How to Improve Policing Argumentative Essay Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Beyond Police Oversight

Oversight by external agencies has been posited as one of the best means of improving the standard of policing in America. In recent years, issues with many police departments have come to the fore, in particular the treatment of minorities by police departments. Issues identified include a lack of consistent training, either on ethics or on operations, that allows bad police to continue to operate, to the detriment of the people whom they are serving, and to the detriment of the reputation of police officers across the country. Scholars have sought to examine the sometimes vague, but broad-based issues faced by police departments in ensuring a high standard of quality, looking at issues of recruitment, training and motivation, all of which go far beyond what external oversight boards can offer. If one is seeking to improve the quality of policing, then it should be understood that the problem itself is ill-defined, and the solutions poorly-understood. As such, an oversight board would be hard pressed to achieve meaningful change. To achieve change requires understanding the issues, and dealing with them on many different levels, from structural, to leadership, to transactional. To improve policing in the United States, it is essential to move beyond the idea of external oversight, a panacea wholly incapable of addressing the myriad issues that face police departments in America today.

Training is one of the most important ways that policing can
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be improved. Evidence-based training can be implemented in a systematic way to the benefit of overall policing quality. For example, it has been shown necessary to specifically train to eliminate racial bias in assessing danger -- without specific training in that regard, bias will not be eliminated (Sim et al., 2013). There have been calls for a national training standard to be established, which would assist police forces in ensuring that a minimum standard of officer competency is established. This would be especially helpful for smaller forces that do not have the resources to run their own comprehensive training programs, because institutes can be established to train officers to a national code, if one exists. Even larger centers would benefit because there would be a consistent standard established. This would provide the opportunity for oversight. While it is true that oversight alone is not sufficient to improve the quality of policing, the antecedents of a good oversight program, such as national training and performance standards, would contribute to a higher quality of policing.

The same can be said for recruiting, though it may be more difficult for smaller forces to enforce national standards. One model that could be implemented to deal with the problem of recruitment for smaller forces is something like the RCMP in Canada, a nation-level police force, or a state-wide equivalent. Major Canadian cities, and many smaller ones, have their own police forces, but smaller centers and rural areas are typically served by the RCMP, or a provincial-level equivalent such as the Ontario Provincial Police. The variances that exist in policing quality in the United States could be reduced by having state-wide police forces, because both recruitment and training could be consistent by state, so that the quality of policing…

Sources Used in Documents:


Porter, L. (2013). Beyond oversight: A problem-oriented approach to police reform. Police Practical and Research: An International Journal. Vol. 14 (2) 169-181.

Sim, J., Cornell, J., & Sadler, M. (2013). Understanding police and expert performance: When training attenuates (vs. exacerbates) stereotypic bias in the decision to shoot. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Vol. 39 (2010) 291.

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