There is a great variety of research that focuses on various issues evident in law enforcement. As part of the previous work on this project, four essential problems in the Courtelaney Pass police department were discovered: racial tensions, questionable investigative and enforcement practices, poor community reporting, and the lack of diversity. Additionally, it is essential to review the issue of leadership in the context of change. The present literature review outlines and discusses research findings concerning the identified problems to provide insight into potential solutions and needs.
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Racial tensions are a significant problem faced by law enforcement in the United States. The primary reasons for racial tensions are the cases of police brutality towards those from minority ethnic groups. Negative experiences with the police as a result of racially biased policing have an impact on individuals, their families, and communities. Nakhid (2017) reports that racially prejudiced policing results in fear of the police, thus impairing public trust in police departments. Nix, Wolfe, Rojek, and Kaminski (2015) confirm that procedural justice is the most crucial factor in determining people’s confidence in the police. Racial tensions also influence people’s willingness to cooperate with the police, which can impact the effectiveness of police departments.
In the contemporary context, the issues of biased policing and police brutality have a more profound impact than ever before. Zacarese (2016) states that in today’s world, local incidents of police misconduct can go viral on the Internet and attract national attention. Therefore, a single event that was videotaped and broadcasted on social networks influences millions of people’s attitudes towards law enforcement. Resolving racial tensions in the Courtelaney Pass community requires eliminating discrimination and police brutality in the department.
There are several strategies for resolving racial tensions proposed by researchers. Nakhid (2017) suggests conducting community workshops to address people’s concerns and using police training to reduce prejudice against people of color. Zacarese (2016) also argues that using social media to inform communities of these efforts would help to decrease distrust and fear of police. These strategies could be effectively implemented in the Courtelaney Pass police department to address the issue of racial tensions.
Police misconduct is another critical issue that influences the work of the Courtelaney Pass police department. Chanin (2015) states that a pattern or practice reform can be used to address police misconduct. However, police leaders must ensure sufficient supervision of employees throughout the reform and in the future to maintain the results. Therefore, the findings of the study suggest that oversight is the critical success factor in all changes targeting police misconduct and that establishing adequate control of staff would help to decrease misconduct.
Another essential prerequisite for ethical and procedural conduct is ethnic diversity. Hong (2017) found that ethnic diversity correlated with integrity, which decreased citizen complaints and improved satisfaction with police work. This can be associated with the fact that racial discrimination is a significant predictor of police misconduct. When police discriminate against victims or alleged criminals based on race, they are more likely to take cases involving people of color less seriously. Hong (2016) found that a more ethnically diverse workforce is less likely to engage in racial discrimination, which leads to improved policing overall. Therefore, increasing ethnic diversity in police departments could be an effective way of addressing misconduct.
Community reporting was addressed in various research studies and articles, as it can promote the efficiency of police work. Torrente, Gallo, and Oltra (2017) studied the factors that influence crime reporting in Europe and found that they include factors such as social inequalities, life satisfaction, and income of citizens, as well as their perception of police efficacy. While the police cannot influence some of these factors, there is a potential for enhancing citizen’s perceptions of police efficacy. First of all, increased oversight could help to increase police efficacy by eliminating misconduct, thus leading to better outcomes (Chanin, 2015). For example, improving the processes of handling complaints and conducting internal investigations would be useful for promoting satisfaction with police services. Secondly, establishing proper communication between the police and the local community could help to inform citizens of police efforts. Zacarese (2016) states that using social media to improve the awareness of citizens about police work could have a positive impact on their perceptions of police efficacy. Strategies for improving perceptions of police efficacy should thus consider both the internal and the external environment of police work to achieve success.
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The lack of diversity is associated with various negative outcomes, including racial tensions, discrimination, and reduced cooperation with law enforcement. Therefore, increasing ethnic diversity should be among the key priorities of police leaders. Stewart (2016) explains several strategies for attracting people from minority groups to organizations. For instance, the author notes that “providing unconscious bias training for those involved in the recruitment, selection, development and promotion processes helps raise awareness of subconscious preconceptions so that bias does not affect their decision making” (Stewart, 2016, p. 62). This could help to eliminate bias during the recruitment process, thus improving the chances of people from minority ethnic groups being offered a position. Also, it is critical to establish clear career development opportunities within the organization to ensure retention (Stewart, 2016). Applicants from minority groups would be encouraged by knowing that they have a potential for achieving high ranks in the future.
To assure the success of the proposed strategies, it is crucial to provide adequate leadership support for the change. Schafer and Varano (2017) found that in many police organizations, leadership is a critical factor determining the success of reforms. There are several key practices that leaders should use while planning and implementing organizational changes. Firstly, a leader-centric leadership style can improve the acceptance of changes and ensure adequate support of employees throughout the process (Herrington & Colvin, 2015). Secondly, participatory planning and clear communication are essential for change success (Schafer & Varano, 2017). Thus, leaders should seek to engage employees in change planning and provide clear information regarding all stages of the change process. Thirdly, connecting organizational objectives with employees’ values could also aid the efforts. For example, Vanebo, Bjørkelo, and Aaserud (2015) found that value-based leadership impacts employee engagement and motivation, leading to positive organizational outcomes. Finally, leaders should be committed to the change and exhibit the values that they are attempting to promote (Vanebo et al., 2016). In the present case, ethical leadership practices, integrity, and the lack of racial discrimination should be among the key attributes of the leader and their approach to work.
Overall, the research suggests that comprehensive organizational reform is required to address the problems experienced by the Courtelaney Pass police department. Evidence-based practices, including increased oversight, community outreach initiatives, and employee training, would help the department to reduce misconduct and improve relations with the local community. The engagement of leaders would have a profound influence on the effectiveness of these strategies, and thus leaders should seek to apply both the leadership theory and ethical values in their work.
Chanin, J. M. (2015). Examining the sustainability of pattern or practice police misconduct reform. Police Quarterly, 18(2), 163-192.
Herrington, V., & Colvin, A. (2015). Police leadership for complex times. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 10(1), 7-16.
Hong, S. (2017). Does increasing ethnic representativeness reduce police misconduct? Public Administration Review, 77(2), 195-205.
Hong, S. (2016). Representative bureaucracy, organizational integrity, and citizen coproduction: Does an increase in police ethnic representativeness reduce crime? Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 35(1), 11-33.
Nakhid, C. (2017). Police encounter with African youth in New Zealand–The impact on the youth, family, and community. Safer Communities, 16(2), 64-76.
Nix, J., Wolfe, S. E., Rojek, J., & Kaminski, R. J. (2015). Trust in the police: The influence of procedural justice and perceived collective efficacy. Crime & Delinquency, 61(4), 610-640.
Schafer, J. A., & Varano, S. P. (2017). Change in police organizations: Perceptions, experiences, and the failure to launch. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 33(4), 392-410.
Stewart, C. (2016). How diverse is your pipeline? Developing the talent pipeline for women and black and ethnic minority employees. Industrial and Commercial Training, 48(2), 61-66.
Torrente, D., Gallo, P., & Oltra, C. (2017). Comparing crime reporting factors in EU countries. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 23(2), 153-174.
Vanebo, J. O., Bjørkelo, B., & Aaserud, T. (2015). Police leadership development: Intentions and critical success factors. International Public Administration Review, 13(3–4), 11–26.
Zacarese, L. M. (2016). Build positive community relations with training, proactive communication about good work. Campus Security Report, 13(2), 7.