LEMIT Papers

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Now showing 1 - 20 of 2029
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    Mentoring: The Key to Professional and Organizational Development
    (Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT), 2022-06) Smyser, Matthew B
    Interestingly one of the most important, influential, and yet undervalued human experiences is that of mentorship. Today’s law enforcement professionals find themselves in a unique, if not challenging and pivotal time in American history. Twenty first century police officers face a conglomerate of issues never before encountered in this country at one time. As such, newly-appointed officers are expected to perform at a high degree of effectiveness in an environment that does not easily forgive youth or inexperience. In addition, these same officers must be able to quickly adapt to an agencies culture and internal politics with little to no guidance from veteran personnel. For these reasons, law enforcement agencies should implement mentoring programs to aid in the development and support of their officers; increasing department productivity and loyalty. Mentoring programs offer many advantages to both individual officers and their respective departments. At its core, mentorship is a supportive relationship built on trust that allows for the free exchange of ideas between protégé and mentor (Sprafka & Kranda, 2000). As such, the very nature of mentoring, according to the research, provides for a system for continuous growth and development; resulting in a net gain of lifetime learns. The research also suggests that mentoring builds agency loyalty, resulting in increased employee retention rates. Finally, the research indicates that veteran officers, through a mechanics, allows them to give back, become empowered and become more engaged due to the trust placed in them by their agency. Because of the positive attributes of mentorship it is highly likely that mentoring programs will become routine in American law enforcement.
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    Hot Spot Policing: It Just Works
    (Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT), 2022-06) Skertich, Jonathan D
    Police are charged with crime prevention and control. One of the most effective strategies in accomplishing this mission is hot spots-based policing. Hot spots policing is putting more police in a geographically high crime area (Weisburd & Telep, 2014). It has empirically been proven as effective and results in diffusion benefits, rather than crime displacement consequences. All law enforcement agencies should adopt hot spots policing. They should also attempt to layer other ideas and strategies with it. Mental health of citizens is one recent way to show some effectiveness. Citizens approve of hot spots policing as a crime intervention strategy.
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    Hiring and Recruiting the Best Fit for your Agency
    (Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT), 2022-06) Seeling, Derek
    Law enforcement agencies across the country are seeing increases in police officer vacancies due to officers retiring or leaving the law enforcement workforce. At the same time, law enforcement agencies are also seeing a decrease in the number of people applying to be police officers. The problem many agencies are facing is whether to hire to fill staffing needs or be selective for the right fit for their organization. This is a relevant question because the results can be far more impactful than just the person hired. A review of The Stanford Prison Experiment, Milgram’s Obedience Studies, and Abu Ghraib prison revealed that people can be strongly influenced by others and that ethical values can be skewed (Caldero & Crank, 2011; Wargo, 2006; McLeod, 2007; Benjamin Jr. & Simpson, 2009). People can be influenced in relatively minor ways to do cruel, and, sometimes, brutal things. Someone’s good intentions can become corrupted and what started out noble may come to be dishonorable. Notable psychological studies and evaluation of contrasting belief systems are the impetus for this research. The results are relevant to hiring and recruiting in law enforcement. This research in general considers departments across the nation and their policing manpower needs. Many agencies are reporting similar recruiting and hiring challenges. It was concluded that law enforcement agencies that are actively hiring need to find the applicants that are the best fit for their organization. Law enforcement agencies should keep open positions vacant instead of hiring the wrong person.
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    Purposeful Adoption of Positive-Based Discipline Model Due to Generational Differences and Social Climate
    (Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT), 2022-06) Sanchez, Louis
    Discipline, in all accepted forms of its meaning, holds a crucial underlying tenet in human behavior. It controls society’s everyday interaction, it is what allows governments to flourish, and it is what keeps order in a world that can only survive with order. Police management of personnel, coupled with current events and social outlook on policing, necessitates examining how police management disciplines personnel. This examination, however, is not enough. Examining how discipline is viewed and practiced needs to start before the concept of negative discipline is needed or ever takes hold. The idea of "positive discipline" addresses this need, and law enforcement managers need to adopt it for several reasons. Policing in the early 2020’s employs a range of generations in the workforce not seen in history (Glass, 2007). Generational values, the social climate, and modern policing progression require a universal change in discipline-thought to address underlying issues that could negatively affect policing in the future. Positive discipline can accomplish this, along with meeting the value needs of younger generation police officers. Positive discipline can help maintain retention in a field that sees the effects of a diminishing police workforce, increase police officers' knowledge base, and bridge the gap between supervisors and subordinates that is all too common in policing.
