Evaluating the Procedural-Justice Policing Program in Jupiter Police Department
North Carolina Central University
Dr. Daniel K. Pryce
April 23, 2018
Social Problem or Need
Policing in America has shown in history to society that police departments relies heavily on the use of force to establish department goals, improve crime prevention and maintain the order of law enforcement in communities. In the late 1970’s police departments created a culture of enforcing the law by using violence on citizens typically black citizens. In the 1970’s and 1980’s citizens could not record their encounters with police officers because there was no cell phones or video cameras. Therefore, Americans had no idea what was happening across America during officer’s encounters with citizens in certain cities (Brucato, 2015).
In Los Angeles 1991, the Rodney King beating was recorded and aired on television for all Americans to see. The Rodney King footage had exposed police brutality that was taking place in certain cities in America that involved black citizens during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The police commissioner of LAPD stated the officer actions in the video was just a based routine policing. The footage caused many issues about police officer’s legitimacy and accountability due to the misconduct and the use of deadly force. In recent years the use of force had become a significantly exciting topic for both citizens and scholars after the 2014 deaths of Eric Garner, and Michael Brown killed by police officers use of force (Brucato, 2015).
This issue has caused mainstream media and the public to become aware that based on the law there is hardly any guidance when justifying the use of force by law enforcement officers. There is a higher rate killing of suspects by law enforcement officers than law enforcement officers killed by suspects. This issue has caused concerns about law enforcement officers who result in the use of deadly force before there is any threat to the officer’s safety. Although Tennessee v. Garner law passed, the Supreme Courts still failed to establish restrictions on when it’s appropriate to use deadly force by law enforcement officers (Gross 2016).
Unfortunately, due to the lack of national data on police use of force and questions concerning the officer’s misconduct, the President’s Task Force on 21st-century Policing was established by President Obama to examining issues on how to strengthen the public trust and police legitimacy for all police departments. One recommendation of the President’s Task Force was that police department use of force policies should require the collection and reporting of data on all officer-involved shootings and use of force incidents to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The city of Jupiter and Jupiter police department in recent years has become a significant topic when discussing the use of deadly force on citizens. Recently the city of Jupiter and police department has been dealing with an issue regarding the community trust and legitimacy of police officers due to recent use of deadly force on unarmed citizens. In this paper, I will be evaluating Jupiter police department officer’s conduct/behaviors during all encounters with citizens. Then I will evaluate and identify solutions to improve the trust and legitimacy between officers and citizens of the city of Jupiter (PTF 2015).
Jupiter police department adopting a body-worn cameras programs will improve policing practices and transparency with citizens in the city of Jupiter. Body-worn cameras (BWC) program will be able to evaluate police officer’s performance and investigate complaints of officers by citizens. The body-worn cameras program will improve collecting evidence footage, strengthen officer performance and accountability, and enhance transparency between the department and community. The program will increase the transparency with the community and will improve encounters between police officers and citizens by always documenting encounters (Garner et al. 2018).
Body-worn cameras can determine officers and citizens behaviors while being monitored during encounters and provide a point of view footage from the officer perspective. Jupiter police department will document every encounter will be able to review and resolve complaints regarding officer-involved incidents. Jupiter police department can build community trust by establishing a community engagement program to show communities the department is working on fixings the use of force issue and creating a better relationship between the officers and citizens in the city of Jupiter. Jupiter police department will provide three-day training transparency workshops for community members to enhance their knowledge of the department services and operations. Therefore, community members would be able to provide feedback on the police department policies and concerns about the entire department (Garner et al. 2018).
While evaluating Jupiter police department body-worn camera and community engagement program, the stakeholders will be government agencies, criminal justice scholar’s families, and community-based organizations. Government agencies will provide funding for both body-worn cameras and community engagement programs within Jupiter police department. The government agencies mission is to invest in both programs to improve community relations with Jupiter police department by providing transparency and legitimacy to all citizens in Jupiter. Criminal justice scholars’ stakeholders will continue to provide studies and research on improving the community relations, officers misconduct and the use of force issues within Jupiter police department. By criminal justice scholars collecting data on how useful body-worn cameras on officers during citizens encounters will be able to determine if the program works and is successful in reducing the use of force complaints from citizens.
The families and community-based organizations stakeholders will be able to provide support and funding for community engagement programs in Jupiter police department. By having families and community-based organizations participating, Jupiter police department will be able to listen to the community and create programs that will strictly be aimed to fix department and community issues that the citizens feel more critical regarding their safety. It is very important to have families and community-based organizations only because it will be easier for Jupiter police department to give out information about trying to bring back the trust of the community and show transparency going forward in the future.
