Special Challenges and the Future of Policing in America


SpecialChallenges and the Future of Policing in America

SpecialChallenges and the Future of Policing in America

TheDepartment of Justice is responsible for enforcing laws at thefederal level, try and punish offenders, and ensure that theadministration of the justice is fair and impartial. Through its fourmain agencies, the Department of Justice has evolved over time totackle different types of crimes in a more specialized way. Theagencies have other sub-agencies that narrow down to specific aspectsof crime that affect the country at the federal level. In terms ofaverting crime and punishing offenders, the Department of Justice hasfour agencies that play this role: the Office of the inspectorgeneral, The Federal Bureau of Investigations, The Federal Bureau ofPrisons (the National Institute of Corrections helps implement thepolicies and laws governing the work of this agency), and the Bureauof Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives(Huston, 2007). Each of the agencies has specified functions that complement eachother’s role in dispensing justice and enforcing laws at thefederal level.

TheOffice of the Inspector General

TheOffice of the Inspector General is charged with investigating anddetermining the efficiency of all employees and programs within theDepartment of Justice. The major concerns for during independentaudits and investigations are fraud, misconduct, inefficiency, waste,and any questions of lack of integrity while dispensing justice.However, attorneys employed by the department of justice are excludedfrom the jurisdiction of the inspector general. Their investigationsare conducted by the Office of Professional responsibility.

TheFederal Bureau of Investigations

TheFBI’s authority an important agency of the department of justice isderived from congressional statutes. Title 28, United States Code,Section 533, gives authority to the Attorney General in order toappoint officials who will detect as well as prosecute crimes thatarea against the US. Title 18, United States Code, Section 3052 givesspecific authority to the special agents and officials to makeseizures under warrant of violation of federal statutes. Section 0.85outlines the authority of the FBI to investigate specific criminalviolations including the collection of fingerprint cards andidentification records training the FBI National Academy local andstate law enforcers. The FBI’s functions are the broadest of allthe investigative agencies. It has the mandate to investigate allfederal criminal violations that have not been assigned by Congressto another agency. The FBI’s investigative functions fall intocategories of applicant matters civil rights counterterrorismforeign counterintelligence organized crime/drugs violent crimesand financial crimes. The functions of the FBI are categorized intothree main levels based on priority as spelled out in the StrategicPlan. The national and economic security is the first-tier ofinvestigation, criminal enterprises and public integrity is thesecond-tier of investigations, and crimes against individuals andproperty is the third-tier of investigations.

TheFederal Bureau of Prisons

TheFBP was established in 1930. The main objective was to create aninstitution that would provide progressive and quality care forinmates at the Federal level, professionalize the way correctionalfacilities are run, and ensure that the administration ofcorrectional facilities of federal jurisdiction is centralized interms of operations. Today, the FBP has grown to become the primaryinstitution that is charged with the responsibility of protecting thepublic by providing prison and correctional facilities for federalinmates. FBP seeks not only to punish but also to transform sentencedoffenders into productive individuals through engaging them indifferent productive activities.

Alcohol,Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau (ATF)

TheATF is charged with enforcing criminal laws of federal jurisdictionas well as regulating the operations of production of explosives andfirearms. It was intially under the Department of the treasury butthe establishment of the Department of Homeland security transferredits security related functions to the department of justice.

Purposesof the Uniform Crimes Reports

Uniformcrime reports are administered by the FBI. It has been in existencesince 1930 where local, state, and federal, and tribal agencies makeavailable crime statistics to the UCR Program. The data provided bythese agencies vitally serves several purposes. The data is usefulfor formulating the budget, assessing the operations of police. Thestatistics also helps the department of justice to address differentproblems that affect law enforcement agencies. The data is alsorequired by researchers to study the nature, cause, and trends ofcrime and crime related issues over time. Finally, the data aidslegislators to draft various anti-crime bills based on the findingsof the Uniform Crime Reports.

Purposeof the National Crime Information Center (NCIC)

TheNCIC is a computerized database containing information aboutdocumented information on criminal justice (Jacobs &amp Crepet,2007). The database is accessible to all law enforcement agencies allthe time. The round the clock availability essentially provides lawenforcement agencies with real-time information on criminalactivities and investigations. For example a law enforcement officercan check in the database about the whereabouts of a suspect to checkif they have previously been involved in other or similar criminalactivities.