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    Small Agencies Big Incidents: Adaption of Incident Command Systems to Manage Crisis Incidents with Tactical and Combat Inclusions
    (2022-06) Stoker, Oscar
    Regardless of size, law enforcement agencies are increasingly challenged with crises that range from natural disasters, mass casualty incidents, and simple calls for service that expand to the unexpected in a moment's notice. Leaders and officers of law enforcement agencies are expected to handle and resolve these challenges in a safe way. This mandate means that the small agency, rurally placed, without the benefit of a large budget and endless manpower faces unique issues in meeting crisis demands. Without manpower and with only limited resources, small agencies must think through bigger and more restrictive issues more carefully than their larger department counterparts who have more manpower and extensive budgets that allow for a specialized response. Small agencies are forced to think their way through issues and work with only the management tools available. Thus, they must pre plan and consider how incidents can be responded to in a systematic way that will result in a proactive pathway to ensure safety and accountability. The practical application of the Incident Command System (ICS) to incidents with tactical or combat elements, when practiced from patrol officer to the top, as well as laterally, department to department, is a powerful tool that will assist in the organization of resources (manpower included) to save time and lives. Although law enforcement agencies receive training in ICS, many agencies, because of small size and limited budgets, fail to practice the day-to-day fundamental principles of the system. While small agencies may not be able to control or fund a large-scale event through to completion, they will be the initial responding agency and the one that must control the incident until assistance arrives.
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    Implementing Mandatory Bias Awareness Training
    (2022-06) Washington, Ramona
    As high-profile incidents make national news, the community calls for police reform. Reform efforts call for agencies to modernize training and take into consideration the needs of the community. Implicit bias awareness training has been recognized in reform efforts as significantly relevant to 21st Century Policing and is a recommended training for all police agencies. Despite the recommendation, police agencies are slow to implement mandatory training for implicit bias. Reasons for why bias awareness has not been a training topic vary among all police agencies. Some agencies are constrained by budgets while others struggle with negative feelings surrounding the topic. Racial profiling has consistently been among police training topics; however, the topic does not explore other bias that can affect police officers. Replacing racial profiling training and implementing mandatory implicit bias training will benefit police officers, police agencies, and the communities they serve.
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    Rural Law Enforcement should be allocated more resources to provide Mental Health services
    (2022-06) Woodring, Robert
    Rural law enforcement has very few options when trying to assist a mental health patient, also known as a consumer. A consumer who resides in a rural area in Texas has significant health care needs but experiences several obstacles in getting services. These obstacles include a lack of accessible services due to geographical distances, a general scarcity of resources, the absence of a human services infrastructure, and little to no service providers. Additionally, the rural law enforcement agencies should be allocated or given access to more resources to provide mental health services to consumers. Without support services outside the law enforcement agency, the consumer will not get treatment and will not start the healing process. A mental health officer responding to a crisis is only the beginning of the journey that the consumer is about to take. If rural agencies had access to a Mobile Outreach Team or had mental health clinics in their area, they could request further assistance with helping the consumer. This would help the consumer heal and become a productive citizen again. If the consumer does not get additional assistance, they further deteriorate and enter a crisis, which then requires law enforcement intervention that could lead to criminal charges or psychiatric commitment.
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    Emotional Intelligence for Law Enforcement Officers
    (2022-09) Bayles, Darin L.
