Training of the Metropolitan Police Term Paper

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Based on the foregoing considerations, it is suggested that the DCMP restructure their existing training programs and administration so that a more unified and centralized plan is in place, as well as providing for better instructor qualifications, evaluation, learning retention and more efficient and effective use of resources which are by definition scarce.

These broad general issues were refined for the purposes of this study into the research questions stated below.

Research Questions

What is the background of the District of Columbia area policy and community relations since World War II?

What are some major problems preventing positive relations between communities and the District of Columbia Metropolitan area police?

Can training programs of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department enhance community relations?

What training modules can be used to enhance relations between surrounding communities in the District of Columbia Metropolitan area law enforcement?

Significance of the Study

Research Design and Methodology

Organization of the Study

Chapter 2: Review of the Related Literature

Importance of Training.

As an old adage advises, "Law enforcement is a dirty business, but someone has to do it" and the citizens of the United States have entrusted this "dirty" responsibility to the nation's municipal police forces at the local level. In recent years, though, the responsibilities and duties of the nation's police forces have increased significantly, with the growth and intensification of cross-border terrorism, violence, white collar crimes, and also such developments as greater human rights consciousness (Bedi & Agrawal, 2001). As Henry (2004) points out, although many law enforcement officials recognize the need for effective training programs, they may differ greatly in what such training programs should accomplish and who should receive them. Nevertheless, the need for effective training programs is great in virtually any industry, but especially so in police departments where laws constantly change, where citizens and visitors can be and usually are unpredictable and where politicians frequently override evidence-based practices with politically popular approaches to law enforcement.

According to Bedi and Agrawal, "The work of a police officer is itself more stressful than that of others. His real challenge is to effectively counter stresses and tensions generated by factors like insurmountable problems of terrorism, extremism, crime, impediments in enforcement of social legislations, undue interventions by constitutional and extra legal power centers on behalf of law breakers, poor inter-personnel relationship in the department etc., all falling under the category of external job situation" (p. 103).

Beyond these on-the-job and external stressors, police officers also routinely experience various problems resulted from increased family tensions, relations, and strained relationships with friends (Bedi & Agrawal). In view of these powerful forces on the lives of law enforcement officials today, the importance of having a well trained cadre on board cannot be overstated, and there is a hundred years' worth of research into police training programs to serve as a framework in which to deliver such training, and the evolution of the police training in the United States is discussed further below.

Evolution of Police Training in the United States.

During the first half of the 20th century, a number of initiatives emerged across the country that helped to professionalize the police forces of the several states which have been used as models in the years since (Morn, 1995). Following the end of World War II, though, the majority of the developments in police education took place in California where various law enforcement training and education programs were introduced by the University of Southern California, Fresno State and San Jose State, and Los Angeles State College based upon a policy of interchangeable courses (Morn). According to this author, "The same instructor taught identical courses at daytime and nighttime to accommodate the ever-shifting work schedules of police officers. Such a system would be used by other colleges, especially the more urban ones" (p. 72). By 1960, Los Angeles State had enrolled 700 students in its police training courses and Sacramento State College had already expanded its evening courses in policing to the regular daytime program in 1952 (Morn). This same level of growth and development of police programs was mirrored in California junior colleges or community colleges during this period as well (Morn).

Today, police training programs are widely regarded as the strongest predictor of police knowledge of the law and represent a fundamental component of all well-operated police forces around the world (Dripps, 2001).

Overview and History of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department.

In 1790, Maryland and Virginia ceded portions of their territory for the purpose of establishing the Federal City. For the next 10 years, the Federal City was policed by constables appointed by these two states. In 1802, when the original charter of Washington was approved, police authority was centralized and power was granted to the city itself to establish patrols, impose fines, and establish inspection and licensing procedures. Until the creation of the Metropolitan Police Department in 1861, the city had only an auxiliary watch with one captain and 15 policemen (Brief history of the MPDC, 2008).

In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln took personal interest in founding a regular police department for the District of Columbia. It was a time of constant danger in the Nation's Capital. With the beginning of the Civil War, an army was billeted in the city, government employees were increased by ten-fold, and hordes of unsavory elements descended upon the District's few square miles. President Lincoln personally dispatched an emissary from the newly created Board of Metropolitan Police Commissioners to New York City to become familiar with that system, which itself was based on the world-acclaimed Metropolitan London Police Department (Brief history of the MPDC).

The ideas and knowledge gained from this study led to the creation of the Metropolitan Police Department on August 6, 1861. In September of that year, attorney William B. Webb was appointed the first Superintendent of the Police, with an authorized force of 10 sergeants and a number of patrolmen as needed, but not to exceed 150. Up to 10 precincts were authorized. The Superintendent of Police was paid $1,500 annually, with sergeants earning $600 and patrolmen $480 (Brief history of the MPDC).

The sergeants and most of the personnel for two precincts were sworn in that September. Officers had to be U.S. citizens, able to read and write the English language, have been DC residents for two years, never convicted of a crime, between 25 and 45 years of age, and at least five feet, six inches tall. The men went to work right away in 12-hour shifts, seven days a week with no days off and no vacations. They were issued neither equipment nor badges, and they had to obtain their own handguns. The first arrest made by a Metropolitan Police officer was on a charge of intoxication (Brief history of the MPDC).

From that modest beginning, the Metropolitan Police Department grew in size, function, and professionalism in the Nation's Capital. In 1881, the first women were appointed to serve as matrons, and in 1918, three policewomen were recruited to form the nucleus of the Women's Bureau. The Women's Bureau handled all matters pertaining to female adults and juveniles coming into official contact with the police. Policewomen investigated causes of delinquency and recommended solutions using either legal action or social treatment. In 1919, the forerunner of the Training Division was begun as the "School of Instruction" on the third floor of the 7th Precinct. Each group of 22 officers took a 30-day course in the fundamental duties of police officers, the law of arrest, and court procedures. In 1930, a training school was established, expanding the course to three months and bringing in outside experts from various fields (Brief history of the MPDC).

Because of its presence in the federal city, the Metropolitan Police Department has played a unique role in history-making events of our nation. In 1865, when President Lincoln was assassinated, the young MPDC assisted the War Department's intensive investigations to locate the assassin, John Wilkes Booth. In 1881, MPDC police were again involved in national tragedy when President James a. Garfield was shot at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Depot on B. Street. An MPDC private seized the assassin before he escaped from the scene. Attempts on the lives of Presidents Harry S. Truman and Ronald Reagan, and then Council Member (and future mayor) Marion S. Barry Jr., have very much involved our Department. Tragic events such as the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. -- "as well as happier events such as the many presidential, mayoral, and Council inaugurations, and national parades and marches -- "have made the MPDC experts in crowd management and in providing assured, professional service (Brief history of the MPDC).


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