Any legislative change which would render … local and state law enforcement subservient to federal jurisdiction, would, in my opinion, be disastrous.– J. Edgar Hoover 1954
[A]gencies at different levels of government will, as a generality, have different organizational cultures that are not ideally suited to the development of effective countermeasures against the crime and related problems each agency targets.– William Geller and Norval Morris 1992
Lack of coordination and cooperation between law enforcement officials at all levels of government has received prominent attention since the terrorist attacks on United States soil on September 11, 2001. The contentious relationship between the FBI and local police is depicted regularly in television and film; it is one of the stock Hollywood clichés in police and crime dramas. Local police have complained for many years about being patronized, alienated, upstaged, or simply ignored by FBI agents (Geller and Morris 1992). Whereas the relationship between the FBI and state and local police is the most obvious and visible issue in federal-local coordination for homeland security, the more general concern is how the federal government's entire alphabet soup of agencies can work cooperatively with local governments to secure the homeland. Concerns about terrorism have brought these issues to the forefront, with news reports, professional associations, think tanks, and government commissions all coming to similar conclusions: The linkages between federal and local agencies need significant improvement if we are to prevent terrorist incidents on American soil and enhance homeland security.
The police do not prevent crime. This is one of the best kept secrets of modern life. Experts know it, the police know it, but the public does not know it. Yet the police pretend that they are society's best defense against crime and continually argue that if they are given more resources, especially personnel, they will be able to protect communities against crime. This is a myth.David Bayley, Police for the Future
The connection of policing to risk factors is the most powerful conclusion reached from three decades of research. Hiring more police to provide rapid 911 response, unfocused random patrol, and reactive arrests does not prevent serious crime. Community policing without a clear focus on crime risk factors generally shows no effect on crime. But direct patrols, proactive arrests, and problem-solving at high-crime “hot spots” has shown substantial evidence of crime prevention. Police can prevent robbery, disorder, gun violence, drunk driving and domestic violence, but only by using certain methods under certain conditions.Lawrence Sherman, “Policing for Crime Prevention”
these statements summarize two popular perspectives held by social scientists on the effect of police on crime. Some believe that the police do not and probably cannot have a significant effect on crime rates (Gottfredson and Hirschi 1990; Klockars 1983; Moran 1995). This viewpoint was forged from a sociological tradition in which theories provide no role for police in their explanations of crime.
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