    Law enforcement is a dynamic profession and critical service provided to communities. Expectations of officers change frequently requiring skills beyond the traditional fighting, driving, and shooting. Although those skills are high lethality and low occurrence, there are other skills such as communication, empathy, and decision making which occur every day for officers which can often have a significant impact on a community. Decision making, and professional relationships are foundational skills for officers, so having emotional and social awareness, and self-control has a direct impact on the outcomes of decisions. Officers are frequently tasked with making significant life and death decisions, and often those decisions can prevent critical situations from ever occurring, potentially avoiding some applications of force. Having quality relationships with understanding, empathy and support with the community is valuable for police legitimacy and procedural justice. Law enforcement agencies should mandate emotional intelligence training for all officers.
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    Law Enforcement Agencies Should Focus on Retention of Officers
    (2022-09) Bernard, William
    Throughout the country, there is a consistent dilemma that many small to medium sized law enforcement agencies are facing. That dilemma is the revolving door of officer turnover. Over the last decade, agencies have found ways to actively recruit new officers by thinking outside of the box in their techniques and tactics. Some of these recruiting campaigns over social media and the internet have reached to seasoned, experienced police officers in the smaller agencies. Law enforcement agencies should make strives to retain their experienced officers to prevent turnover costs and loss of agency investment in their personnel. Another way agencies can prevent turnover is by introducing incentive based programs that provide incentive pay for employees that hold higher education certifications, law enforcement certifications, and master certain job related skills. Retention is important to the future of law enforcement. In retaining experienced officers, agencies will be able to reduce the amount of costs associated with turnover. The costs of turnover should be redirected into incentive-based pay to retain experienced, qualified officers.
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    Qualified Immunity for Law Enforcement Officers Society’s Best Interest
    (2022-09) Brackhahn, Todd G.
    Qualified immunity is the doctrine established by the United States Supreme Court in the late 1960s which prevents an officer from being held personally liable from lawsuits alleging the officer violated a person’s rights (Mihalek, 2020). Qualified immunity balances societies need to hold law enforcement officers accountable for their actions with the officers need to be protected from personal liability when they are acting in good faith in the performance of their duties (Legal Information Institute, n.d.a). There have been calls to strip law enforcement officers of qualified immunity, to hold them accountable for their actions. Qualified immunity should be retained for law enforcement because it protects them from frivolous lawsuits, allows them to perform their duties in life and death confrontations without fear of being held personally liable, and preserves the rule of law and community order. If qualified immunity is stripped from law enforcement there will be an exodus of trained, experienced, professional law enforcement officers which will result in a rise in violent criminal behavior, anarchy, and vigilantism, making the United States an unsafe place to live.
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    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the Agency’s Responsibility
    (2022-09) Burns, John
    Agencies should execute dynamic projects to address post-traumatic stress disorder, by giving numerous methods for assistance. Mental issues and policing go hand in hand. There is a great deal of visually traumatic incidences that stay plastered within the minds of police officers affecting them and their families greatly. Exposure to natural disasters, accidents and violence could happen to anyone but frequently it is often a guarantee in policing. An officers repeated exposure to traumatic events leads to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
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    Professional Development for New Law Enforcement Officers
    (2022-09) Coleman, Trey
    Law enforcement agencies devote countless resources towards recruiting and training new officers coming into the ranks of their organizations. The highs of graduation from an academy training program are then met with the realities of the job. Stress, financial problems, career stagnation, and feelings of unfair treatment can demoralize or derail the career of young law enforcement officers. If a law enforcement agency does not focus on combating those issues that plague new officers, then the monetary and human resources expended during the recruiting and training process will prove ineffective with officers leaving faster than can be replaced. These reasons are why law enforcement agencies should implement a professional development program for their newest officers. Many of these pitfalls could be avoided with the implementation of professional development programs aimed at new officers in the early stages of their careers. A professional development program preparing officers for the known and unknown stressors before the stressors build up would lead to better coping ability. Breaking down the disciplinary process and providing what to expect if the officer was the target of an internal affairs investigation would provide perspective, guidelines, and deeper relationships. Financial literary training would enable officers to begin developing their strategic plan for a career where the days are long and the average 24 year-career is short. Finally, a professional development program demonstrates that a law enforcement agency cares about their employees as more than a cog in the government machine.
