. To be promoted to a higher position in police department one may need to go through further training and past various tests or take general career advancement by enrolling in a university (Utsystem, 2016).

To be promoted from one rank to another officer must attain time requirement in the current positions and classification based on promotion process regulation. One must also take promotion written exam and a performance evaluation for the past years where performance progress will be assessed to determine the performance trend. An officer must also attain a specific level of rating based on his or her service to the public in the current position to be able to be considered for a higher position. This is compared to that of other candidate to determine the most competitive applicant. Reference letter from other stakeholders who include other jurisdictions of law enforcement, civil servants or retired senior executive who can professionally or personally attest to individual applicant’s work, relation with the public, efficiency in work, level of morality, exposure, work experience, work volume and accuracy, and customer-service standard will play a great role in making promotion decision. In addition, award and recognition given to an applicant in their current service period will serve as an added advantage. Other aspects to be considered include disciplinary actions record where disciplinary action severe that written warning within 12 months will limit chances of being selected or make an applicant disqualified. Promotion in police administration is provided on competitive ground, and hence one need to demonstrate a higher level of proficiency compared to other candidates to qualify for promotion (Utsystem, 2016).

Complaints

Local police departments offer the Office of Police Complaints (OPC) which offers different means to file complaint on police misconduct. According to the department, public has the right to file a complaint against a police officer within 90 days from the day the incident took place. The complaint can involve any topic of police misconduct which includes failure to display of wear needed identification, use of insults or offensive language, discriminatory treatment, humiliating and/or demeaning among other. The allegation can be filed through filling in and submitting an online complaint form, making a phone call to the relevant authority, sending the complaint form via email, writing a letter with detailed information on the incident or appear physically in a police office and file a complaint (Goldsmith, 1990). The complaint should include information such as exact location, time and day of the indent, the physical description of the officer, badge number and name. One should also include name, and contact of the witness, vehicle number plate and photos, videos, documents such as medical records, description of injury or any other viable information. The applicant should be left with a copy after submitting the complaint copy. The complaints can as well be anonymous. The complaint filed will be followed by investigation process which will involve interviewing the officers and witnesses, inspecting provided evidence reviewing records, procedures and policies of police department. This will be followed by sending of preliminary disposition letter to the officer and the complaint. The officer and complaint have the right to meet with the investigator to review investigation procedures. In case a complaint is affirmed, it will be taken to the chief of police who organizes a hearing within ten days. A disciplinary hearing may as well be held where the chief can impose suspension for 10 days. A complaint may be passed to the police commission in case the complaint is very serious. A hearing must take place before making a conclusion. The right action is taken based on the investigation results (Terrill & Ingram, 2015).

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Records

The police department plays a great role in protecting life and property of all citizens in their locality. They thus keep records of the occurrence of event in a region based on their own discovery or citizens reports. These records may include simple to serious crimes taking place in an area, with details like time, date, locality and event description. The record can also include road accident records, offenses records grouped based on the type of offense. The records may also include criminal database with past convicted individuals and their crime records and wanted individuals and their crime record. The database may contain criminal name, face, description, and finger prints among other important information (Denver Police Department, 2018). These records can also be written records for the cases reported verbally, or recording from 911 hotline calls, used by the public to report crimes. Audio recording can as well include dispatching 911 record where the police radio call and the 911 respondent in the station are tape record or computer dispatch records. Other police records include investigation reports, halo video recording activities in a monitored location, and DUI room video among others. Most of police records are protected from public access to prevent interference with police work. However, some of this information can be provided to the public upon request and sometimes at a fee. It is important to note that police cannot release information that will jeopardize its investigation or that will result in endangering life of others.  The provision of police record in most states is governed by Freedom of Information Act where the law provides terms for individual access to public records (Denver Police Department, 2018).

Communication

Police department need to be able to effectively communicate with each other and with citizens to be able enhance peace and order in their region of operation. Some of the means of communication provided within the department include radios which are commonly used to report a situation, to give information and sometimes to give incident approach procedures. Beside this, most police officers have contact with other units or department and they constantly communicate in a situation where they may need help with a case that overstep their jurisdiction (Stephens, Hill & Greenberg, 2011). This kind of communication enhances investigation to crimes that involves different operation regions but with similarity in operations. The communication in the police department is normally two ways where seniors communicate to juniors while giving orders and instructions, and juniors communicating to the seniors while reporting back on progress of an assigned duty or emergency of an issue that need immediate attention. This can happen verbally or through a radio or phone call. Communication can also be between the police officers and citizen, which mostly happens by calling 911, hotline, to report crimes or through face to face meetings in the police stations. Police department can also use media to report matter of public interest to the people. This can take place in a newspaper or in aired media statement where the police spokesperson report issues to the public, especially on matters related to security, or when the force needs public assistance in an investigation. Thus communication is an important tool in effective execution of police duties of fighting crimes (Stephens, Hill & Greenberg, 2011).

Conclusion

Police administration involves a lot of activities that need to be done with a high level of efficiency. In this regard, most police departments focus on recruiting and training the right personnel to ensure that it has the right workforce to accomplish the right duties effectively. Based on the analysis, it is evident that police officers continue with further training even after they are confirmed. They also need to pass tests and maintain a great performance and ethical record to be promoted. They need to be conversant with the law and various police operation processes such as crimes recording, crimes monitoring, and call response among others.

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