To be an effective police/law enforcement officer, one must understand where we (law enforcement) has been, where society believes we are and what the heck is going to happen in the future. Unfortunately the future is much more depressing than in the past. Society is getting more liberal with how the Constitution is viewed and applied towards suspects. The author posits that not to far into the distant future officers will need probable cause to make a consenual contact. But connecting the dots is important because it provides clarity, and understanding to a profession that once was considered a volunteer job in which the primary duties was to ensure that criminals did not come into the town at night.
Thus when the new officer hits the streets, they think the “old salt” officers are unaware of the “new” and improved ways of policing. However if anyone reviews Sir Robert Peels policing notions not much has changed in how police officers should effectively patrol, and protect the communities they serve. The past also includes community oriented policing, and problem oriented policing. There are trends like Killing and Wilsons Broken Windows that will never go away. But there are also eras of law enforcement.
The present is not readily observable because the career track is working within a specific time frame. However a couple of authors (scholars) have debated and postulated that law enforcement is in the “terrorism or homeland security” era. While this author does not dispute that, it is suggested that law enforcement is past this era, and moved into another era.
The present era appears to deal with change in population (officers/civilians/communities). This era can be identified by the large increase of immigrants and migrants to the United States. Specifically large urban centers. The author includes officers because there is a large increase of vacancies that have started since the Vietnam Vets (officers) have been and will continue to retire. This new bred of police officer is causing problems for a variety of reasons. The most important and influential characteristic is the lack of loyality to any department or organization. The author contends although the “brotherhood” is present departments are “stealing” away officers for a price and more importantly officers are looking to leave departments.
Future trends and eras are just that, the future, no one knows the future, but speculations being what it is, I suggest the next era will have more to do with intelligence led policing, or data driven policing. The reason is quite simple, departments do not have as much dedicated/allocated resources to provide “general” patrol to the levels they did five years ago. Departments will be dusting off the fabled Kansas City Experiments and revisiting those topics. To maximize effective deployment of officers and protect the community.