We’re still getting a lot of officers that are shot and killed because the vests that we wear that were developed don’t cover enough of our vital organs. The trade off is that obviously, you have to—it’s so cumbersome, I guess if they can continue to try to develop anti-ballistic material that would be much more comfortable to wear. The ultimate to me would be making an entire shirt out of it, where you didn’t have side panels, where the front and back panels meet, where you have gaps-- if you got shot in the side, it penetrates high up in the neck area where a vest usually doesn’t go. So if they could develop a material, that would be the ultimate goal.
Yaniero: One of the most controversial topics in law enforcement today is the use of force. The balance of police authority and the credibility of police within a community are achieved when the police and community are woven together into the same thread. Nothing is as damaging to the relationship between a law enforcement agency and the community as an incident in which the use of force has not been clearly justified. The development of less than lethal weapons, such as the taser, has resulted in a reduction of injuries to police officers and suspects, while reducing the overall need to use force. However, this technology has risks. I believe that this type of technology, in conjunction with focused training, should reduce the risks of improper use of force, injuries to police officers and suspects and the resulting damage to the police/community relations that result from a controversial incident.
How does your job continue to change, and how does it stay the same?
Kiederlen: It stays the same in the fact that you’re still always dealing with people – their problems, their issues, their concerns. Where it has changed is in the complexity of those concerns. Electronics make things, everything from e-mail to Facebook, texting and everything else just makes the job a lot more complicated. Evidence collections becomes something completely different than it used to be; you have to be looking at everything people could possibly be using and it makes it more complex.
Twombly: There’s going to have to be much more justification done to the cities and counties who hold the purse strings, you’re really going to have to show that you’ve done everything you can internally as part of reorganization and finding other cost-saving measures or time-saving measures you’ve tried everything you can before you’re just going to be able to hire more staff. with the budget cuts, social service agencies are also under the same hit, so the services that are provided to the public, those out in the public that have needs are going to be curtailed and as a result they’re going to be calling us because we’re sort of the stop of last resort for people in crisis.
I think law enforcement still has to continue and build those relationships with other groups because we can’t solve these issues on our own. Yes, we can take action once a crime has been committed, but the whole purpose of government and law enforcement being part of it, it would be nice to be able to stop the domestic violence incidents before they escalate into someone being hurt and us being called and having to arrest someone, as an example.
Yaniero: Change can be difficult, especially in a police culture that thrives on the “this is the way we have always done it” culture. I have also experienced changes in the way government and the community view police agencies. There is a greater call from the constituents we serve for more transparency in police department operations. Legislative bodies are frequently asking agencies to produce results for the taxpayer’s dollars. Police departments cannot operate in a silo, which is a change from the traditional culture of isolation from citizen involvement. In a “Do More with Less” environment, a police administration has to “sell” the department’s programs and services in a competitive market against other governmental services with limited resources. For example, in order to effectively use technology, a police officer must be willing to adapt as these systems change and improve. Most modern police departments are dependent upon the use of technology as a tool in the delivery of law enforcement services. Technology is changing exponentially and requires adaptability in order to utilize the most efficient and effective means to deliver law enforcement services.