Monday, June 29, 2009

Amalgamation in Law Enforcement

As a law enforcement practitioner who has worked in three different countries both in the northern and southern hemispheres, one of the hardest concepts for me to grasp was the huge number of jurisdictions in America. It seemed to me at first glance to be totally unwieldy and inefficient. I was then reminded by a very intelligent and knowledgeable colleague that the basis for government in what is now the United States was the county, in other words local government. He told me that the American psyche was not geared towards big government and that to protect against despotism, local government and the colonial (state) governments that evolved were the seats of power. The foundation then was not the federal or state but local government, hence the number of local agencies engaged in law enforcement across the country.

When I first looked at local policing in the U.S. I was taken back the how much money was wasted in having so many chiefs, so little coordination in purchasing, and such a gap in standards between agencies that I believed that this system was totally inefficient. After the in-depth explanation by my learned colleague I have mellowed in my outlook, but still see mergers based on geographic and other relevant factors, at a limited level, a good thing. One reason is that criminals do not notice or respect borders, so why should the police? Economies in scale would reduce costs associated with purchasing vehicles, computers, radios, protective equipment and other necessary times. Another is the sharing of information necessary for more effective apprehension of criminals. So many advantages and so few disadvantages, except maybe for public perception. And the fact that so many little kings might lose their fiefdoms.

Having said all this, I found an article that might lead to some good discussion on this point. It is from the Gainesville Sun in Florida. To read this article, please click here.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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