Is The American Law Enforcement System Effective?

Introduction

The law enforcement in the United States comprises more than 15,700 agencies that serves under the local, state, and the federal levels of government within the borders of the U.S. Examples of the law enforcement agencies in the U.S., include the federal bureau of intelligence (FBI), state highway patrol, and the county sheriff’s departments. The authority of each of these agencies is guarded and limited by law and the territory within which each agency may operate is also restricted by law. In addition, a number of mechanisms also curtail the authority of the personnel of the U.S., law enforcement agencies. For example, the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States imposes some limitations on the authority of law enforcement agencies in the U.S., and the policies and procedures of the police department, the police review board and the civil liability suits against any officer found wanting of their allowed authority serves to improve the effectiveness of law enforcement in the U.S.

How to Determine the Effectiveness of Law Enforcement

To determine the effectiveness of law enforcement, a comparative performance measurement on the scale of crime rates, arrests and citations, clearances, and response times may be sufficient as expatiated below:

The Place of Crime Reduction

A reduction in crime rate is the bottom line of law enforcement just as profit margin is to a private company. However, there are a number of consequential values that are as important as crime reduction that must be considered to ascertain the effectiveness of law enforcement. These inconsequential values include integrity of police personnel, justice, the satisfaction of citizens, help and protection being offered to the helpless, and the reduction of fear among the citizenry. Looking at this parameter, it could be said that the American law enforcement system is effective.

Citations must complement Arrests

One of the tools for measuring the output of law enforcement is arrest. However, as useful as this tool is in the hands of police personnel, citation productivity must also be incorporated to complement arrest.

The Role of Clearances

Clearance rate is the measure of police output and it refers to the proportion of crimes solved by law enforcement personnel. Clearance rate is the most common method of evaluating the effectiveness of investigative policing.

Using a number of appraisal techniques such as the ones stated above, the general consensus among experts in law enforcement was that the American law enforcement system appear to be more capable and effective than ever before. Though this claim may be subject to individual interpretation but in fairness, the 21st century policing in America has shown a lot of improvement compared to what was obtainable a few decades ago.

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