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May 1st, 2015
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Week 5 discussion 1

The Costs Associated with Hiring a Police Officer

Police personnel cost can be as much as 75% of the operating budget of a police department.  Do you think that this is money well spent?  Should we ask our law enforcement agencies to do more with less?  Should the technological advances in law enforcement replace physical police officers?  What impact would this have on the community? Support your assertions with information from a scholarly source.

Our discussion first, then the individuals response nee to tell the bad and good of post, list references

Marcos wrote:

When I was serving in the United States Marines one of the things our leadership boasted about was the fact that Marines, unlike other branches, could do more than any branch with the smallest budget.  That’s when I realized why most of my combat gear where hand-me-downs taped together with duct tape.  This never stopped us from doing our job. 

If you expect to do the same from the law enforcement community I’m sure there will be those officers who will do it because they love the job.  There is a reason why fast food jobs do not attract individuals with degrees.  During the recession many police agencies in the state of California faced budget issues. What some of these agencies did in order to protect jobs was to stop overtime pay and replace it with time off.  Most of the hiring was for attrition.  I believe this hurt some of this department by forcing many veteran officers to lateral to other departments that were offering bonuses, and higher pay.  The quality of applicants also diminished because other agencies were offering more money for less work was attracting those individuals with higher education.

In some cases technological advances should replace officers.  I rather send a robot to inspect a suspicious package that can be rigged with explosives rather than sending a person in to do the work and risk injury or death. Cameras in neighborhoods can also replace officers conducting foot beats in some neighborhoods Technology has provided police departments with powerful tools to collect extensive data on private citizens. Those tools have captured images of every license plate passing through an intersection; used facial-recognition technology to determine whether Super Bowl attendees had criminal records; and implemented multi-technology systems that aggregate and analyze information from approximately 3,000 surveillance cameras around the city (Seybold, 2015). As far as technology replacing live officers is highly unlikely.  One thing that a human officer has is discretion and the ability to distinguish between the letter and spirit of the law. When the public calls for police services they expect a person who will interact with them.

Seybold, S. D. (2015). Somebody's Watching Me: Civilian Oversight of Data-Collection Technologies. Texas Law Review, 93(4), 1029-1060.

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