Career Path Investigation
The capability to work together and to communicate between different agencies is vital in protecting society and fighting crime on a daily basis. Whether it be a police officer, a probation officer or a correctional officer, each department needs to communicate with each other. With communication, there are no conflicts of interest and justice can be achieved. Communication between all of the agencies and departments can be difficult because all agencies have different ways of doing things, sometimes working different schedules, but it can also be very beneficial because of the varied assortment of skills and resources each agency has (Gasior, 2017).
When talking about legal searches, law enforcement must work with each other to guarantee that the process goes as smoothly as possible. A lot of times cases are dismissed because the evidence collected by a police officer was without a warrant or probable cause and therefore, it was inadmissible in court. In the case of obtaining a warrant, the officer would work with a judge to obtain it. This generally isn't required if the officer has reason to believe that his/her or the public's life is at risk or if illegal imports such as drugs are in plain view. For a probation officer, a warrant is not needed to search the probationer or the property, but there does have to be reasonable grounds for the search to be considered legal. Often times probationers will agree to warrantless searches as a circumstance of being granted probation. If the probationer refuses to be searched, the probation officer and local police assistance, can arrest the probationer and send them back to jail. For a prison guard, a warden must be present when conducting searches in the inmates’ rooms. (Gasior, 2017).
As an example of multi-agency partnership, suppose a police officer gets a call for a welfare check for a John Carsin, 42 years old. The police database tells the officer that Carsin has been to prison for possession of narcotics but has been released on parole. The officer goes to the address listed and knocks on the door, John Carsin answers. Instantly after the door opens the officer smells a strong odor of marijuana coming from the house. Carsin appears to be fine at the moment but now the officers have a suspicion that there could be drugs in the house. The officer at the scene makes sure Carsin is okay and leaves but later calls Carsin’s probation officer. The police officer that went to the residence tells John’s probation officer about his suspicion and they work together to obtain evidence to build a case. They eventually see a judge to obtain a warrant. Once the warrant is approved, they search Carsin’s house as per his probation agreement and find drugs of some sort in his house. Carsin is then arrested and sent back to jail for violating his parole.
In a case where a police officer was conducting an investigation involving an incarcerated prisoner, the police officer would have to speak to the prison guard because he or she would be overseeing the situation directly. The prison guard would have certain reports about the imprisoned such as if any contraband was found in the cell or what kind of person he or she is inside prison and if they have made progress in rehabilitation. A probation officer would conduct the investigation and collect the pre-sentence report. According to lawfacts.com, the purpose of the pre-sentence report is to have a record of the offenders’ personal history along with his financial and medical records.
Then, the probation officer would have to collaborate with credit reporting agencies, as well as any medical or mental health professionals that the offender could have been seeing. In addition to this, he would also need to get information from the victim who the perpetrator burglarized to see what kind of harm had come to them. When the report is finished, it would be handed to the judge, so then he/she could decide what kind of sentence to enforce. The probation officer could also work with the police department to see if the defendant has any prior convictions. Without any of agencies working together it would be very difficult for a single agency to get anything done. The court couldn’t enforce a law if the police didn’t find people breaking it. Probation officers wouldn’t have a job if there were no people getting out of jail.
In the case of Estelle v. Gamble, Gamble was an inmate who sustained an injury in his back during manual labor. When he complained about the pain, the doctors didn’t think anything of it even when he was seen 17 times in 3 months. They gave him some pills for high blood pressure and heart issues then they told him he would be fine. However, the pain not only persisted but it got worse. He filed a lawsuit against the corrections department for not giving him better care and forcing him to continue to work despite his health conditions. After being the lowest priority for years the case finally made its way to the supreme court in 1976. The case was ruled in Gambles favor because it was in violation of the eight-amendment involving “torture or a lingering death”. The case of Estelle v. Gamble changed the view of health care for those incarcerated. Even if they didn’t have most rights like most, they would at least have the right to their own health.
After putting these findings together regarding the differences in how each branch communicates with each other, I think being a police officer would be the best fit for me. I would like to be the first to respond to crime or accident, whatever the case may be and help keep people safe even if they think it is the worst day of their life. I find the service that police officers provide to society and the personal satisfaction they get for doing a job that doesn’t always get thanked is a very special kind of reward.
With times changing, technology is changing twice as fast. It’s being used for good and bad, in my opinion. Criminals are getting advanced in its uses, such as cybercrime or even using the internet to find records of victim addresses or medical records. We have been living in a digital age and as time goes on, the human race is only going to be more dependent on technology, where almost all information is public record. Law enforcement must be ahead of the game at all times. With the disbursement of city funding and sometimes federal grants, law enforcement agencies are able to purchase useful gear that is essential in fighting crime (Sweeney, 2012).
The police officer assigned to the burglary investigation has a variety of different tools to help him conduct a thorough investigation. Crime lights are useful to detect DNA such as fingerprints, footprints, fibers, hair and any kind of body fluid. These traces of DNA left at a crime scene would make it easier to solve a crime because the actor(s) could be pinned at the scene with almost no questions asked because there is legitimate proof. There is also a device called an electrostatic dust lifter (EDL) that can lift a hand or footprint off a surface (Bureau). The area or item that is associated with the crime is dusted with a chemical powder and the EDL camera reveals where the print is, this camera and powder has many appearances on crime scene shows.
