Table of Contents
American Criminal Justice Officers are the first line of defense in neighborhoods and communities, making sure that streets are safe, the most helpless in the communities are protected, and those who commit crimes are brought to justice. These brave men and women selflessly give their time and sometimes their lives to ensure the protection of their fellow citizens. However theirs is a continually uphill task to remain objective in their fight against crime while navigating the murky waters of criminal justice world. Over the past several years, America’s law enforcement community has been confronted with an array of challenges. In addition to those widely recognized concerns, there exist three pressing matters particularly at the local level Community-police relations, Recruitment and Retention, and Budgetary Restraints. This paper is going to discuss some of these challenges faced by the American Criminal Justice Officers in fighting the rising cases of crime.
With regard to community-police relations and how it has posed a challenge to American police officers, highly publicized police-citizen encounters such as the high profile incidents like those in Ferguson have rocked public confidence. At the same time, hostile narratives have emerged in mainstream and social media, which encourage antipathy toward police and paint American law enforcement as “systemically racist” (Meese & Malcom 2017). Increasingly, citizens are interested in how police departments operate and the decisions made by law enforcement practitioners. Relations between citizens and the police depend greatly on the citizens’ confidence that the officers will behave in accordance with the law and with departmental guidelines (Cole &Smith 2007). Now more than ever, questions about police accountability, police training (use of force), and organizational culture (implicit bias or racial profiling) are common. At the heart of this growing public scrutiny of police business is the waning trust a result of the intense scrutiny.
Recruitment and Retention
All law enforcement agencies are facing the problem of hiring and retaining qualified men and women to serve in law enforcement. With recent high profile incidents, recent targeted assassinations of law enforcement personnel and other negative second guessing of the press and local officials has made recruiting and hiring qualified men and women a real challenge. Added to that is the difficulty of hiring minorities and women, who look at this negative atmosphere, and simply do not find the occupation to be appealing. Changing generational preferences mean that not only might younger workers be more likely to change careers once entering policing—they might be less likely to enter policing at all (Wilson,Dalton,Sheer & Grammich 2010). Adding more concern is that in many jurisdictions around USA there is significant pension crisis, and pension reform efforts have reduced the pension formulas for employees at all level of government service. This also serves as a disincentive making the criminal justice department appear less appealing for prospective employees.
With an increase in crime in America, law enforcement faces the challenge of carrying out its activities within budgetary restraints. In an era of deep budget cuts and lack of federal funding, state and local law enforcement does not have the necessary funds, and most recently access to necessary lifesaving equipment. Budget crises have caused jurisdictions to reduce their number of officers. Over the past few years, law enforcement has seen a steady decline in federal grant funding and most recently, police grants typically have at least a 25% match so the communities in the greatest need due to financial distress do not have the financial ability to accept the grant due to cost implications. Budget difficulties has led to cuts within the American correctional facilities in particular affected reentry programs that would help prisoners become more prepared to reintegrate back to society. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections recently eliminated treatment programs for sex offenders, which experts argue is essential to keeping them from re offending in the future. (Cole, Smith, & DeJong, 2014).
The American criminal justice departments are facing task of effectively fighting the high cases of crime. concerns have grown more complex. Agency budgets have tightened. Hostile narratives have emerged in mainstream and social media, which encourage antipathy toward police, and paint American law enforcement as “systemically racist.