The COVID pandemic has brought forth numerous changes. One group experiencing major alterations is law enforcement. Arizona-based criminal attorney Robert A. Dodell invites interested parties to continue reading to learn about how the Coronavirus has changed the ways police conduct important business.
Limiting ArrestsIn an effort to prevent the virus's spread, local, state, and national government and health organizations have instituted numerous safety guidelines. These safeguards, such as the practicing of social distancing, have rendered a formerly simple and straightforward activity, like executing arrests, far more challenging. Obviously, this action necessitates close contact between law enforcement official and offending individual. However, as more health mandates have entered into effect, policing agencies have been encouraged to detain fewer criminals or only arrest those committing more serious offenses.
Reduced IncarcerationsAnother common pandemic spread prevention technique instituted by governing authorities is the limitations on gatherings or introducing new subjects into a given location. This edict has exerted a significant impact upon the nation's jail and prison systems. Some institutions are capping the number of new inmates to be accepted. In many cases, those convicted of mild to moderate offenses or those handed down short sentences are not always being subjected to incarceration. Moreover, in certain states, government officials have even released prisoners. Occasionally, individuals let out of jail or prison possessed serious records. Moreover, there have been reports that a percentage of these convicted felons have committed other acts of malfeasance upon their release.
Decreased Community PresenceSocial distancing mandates have forced numerous law enforcement agencies to scale back their community presence. Community and police leaders throughout the nation have expressed reservations about this action. These individuals subscribe to the safety in numbers and community-based presence theories and opine that a decline in police presence could serve as an invitation for some individuals to engage in an increased amount of criminal activity.
Altered And Limited Training ProgramsAnother major COVID spread prevention effort has been the shut-down of practically every business or industry. Many states have begun the reopening process. However, the educational sector is reluctant to move with the expediency that other notable professions have. The continued lockdowns of schools and other educational institutions has a profound impact upon the law enforcement community. These closures have included many police training academies, in addition to colleges and universities offering criminal justice degrees. Some of these entities have offered courses online. However, certain police training methods are difficult to provide instruction for through such methods. Law enforcement officials fear an ongoing closure of educational establishments could ultimately result in fewer individuals pursuing careers as police officers.
Reliance On Personal Protective EquipmentHealth officials warn that being out amongst people significantly increases one's risk of contracting this potentially deadly pathogen. Therefore, as a means of protection, those who must venture out are firmly cautioned to don personal protective equipment, such as face masks and gloves. Though necessary, outfitting law enforcement officials with these items may still place a financial strain on many departments.
Reduced Civilian WorkforceThose not familiar with the inner workings of law enforcement agencies might not realize that said establishments often employ a discernible percentage of civilians to carry out needed tasks. Social distancing and shelter at home policies have limited the number of such individuals permitted to perform their jobs at agency headquarters. Ergo, they must execute these duties online if applicable, or uniform staff is forced to handle these responsibilities. When uniform staff must expend time completing non law enforcement-related issues, said personnel are spending less time fighting crime.
A Greater Emphasis on Community InvolvementOne possible positive to emerge from these circumstances is a greater degree of cooperation between police agencies and the communities within which said entities serve. A diminished community presence of law enforcement officials will force agency authorities to rely on concerned community members to help identify and snuff out criminal activity. The relationships between police and certain communities has not always been stellar. However, if the two groups are forced to work together, observers are hopeful such newly forged partnerships will eventually result in safer and better communities for all concerned parties.
Contacting Mr. DodellIndividuals charged with any type of offense are encouraged to contact criminal lawyer Robert A. Dodell. Mr. Dodell is a former prosecutor possessing more than 30 years of experience dealing with a host of criminal cases. More information about his firm can be found by visiting https://www.azcrimlaw.com/.
How COVID-19 Has Changed Law Enforcement? is republished from AZ Crim Law – Robert Dodell Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law
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