This technology is based on an existing concept, which is using clear adhesive tape to lift prints off a surface. Having a device that can do this same process in less time. For bodily fluids, officers can use a cotton swab and dab the fluids to collect DNA, putting the cotton swab then in a container to keep the sample safe. This sample is then processed with the help of a police database that would have records of offenders. These clues are photographed with a high definition camera that can capture all of the detail, then they along with the other instruments used to collect information, are sent to the forensic lab for analysis.
Prison guards don't have as many technological tools as police officers but the tools they do have in order help them in avoiding people from smuggling drugs or weapons into the correctional facilities. During visitation, all visitors have to sign paperwork which includes their information along with how they are related to the inmate they are there to see. Along with that information, they are passed under either a metal detector or a wand or some of the newer facilities have a full body scanner similar to the ones they have at the airports. This would detect any weapons or contraband on the person. As stated, there are not many devices as of now, but with technology changing almost every day, in the future, there are more possibilities.
The probation officer can use a GPS tracking device which then has a “sister” module attached to the probationer in the form of a bracelet that is either worn on either wrist or ankle. These devices are used when someone is under house arrest. The bracelet can notify the probation officer if the probationer tries to remove it or if he/she is attempting to leave the perimeter agreed upon before being in the real world. It would also help in knowing if the probationer was near any crime scene or anywhere, they shouldn’t be. The probation officer could also use the internet to monitor probationers through social media, monitoring emails and even installing a program on phones that show internet browser history and text messages received and sent.
In the case of United States v. Jones, the use of the GPS tracker was the key in finding the vehicle that was used in drug trafficking. Law enforcement was able to use satellites and track the movement of the vehicle. This has made it easier to safely monitor criminal activity from a distance and collect evidence at the same time. It is fact that Jones used his wife’s car to transport drugs and when he was caught, he tried to fight the law enforcement system as a way to try to bail himself out of a life-changing criminal offense (United States 2012).
Out of all three branches that use technology to fight crime and figure out investigations, I would have to say that the police officer has the most revolutionary technology and has a massive need for upgrades and the continuing need to have updated technology. I would be very interested in learning about how DNA is discovered at crime scenes and the way it is extracted using the alternate light sources and the electrostatic dust lifter to then run in a lab, tracing back to a possible criminal. Also, in the case of Kyllo v. United States the police used thermal imaging to distinguish marijuana inside a home. These utensils are the vital parts and the future to fighting crime.
In law enforcement, honesty is the best and most critical policy because if the system can’t be honest, they can’t expect people who see things or are involved to be either. That is something that is expected in all law enforcement officials regardless of any circumstances. I have done my share of lying in life, but when I decided to become a dispatcher as a potential lifetime career, I promised myself that I would always speak the truth and I would be one hundred percent transparent with everyone no matter how hard the situation may be. When I was asked about drugs and alcohol I instantly said no regardless if they wanted to believe me based on my appearance. Generally, I am looked at differently because of tattoos, which really is unfortunate. What the interviewers didn’t know is I’m unable to even drink socially due to the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, yet I was still judged. Keeping my integrity is more important than getting the job I want due to my appearance.
In the case of the uniform police officer. The international association of police chiefs published the code of ethics in 1989. It states, “I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, political beliefs, aspirations, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions.” This code prohibits officers of the law from receiving favors or gifts anything else that would make them turn a blind eye or appear to be biased in his or her decision to do the job ethically. In this case, the officer should turn down the freebie and pay for the sandwich. He must also efficiently explain why it is wrong for him to receive any kind of freebie so that the deli owner knows and does not attempt this in the future with him or any other law enforcement official.
The American corrections association which was put together in 1974, is where prison guards get their ethics from. The ACA was founded with the intent to make facility operations such as inmate care, correctional programs, justice, and management better. Correctional officers are expected to uphold these codes of ethics and strive to advance effort with each section. In this case, the prison guard should not let his personal ties with the inmate stop him from doing his job. He should report him to his superior, so a punishment can be ordered, and proper rehabilitation can occur. Correctional officers need to have an impartial approach or the whole system would be corrupt.
Police officers must follow the fourth amendment. This is because it would protect the probationer from unreasonable searches and seizures. It does not apply to a probation officer because as per the terms and conditions of probation, a probationer must agree to a search at any time. For a police officer, it is different because he or she must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause in order to perform a search. The police officer must also present his suspicions and evidence to the judge and obtain a warrant to attempt a search (Vanek 2015).
In the case of Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the respondent, Iqbal, believed that his first and fifth amendment rights were violated because of his race and religion. A similar case took place not too long ago which was the case of Bell Atlantic v Twombly, which established the plausibility standard for all civil cases (Marshall 2010). The case made an enormous impact on civil cases all over America involving any discrimination and gave equal employment opportunities. Plausible, or reasonable, standards allow judges to use their own educational and career experiences to determine if cases have enough evidence to change them from conceivable to plausible (Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 2009).
Based on my research, I would say the job of a police officer is more in line with my ethical beliefs because I like to enforce laws or rules and I would like to be an example of what an honest and fair police officer is like. In case there are any officers who don’t share the same view and would accept gratuity in exchange for a “get out of jail free card” to a crime or a small law infraction, I would take the opportunity to bring them on the right path or report them to my supervisor. Honestly is important, especially in law enforcement, because as mentioned before, we can’t expect people to follow the laws if we as law enforcement officials are breaking them ourselves.
I have learned a lot and have been diversified by the different opinions of my peers but, I will be sticking with the decision of trying to become a police officer in the future because I want to be there on the front lines, protecting and serving the public.