TheRole of Police Chief Executives based on the Mintzberg Model of ChiefExecutive Officers

Achief executive in the police could be the chief sheriff or the chiefof police. The philosophy of Henry Mintzberg has been the guidingmodel of the way executives of police departments run the affairs ofin law enforcements. According to the model, police chief executiveshave three basic roles: the interpersonal role, the information role,and the decision-maker role(Daily &amp Schwenk, 2006).

TheInterpersonal role: Under the interpersonal role of a police chiefexecutive, they play roles of the figurehead, the leader, and theliaison. As the figurehead they represent the centre of policeauthority. Thus, they perform ceremonial duties such as attendingcivic events and riding parades. They also meet dignitaries fromother departments and government agencies. As a leader, a chiefexecutive motivates employees while ensuring that set objectives andgoals are achieved. The liaison role involves coordinating theworkflow of different interdepartmental activities.

Theinformational role: The CEO is responsible for the monitoring andtransmission of information through acting as the officialspokesperson. Most police executives use daily meetings as a means tocommunicate real-time information that affects the operations of thedepartment. Dissemination of information occurs through memos,especial orders, policy papers, or general orders.

TheDecision –maker role: As a decision-maker, the CEO of a policedepartment allocates resources, is the lead entrepreneur, andnegotiator on behalf of the department. They must seek innovativeideas that would help the board to adopt policing strategies that arerelevant to the evolving nature of crime.

Anti-terrorismLegislative Enactments

Thereare two pieces of legislation that were enacted to specificallycombat the threat of terrorism against the United States. Theyinclude the International Economic Emergency Powers Act (IEEPA andthe PATRIOT Act of 2001 (Walker, 2009). IEEPA established the Officeof Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), an institution charged with theresponsibility of regulating and implementing controls introduced bythe IEEPA. OFAC has a list of countries and individuals that UnitedStates citizens and agencies should not engage in any commercialtransaction with. OFAC maintains a list of U.S. companies thattransact business with foreign parties. The Specially Designated List(SDN) contains the identities of terrorist groups and individuals,drug traffickers, and money launderers. This classification is doneto identify persons who aid terrorism in whichever way.

Thesecond piece of legislation aiming to combat terrorism is the PATRIOTAct. The statute allowed investigators to employ the toolspreviously used in other similar crimes to pursue terrorists becausethe tools had been approved by federal courts. The Act gave lawenforcement agencies the following powers:

  1. Use of surveillance to monitor the activities of terrorist suspects

  2. Use sophisticated devices to pursue trained terrorist who seek to avoid detection

  3. Allowed federal investigator to conduct investigations without necessarily notifying the suspect

  4. Allows federal investigators to obtain a court order that would permit them to forcefully access the business records of a suspect of terror

Theselaws are appropriate because they address the issues of increasingsophistication among terrorist groups. Furthermore, although humanrights groups cite possible loopholes for violations, the laws arelikely to affect people who are suspects. It takes meaningfulintelligence information to track a terror suspect.

TheChallenge of Hate Crime

Hatecrimes are different from other crimes by the fact that they aremotivated by prejudicial feelings of the perpetrator (Jacobs &ampPotter, 2008). They include crimes committed as a result of hatredagainst an ethnic community, a member of a racial group, a personwith disability, sexual orientation, and/or another gender. Lawenforcement agencies do not have accurate data on hate crimes becausevictims and witnesses alike fail to report. Failure of report is dueto fear of victimization, lack of trust in law enforcement officers,and the fact that a majority of perpetrators are known to victims.


Daily,C. M., &amp Schwenk, C. (2006). Chief executive officers, topmanagement teams, and boards of directors: congruent orcountervailing forces?. Journalof Management,22(2),185-208.

Huston,L. A. (2007). TheDepartment of Justice.New York: Praeger.

Jacobs,J. B., &amp Potter, K. (2008). Hatecrimes: Criminal law &amp identity politics(Vol. 67). New York: Oxford University Press.

Jacobs,J., &amp Crepet, T. (2007). Expanding Scope, Use, and Availabilityof Criminal Records, The. NYUJLegis. &amp Pub. Pol`y,11,177.

Walker,C. (2009). Blackstone`sGuide to the Anti-terrorism Legislation.Blackstone Press.