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    A Sketchy use of Sketches: How Current Generation Facial Composites are Misused and Potentially Harmful
    (2022-09) Collier, Bret
    Eyewitness identification in criminal cases is a significant resource for an investigator, and a major consideration in the outcome of countless criminal trials, often serving as the determining factor in whether a person accused of a crime is ultimately convicted. Investigators have several tools at their disposal to draw out and make use of information that those eyewitnesses provide. One such tool is the facial composite, which is intended to represent a two-dimensional likeness of a suspect based on the recollection of a witness. However, there is a significant body of research to suggest that witnesses, for a variety of reasons, have great difficulty recalling faces to the degree that they can accurately relay them to an investigator, even under ideal circumstances. Further, the tools available to produce facial composites based on eyewitness’ recollections are severely lacking efficacy, and very few police departments have personnel adequately trained to make use of them properly. These factors combined can cause decisions to be made based on bad evidence, causing concerning outcomes. Police agencies should strictly limit the use of composite sketches or software for the witness identification of criminal suspects in order to reduce the negative effects of improper use. Only by limiting the use of composite sketches to cases overseen by investigators highly trained in the facial composite tools and processes, and only to instances where the majority of the significant variables in the process can be properly accounted for, can one be hopeful that the end product is sound, and will lead to the furtherance of justice for all parties involved.
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    Improving Fitness in Policing
    (2022-09) Ditrich, Doug
    Law enforcement is recognized as a physically and mentally demanding profession. Most police officers start their careers in relatively good physical condition, having been required to exercise to some standard, while in the academy. Although most officers seem to agree fitness is an important factor of the job and this does not seem to carry over the course of a career in many cases. Time coupled by the stresses of the job, lack of exercise, and poor eating habits have resulted in police officers being at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than members of the general public, unfortunately also resulting in higher mortality rates for law enforcement officers. Additionally, there is evidence showing poor fitness increases risk of injury, absenteeism, lower productivity and in some cases results in improper uses of force, all of which are detrimental to the entire police organization. There is a need for physical fitness in policing and police administrators should implement voluntary physical fitness programs within their organizations to combat the issue. These programs should be targeted at improving the overall health of their officers which in turn will have a positive impact on the employee, the department and the members of the community being served. To ensure success the program must be supported by organizational leaders. Education, goal setting, and incentives along with support of different options will help enlist participation.
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    Administration Should Strengthen the Department Through Rotating Positions
    (2022-09) Eoff, Terry
    Police administrations are faced with many difficult decisions and obstacles as they provide law enforcement services to the public. The key factor in providing quality service is the personnel in which they employ. Since 2010 it has been difficult for agencies to hire and keep quality police officers. Administrations are tasked with finding new and innovative ways to hire employees and retain them. The opportunity of moving throughout a police agency can be used as a hiring tactic. Police departments can accomplish the goal of keeping their employees by setting up a rotating schedule. This type of schedule is key to keeping officers engaged in the organization. It will challenge the officers as they move through different roles within the department while increasing their skills, knowledge, and morale. While moving through the different roles, the officers will become better trained, which will strengthen the department. Strengthening the department through rotating positions will work, if implemented based on the department it is designed for. Officers on rotating positions will learn all aspects of the agency and be able to take the department’s message forward.
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    The Implementation of Emotional Intelligence Assessments into Promotional Systems
    (2022-09) Flores, Zachary Allen
    A number of issues in law enforcement are propagated from within the department. They do not have to do with external factors. Supervisors play a large role in the performance of an organization and it is important for law enforcement agencies to have the right employees in the right places at the right times. Emotional intelligence assessments should be built into promotional processes in order for administrators to have insight into the candidates beyond their ability to recall information from memory or their ability to demonstrate a technical skill before a set of their peers. According to Goleman (1996), emotional intelligence has proven to be more important as a predictor of leadership success than technical ability, or cognitive intelligence. It has lasting affects on an organization, fortunately these skills that comprise emotional intelligence can be learned. Concerns surrounding the effects of emotional intelligence on decision making have been unfounded. Sedvalis, Petrides, and Harvey (2007), indicated that emotions have a strong correlation to decision-making, but a higher level of emotional intelligence typically allows for better decision making. Issues addressing the scientific validity of emotional intelligence assessments argue the lack of specific metrics researchers have used in their analysis. One consistent recommendation of researchers has been that emotional intelligence assessments should be used for employee development instead of selection or disqualification.
