When it comes to skills such as making high-risk traffic stops or pursuing a suspect's vehicle in hazardous driving conditions, police officers need training to feel as close to the real thing as possible.
Training sessions that accurately reflect extreme conditions can help officers react effectively. To this end, agencies have a variety of options at their disposal, including driving practice in cars that simulate dangerous weather, as well as scenarios that combine driving and shoot-out elements.
A cadet system could get young people ready to join the force.
Hiring for a police department is unlike the process in any other field. The ideal officer will combine peak physical and mental toughness with great communication skills, a willingness to put oneself in danger and an ability to deescalate intense situations. The complex nature of the work means that extra effort given to recruiting, nurturing and retaining talent is well worth it. The pool of applicants with the skills to become great officers is limited, and departments have to hold onto their best people tenaciously.
Departments are using different metrics to determine how many officers they should employ.
When it comes to putting together a police force, leaders have to balance a number of factors, each more challenging than the last. It's vital to have enough manpower to keep the community safe while giving each officer a reasonable workload, and extremely high standards are required when it comes to vetting candidates and training them to perform their many duties.
Police need to know how to treat crime victims on the scene.
Shortly after the July police shooting that occurred in Dallas, in which five officers were killed and nine others were injured, Dallas Police Chief David Brown publicly lamented that the public was "asking cops to do too much in this country."
"Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve," he said during a press conference after the event, according to the Washington Post. "Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. … Here in Dallas we got a loose dog problem; let's have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, let's give it to the cops. … That's too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems."
How should cities determine minimum police staffing levels? In San Francisco, some city supervisors think it should be based on population. Others want to see it based on the police department's workload demand.
Cities that will host upcoming party nomination conventions are boosting security measures.
Politics can lead to tense moments and flared tempers. This is particularly true during a competitive election season.
The ongoing presidential primary and upcoming general election campaign are perfect examples of how the political process can get rowdy. Most recently, for example, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump chose to cancel a planned rally in Chicago following concerns that growing protests in the area could threaten public safety. At the time, many within the campaign feared that scuffles between supporters and left-wing demonstrators might have escalated into full on, citywide violence.
Nationwide statistics show that average crime rates have fallen significantly in the past two decades. However, this hasn't been the case in every part of the country. Some cities have experienced brief crime spikes in the past few years. Others are simply growing more populous. This — combined with the aftereffects of the last recession — has left them with police shortages.
Shortages of police officers can be problematic for multiple reasons. With fewer officers, it can be difficult to respond to emergency calls as quickly as public safety experts would like. In addition, efforts to maintain full coverage with a short-handed staff puts more pressure on existing sworn officers — and boost municipal overtime spending.
Police officers are widely considered to be exemplars of model behavior, but as with any group, not every officer acts in a way befitting his or her oath to serve and protect. In an age where police actions are more publicly scrutinized than ever before, police departments need to ensure that their officers are exhibiting the highest standards of professional behavior.
After the tragic terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California that shook the entire nation, police departments across the U.S. are ramping up their security efforts in an attempt to prevent another devastating attack. In particular, large-scale events like parades, sporting events and other public happenings will continue as scheduled, but under the watch of an increased police presence that will stretch the human resources of local and state police departments considerably until the threat level returns to normal.
As workforce management and data interface experts, Orion Communications is a leading provider of public safety workforce management software. Orion’s AgencyWeb® software helps agencies simplify complex workforce management processes and reduce labor cost. Orion has been serving the public safety industry since 1998 and is a certified women-owned business headquartered in Dallas, Texas.