According to Prenzler, Porter, and Alpert (1970), Jupiter police department will deploy body-worn cameras to all 1,972 sworn officers in all department divisions. The mission is to improve community relations with Jupiter police department and create better transparency with the community on the use of force issues and complaints from citizens of Jupiter. By implementing the body-worn camera program, Jupiter police department will create a new general order or policy for all personnel. For all sworn officers who are involved in violent confrontations with citizens are required to appear in the peer review panel by Jupiter police department high-rank officials. The body-worn camera program will offer body-worn camera training on necessary information about how to properly operate the device and handle the storage data to all sworn officers (Prenzler et al. 1970).
There will be an additional extra one-month training program to teach sworn officers on defusing deadly encounters that may result in the use of force and ways to reduce the use of deadly force incidents from occurring. By officers receiving the proper training and skills set to defuse violent situations and can develop accountability while working in the line of duty many officers would be able to reduce negative behavior and have positive outcomes of situations so that officers and civilians can remain unharmed and safe. Based on training received by all Jupiter swore police officers they will be all held accountable for their actions during all encounters with citizens and if found guilty disciplinary actions from the Jupiter police department will occur. The community engagement program in Jupiter police department will aim to engage the community trust by having events like community corners, coffee with cops, adopt-a-cop and project unplugged in specific areas in Jupiter to show non-enforcement activities between officers and citizens of Jupiter (Prenzler et al. 1970).
According to Sousa, Coldren, Rodriguez & Braga (2016), the Jupiter police department body-worn camera program and community engagement program aim to reduce violence in police work and help improve the relationship with the community. The total officers in Jupiter police department are 2,492 sworn and civilian officers. The body-worn camera program for Jupiter police department deployed body-worn camera to all 1,972 sworn officers. All sworn officers received proper training on operating body-worn cameras and skills on how to defuse any violent situations. The body-worn camera program will enhance positive behaviors for patrol officers in Jupiter police department to potentially defuse an extreme situation and avoid using use of force on citizens. The program will be able to record footage during routine traffic stops, high-risk vehicle stops, crimes in progress and disputes when officers tend to become more violent in those situations against citizens. Therefore, Jupiter police department will be able to create a peer review panel that will address officers who are involved in violent confrontations with citizens due to the use of force. Jupiter police department will develop early intervention systems to address officers who are engaged in a violent confrontation with the citizens (Sousa et al., 2016).
The community engagement program will build a positive relationship with the community by gaining the public’s trust and participation from the community is critical to the police department in reducing crime in the city of Jupiter. Jupiter police department will offer several community events in the city to increase the community engagements. Community corners program will be an informal gathering at community parks or recreational center between community members and officers to talk about issues within the community while enjoying food, games, and fellowship. The coffee with cops will be a program that will build community trust by having conversations with police officers in restaurants in the community (Sousa et al., 2016).
This program will allow community members to sit down and discuss issues within the community with police officers. Adopt-a-cop program will not only build trust, but also community members will be able to see the legitimacy of officers in Jupiter police department. This program will allow officers to be assigned to a family, group or individual and provide encouragement, support and both officer and citizens will participation in positive activities. The unplugged project program allows officers to develop a relationship with youths in the community by visiting churches and schools. Then for adult’s Jupiter police department will set up informal meeting in local recreational centers to address the community issues and concerns (Sousa et al., 2016).
When discussing the outcomes of Jupiter police department, body-worn camera program was found to reduce police officer complaints in the city of Jupiter. Also, the program shows transparency and accountability for citizens of Jupiter. Compared to 65 percent total police officer complaints last year the numbers after Jupiter police department implement the body-worn camera program has reduced the overall complaints by 40 percent. The use of force complaints of officers last year in the city of Jupiter was 55 percent, and now after implementing the body-worn camera program, the percentage was reduced by 30 percent. The body-worn camera program helps Jupiter police department in reducing arrest-related instances of physical conflict and incidents that may involve charges against citizens for resisting arrest.
The program help reduces citizens’ complaints and citizens or officer’s injuries during encounters. Jupiter police department assault and excessive force allegations have decreased by 48 percent compared to last year’s 73 percent citizens complaint of excessive force. The number of police-involved shooting in the city of Jupiter has decreased by 55 percent compared to last year numbers. Overall by Jupiter police department implementing the body-worn camera program the entire department numbers of police-involved shootings, excessive force allegations, and citizens and officers’ injuries have reduced tremendously compared to last year numbers.
Jupiter community engagement programs were found to work and be effective in establishing the trust between Jupiter police department and citizen of Jupiter. The entire Jupiter police department trained sworn and civilian officers on all programs for community engagement and provided specific officer roles for each community engagement program. Each program helped Jupiter police department by increasing and focusing on the public perceptions of safety and issues in the community that needs to be resolved. Community engagement programs helped improve officers’ attitudes and job satisfaction while on duty. The programs supported Jupiter police department to identify what type of problems or tensions is occurring in the community by citizens expressing their concerns.
