In the criminal justice system, police are responsible for responding to calls for service, patrolling a designated areas, enforcing traffic laws, protecting people and property, making arrests, investigating cases and at times testifying in court. According to Lamin and Teboh, “Police roles transcend all of these, therefore, the police “must understand community problems and effectively respond to them”. For me, one of the most important aspects of law enforcement is community policing. In community policing an officer builds a relationship with the environment they work in and attempt help solve problems within it.
As a first responder you never know what you may encounter but most times you are not responding to a positive situation. There are times when an officer has to provide medical attention to the injured, comfort victims of violence, be a mediator between parties or listen to someone who is simply lonely. Essentially police have to be problem solvers on a daily bases. Community policing allows for an officer to go the extra mile and dig deeper to find the root of a problem and not just make arrests. For example, instead of an officer just arresting an offender and hauling them off to jail for drug charges they could take a little extra time and ask what pushed them towards addiction in the first place and offer information on local resources of rehabilitation. “British tradition shaped the development of policing in America. Police departments began to emerge in major US cities during the 1860s…. informal community policing may have existed in the late nineteenth century, although response was largely reactive.” It is important for police to be proactive in the community. With the media coverage of law enforcement in the past few years, I have had personal domestic challenges such as I have been called a traitor, an Uncle Tom and told I should be on black lives matter’s side. As a Hispanic and African American officer some of those experience impact my career in the sense that it motivates me to keep doing community outreach and let my actions show that I am passionate about making my community a safer place and building relationships despite the negative feedback I may face.
My role as a practitioner academic in law enforcement is to be an agent of change. My favorite biblical theme was the verse in 1 John 4:20 KJV “If a man say, “I love God,” and hateth his brother, he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” It is easy to love those who love you or who do good unto you. But in law enforcement sometimes you deal with people who may not be the cleanest or their actions may be revolting or simply must be different from you and we have to treat them humane still. We must be professional and treat them with respect. That is what Jesus has done with us. He went on the cross and died for the vilest of sins and at times we may be despicable but He loves us still.
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