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Critical Issues in Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
H W More
Date Published
335 pages
Nine issues of critical importance to law enforcement are explored: the police role in a free society and police discretion, use of deadly force, review of officer conduct, unionization, corruption, response to terrorism, stress, and professionalization.
This book covers the broad spectrum of issues and perennial problems which face the police as part of the criminal justice system, and which must be considered in ensuring that police work is relevant in today's society. The nine issues previously mentioned form the topical sections of the book, with contributing articles derived from recent law enforcement literature. Each topical section begins with an introduction that explores the history and scope of the issue; subsequent articles comment on specific aspects of the issue and propose solutions to problems raised. The topical sections conclude with a series of concepts for further consideration and a list of selected readings. Concerns addressed under the topic of police in a free society include professional police principles and the relationship of crime and police field services. Police discretion is discussed in terms of police policy formulation and the setting of limits and guidelines for officer decisionmaking. A task force report of the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice is included under the topic of police conduct along with a description of the role the internal affairs unit plays within a police force. Views on collective bargaining and police strikes are addressed by articles on unionization. Papers related to police corruption contain a report of the Pennsylvania Crime Commission dealing with the quality of Philadelphia law enforcement and a review of the Knapp Commission's recommendations. Counterterrorism techniques and suggestions of coping with occupational stress dominate articles devoted to these two topics, and the final section proposes measures to overcome obstacles in the way of police professionalism. An index is appended.