Policing and Society
March 6, 2015
The broken windows theory in policing has changed the way many law enforcement agencies, along with the officers within them, have to look at crime. Police have always responded to crime, that is the belief and that has always been their job. What happens, though, when provided with an idea that expresses that crime can be more preventative just by looking at and involving the community to participate? Policing traditionally has always been a response unit, providing its’ service after the fact (after a crime has happened). The broken windows theory counters that traditional style by looking outside of the ...view middle of the document...
Perceptions of legitimacy are subjective, and will vary among jurisdictions and within specific communities in those jurisdictions. Procedural justice is used to obtain legitimacy by giving the people (victims or suspects) an opportunity to explain the situation as well as their side of the story to an officer or detective. It is important for an officer to know the situation from all angles and in order to do that they need to make sure they give the people a voice. If an officer is poor at providing citizens with proper procedure then their legitimacy within the community will fall, and if police have poor legitimacy then citizens (especially victims) will not give them their voice. According to PERF (2014) the fourth issue to attain legitimacy by procedural justice is as follows; People are sensitive to whether they are treated with dignity and politeness, and to whether their rights are respected. The issue of interpersonal treatment consistently emerges as a key factor in reactions to dealings with legal authorities. People believe that they are entitled to treatment with respect and react very negatively to dismissive or demeaning interpersonal treatment. Although they are similar when paired together, the difference is procedural justice is used to reap legitimacy within the community, whereas police legitimacy could either hinder or service procedural justice. Procedural justice could also be impacted by whether or not a police agency is unionized.
Unionized policing is a very opinionated subject matter when it comes to its’ effect on crime. As late as the mid 1960’s police chiefs had virtually unlimited power to run their departments…Today police chiefs are severely constrained (WODI, 1984). And then you have the opposite spectrum arguing that Unions are essential to American law enforcement because of the combination of nature and demands modern police work endures as well as the practices and history of how the U.S. manages police (Kleismet, 1989). Police unionization has its pros and cons, but they can be very different from an individual standpoint. The assumptions of Magenau and Hunt (1996) are that unionization for the rank-and-file officers will increase their ability to put more emphasis on law enforcement rather than service delivery and order maintenance. Focusing primarily on law enforcement can be both a pro and con depending on how you look at it. For an officer it has the possibility of benefitting them depending how they are measured as an officer. If it is strictly a numbers game then they may focus on more on getting the arrests and/or tickets. On the other hand, focusing on that can decrease police legitimacy in a community leading to distrust in officers and the law. Unions can benefit officers but at the same time may hurt their departments, with such topics being salaries and benefits or complaints of work conditions.
The “best” way to measure police performance is difficult to...