Responses should be a minimum of 250 words and include direct questions. You may challenge, support or supplement another student s answer using the terms, concepts and theories from the required readings. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process at this academic level.
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Respond to Patrick:
New Era of Policing
Post 9/11 has ushered in a new era of security threats from non-state actors and lone wolf attacks. This heightened sense of fear has radically changed almost every aspect of national security operationally, legislatively, and all levels of law enforcement. These mass structural and cultural changes to law enforcement post 9/11 have created a significant rift of loyalty for American law enforcement. Oliver (2006) discusses there has been four eras of American policing starting with the political era (1840s -1920s), the reform era (1920s 1970s), the community era (1970s 2001), and lastly the homeland security era (2001- present). The homeland security era of policing has emphasized counter-terrorism strategies across local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies (Oliver, 2006). The concentration of counter-terrorism has led to military style tactics in policing activities (Brown, 2011). Police departments have also increased their levels of high powered military weaponry and armored personnel carriers (Oliver, 2006).
The new era of policing began with the declaration of the War on Terror by President Bush in the days following the 9/11 attacks (Brown, 2011). The political and economic effects of that declaration have changed American society and have pushed us further towards militarization (Brown, 2011). The largest legislative action that set the foundation of the homeland security era was the passing of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (Patriot Act). The Patriot Act created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the DHS has worked to incorporate law enforcement into counter-terrorism efforts (Oliver, 2006). The Patriot Act expanded law enforcement investigative powers into crimes of terrorism and removed legal barriers of information sharing between levels of law enforcement.
Brown (2011) discusses the consequences of the militarization of law enforcement functions and that they have resulted in conflicting decisions for law enforcement officers. The war on terrorism influenced a new, heightened militarized role for America s police agencies. Local police forces mobilized in support of national efforts to combat terrorist threats (Brown, 2011, p. 672). Historically the role of local police officers are meant to enforce the law, keep the peace, protect the community, and ensure civil liberties (Brown, 2011). With the advent of the homeland security era, the police role has begun to shift and lines of duty have become blurred. Brown (2011) argues that the new militarized law enforcement culture has altered the mindset of police officers to thinking they must wage war on terrorism and other crimes. I would argue that it has given them new responsibilities and maybe a greater sense of purpose but not a new mindset. Law enforcement tactics, gear, and training have changed to be more military oriented in order to advance officer capabilities in responding to threats. There is a divide for law enforcement, but I believe the militarization factor comes second to the societal factors at play.
(P.S: I think I would argue that we are entering a 5th era of policing that emphasizes intelligence/data collection, information systems, and cyber-security)
Brown, C. A. (2011). Divided loyalties: Ethical challenges for America s law enforcement in post 9/11 America. Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, 43(3), 651-675.
Oliver, W. (2006). The fourth era of policing: Homeland security. International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, 20(1-2), 49 62.
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