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    Mandatory Fitness Training Hours for Officers
    (2022-09) Grasse, Erik
    When an emergency occurs, and citizens call 9-1-1, they expect law enforcement officers to respond and deal with whatever situation they come upon. In order to effectively respond they must be in top physical condition. Currently officers only have physical fitness training in an academy, or they must meet a fitness standard prior to getting hired. Beyond this minute amount of fitness training there is no long-term plan in most law enforcement agencies for any additional programs. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) should set minimum physical fitness training hours to impress upon officers the importance of physical fitness as it relates to long-term health and wellness. Fitness is a crucial part of officer health and wellness. When officers participate in a physical fitness programs the results can include increased strength, increased flexibility, increased cardiovascular health and an increase in general health (Kasper, 2013). In addition, it is irresponsible to wait or respond to an officer losing a fight with a subject due to his or her fitness level (Nice, 2017).
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    Intelligence-Led Proactive Policing
    (2022-09) Hale, Thomas
    Law enforcement agencies need to work more innovative and more efficiently. Technology has become the way the current population communicates, orders groceries, reads books and lives their daily lives. Computers that people hold in their hands control their lives. As law enforcement professionals, officers should capitalize on the intelligence information that is in front of them. The concept of proactive intelligence-led policing is not a new idea. Law enforcement has not used this concept in their best interest. Intelligence-led policing will utilize technological advances in data collection and analytics to gain valuable intelligence. Law enforcement will use the intelligence to direct personnel and resources to the people and locations that are likely to do the best job. When proactive enforcement is discussed, the administration immediately thinks about what the public will feel. Intelligence led policing uses technology that is currently available to law enforcement agencies. Technology will allow agencies to identify who our criminals are and what their motive is. It will also allow them to track their movements and their associates. In some cases, it comes from open sources. Intelligence received from professional sources, informants, and technology will eventually lead officers to identify who the violent criminals and associates are. Law Enforcement, because of the current perception, has to change the culture of law enforcement and how agencies respond to criminal behavior.
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    Law Enforcement Officers Should Continue to Benefit from the Qualified Immunity Doctrine
    (2022-09) Hill, Jarrett R.
    Qualified Immunity represents an importance balance. Qualified immunity provides protection for police officers, as well as other public officials, from civil lawsuits. It will allow police officers to do their jobs, as well as hold the bad actors accountable for their actions. Supporters of qualified immunity argue that law enforcement officers would be exposed to lawsuits and second guessed in the courts without this protection. On the other hand, opponents of qualified immunity argue law enforcement officers are free to violate the rights of citizens with impunity. In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court refined the qualified immunity doctrine. Qualified immunity is not the result of any specific law passed by Congress. Qualified Immunity is an important doctrine that needs to exist to protect the officer and provide them the ability to do the job they have sworn to do. Officers are human and should be allowed room to make mistakes. Officers should not be afraid to do their jobs, fearing frivolous civil lawsuits or baseless legal actions when making split second decisions. Denying officers the benefit of Qualified Immunity could lead to their failure to act, cause them to leave the profession prematurely and can cause an increase in crime rates for the communities that need police the most. Law enforcement officers should continue to benefit from the qualified immunity doctrine.
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    Progressive Discipline in Law Enforcement Organizations
    (2022-09) Hyden, Perry
    Law enforcement organizations have a legal obligation to ensure that their officers are acting appropriately, within the scope of the law. Conduct of law enforcement officers is regulated by department policy, department procedure, and statutory laws from all levels of government. When officers violate policies or statutes, administrators have a responsibility to ensure that corrective action is taken to curtail deficient behavior. In doing so, law enforcement organizations should utilize a progressive discipline policy in correcting employee disciplinary infractions. Agency policy should also have safeguards to prevent unintended negative consequences during the disciplinary process.