The community engagement programs in Jupiter police department allows officers to share some degree of power with citizens based on providing information about crime in the community a police activity in certain neighborhoods in Jupiter. Therefore will result in identifying high crime areas and drug-related neighborhoods to become more substantial with police presence on reducing criminal activities in those neighborhoods. Overall Jupiter community engagement programs did increase the community trust by delivering services for the community needs and take into consideration citizens feedback on the community and police department on what needs improving to have a better city and community. Overall community engagement programs in Jupiter police department has now shown the community that the department does hold the officer accountable for their action during encounters with citizens. The department establishes police legitimacy by wanting to include the community members on discussing the issue and reducing crime in Jupiter to create a confident and safe community to live in for citizens.
When discussing the cost-benefit analysis of the body-worn camera program and community engagement programs, it will cost Jupiter police department 5 Million dollars. The body-worn camera program and community engagement programs will receive 2.5 million dollars to implement within Jupiter police department annually. The body-worn camera devices will cost estimate 750 thousand dollars for all 1,972 sworn officers. Next cost is training all 1,972 sworn officers on how to operate the body-worn cameras properly according to Jupiter police department new policy. The cost for training will be six thousand dollars annually. Storage data will also be included in the cost section because the department must buy memory storage to save all body-worn camera footage. To hold all storage data for all 1,972 sworn officers body-worn cameras, it will cost one million dollars. All four community engagement programs will cost two thousand dollars annually. Jupiter police department pays the locations to host the department community engagement events annually. The cost is about two thousand dollars (Rossi et al. 2004).
The first benefit will be the fewer use of force incident reports from citizens. The second benefit will be reducing citizens and officers’ injuries. The third benefit is reducing officers’ fatal shootings. The fourth benefit will be reducing the number of citizens shot by the police. When totaling all the benefits, the sum of benefits will exceed the cost by at least 10 percent of Jupiter police department (Rossi et al. 2004).
Jupiter police department body-worn camera program will have some challenges while the department continues to implement this device. One challenge of threat is the privacy of officers and citizens. Officers with body-worn cameras may feel their privacy could be in jeopardy by wearing the cameras during every encounter with citizens. For citizens, their privacy comes into play when being recorded by the officers during the encounter and the officers do not inform the citizen that he or she is being recorded. This issues then leads to the consent to record during every encounter with a citizen. Some police departments inform citizens that their being recorded during the encounter which is called two-party consent law.
Therefore, some police departments do not inform the citizen that their being recorded, and this is called one-party consent law. Another privacy issue with body-worn cameras is recording inside private homes. Majority police department believes that the officers do have the right to record inside someone home only if the officers has legal right to be there. The next challenge body-worn camera program could face officers becoming less proactive in encounters with citizens due to having the body-worn camera. By officers knowing they are being recorded would make them not want to engage in pursuing citizens that may look like their committing a crime.
Challenge the community engagement program may not reaching the estimated amount of community members to provide support for the programs. The community engagement program may not be available to hold an event on certain days throughout the week. The community engagement program may have issues discussing what the community wants to happen regarding crime than what the police department wants to focus on solving. Debates may occur when talking about how the community members and, Jupiter police department can work together on fighting crime and reducing criminal activities within the community.
Recommendations to Improve the Program
The body-worn camera program and community engagement programs do improve excessive force allegations and complaints on police officers in Jupiter police department. There are much more research and data collection that needs to be done when examining the use of force amongst police officers. Police departments need to develop a protocol on when to activate the body-worn camera and when to turn it off during a particular circumstance. Within the police department which personnel will download the body-worn camera data and where will it be stored is very important to police departments. Jupiter police department will not allow privately-owned body-worn camera while on duty for any officers. Determining the location that body-worn cameras should be worn for officers. All Juniper police officer will not be allowed to mute the audio and stop footage on the body-worn cameras.
The data storage system which has a built-in audit trail for all body-worn camera footage received. For Jupiter police department all supervisors will be required to obtain the officer’s body-worn camera after being involved in any officer’s incidents involving citizens. By having will make sure that all evidence from the footage record on the officer body-worn camera will be adequately and carefully handle before the department reviews the footage.
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Garner, J. H., Hickman, M. J., Malega, R. W., ; Maxwell, C. D. (2018). Progress toward national estimates of police use of force. PLoS One, 13(2)
Gross, J.P. (2016). Judge, Jury, and Executioner: The Excessive Use of Deadly Force by Police Officers. Texas Journal on Civil Liberties ; Civil Rights, 21(2), 155-181.
Prenzler, Tim ; Porter, Louise ; Alpert, Geoffrey. (2013). Reducing police use of force: Case studies and prospects. Aggression and Violent Behavior. 18. 343–356.
President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. (2015). Final report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services.
Rossi, P. H., Lipsey, M., ; Freeman, H. E. (2004). Evaluation: A Systematic Approach (7 the ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Sousa, W. H., Coldren, J. R., Rodriguez, D., ; Braga, A. A. (2016). Research on body-worn cameras: meeting the challenges of police operations, program implementation, and randomized controlled trial designs. Police Quarterly, 19(3), 363-384.