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The Report Essay


The interviewed person was the police officer John David, Chicago Police Department. He was a police officer, who had been working in the police for twelve years. Hence, he was an experienced police officer who knew perfectly how the system actually functioned. To put it more precisely, his experienced was very important since he knew how police officers and the police at large worked more than a decade ago and how it worked at the moment of the interview. In such a way, he could compare the work of police then and now providing me, as an interviewer, with valuable information about consistent changes that took place in the police, though the major goal of the current interview was to get information and personal opinion of the police officer concerning possible improvements of the work of the police. In this respect, the problem of the high crime rate and low or insufficient efficiency of the work of the police made the introduction of changes in the functioning of the police department particularly important. In such a context, the opinion of an experienced police officer was particularly important because he could make objective assessment of the current policies and their drawback as well as suggest solutions which could really work and bring positive results contributing to the decreasing number of crimes and offenses in Chicago.
The interview took place in the police department. In fact, the place of the interview was chosen intentionally since it was the work place of the police officer where he could feel comfortable, being in the familiar environment. At the same time, the choice of the police department was determined by my attempt to better understand the conditions of the routine work of police officers in the department. However, it seems as if the place of the interview increased the formality of the interview. What is meant here is the fact that the police officer felt being at work and, what is more, he felt being a representative of the Chicago police department that probably affected his answers, which were probably more formal rather than personal. Nevertheless, I believe his answers were quite sincere because, being an experienced officer, John David, was not really embarrassed or puzzled by my questions and interview at large. In such a context, the familiar environment contributed to the objectivity of his answers. In addition, he could feel the support of his colleagues.
Moreover, the room, where the interview took place, was very convenient for calm and serious interview since no one interfered in the process of interviewing and the police officer interviewed could relax due to the calm atmosphere of the room. We sat at comfortable chairs, the dim light, a cup of coffee made the police officer felt comfortable and relax making the atmosphere less formal that made his answer more balanced, personal and less formal, even though the interview took place in the police department. In such a way, I have managed to achieve the balance between formal and informal environment that, Ii believe, contributed to the higher objectivity and sincerity of John’s answers.
During the interview, the police officer was calm and even a bit self-assured, though not too much. I suppose that it was just a professional characteristic which John David developed in the course of his work in the Chicago police department. He answered questions directly and he attempted to use less formal language than he usually does, probably because we were familiar with each other since we got acquainted a couple of months ago, when I conducted a research of the criminal situation in the area. A friend of mine recommended me John David as a good and reliable police officer. Thus, I decided to interview him concerning the possible improvements and in the course of the conversation we focused on the problem of the effectiveness of the work of the Chicago police department and, namely on the low effectiveness of the interaction of the police and local community, which John David believed to be an important condition of the effective work of the police.
In the course of interview, John David explained the significance of the interaction of the police and community and laid emphasis on the necessity of such interaction for the higher effectiveness of the work of the police. In fact, in the interview he states that the effectiveness of the work of the police is, to a significant extent, defined by its interoperability with the local community. In actuality, the performance of law enforcement agencies at large and the police in particular is viewed by the public as ineffective and insufficient to maintain the public order and decrease the high crime rates. “We cannot work when people are against us”, John David says. “When I encounter a hostile attitude I grew quite disappointed because I know for sure that without the cooperation with the community I will be unable to investigate crime or prevent crimes effectively. For instance, sometimes you know that people in the community know about a person who has committed a crime, but they will never tell you because they do not trust the police and, therefore, they do not trust you.”
Naturally, the growing crime rates evoke negative emotions of the public and the image of the police deteriorates dramatically, though, objectively speaking, the police may work effectively and prevent the growth of crime rates. However, the major problem is the fact that the public gets only superficial information about the work of the police since what people do know is the level of crime rates but they have practically no ideas about how the police actually works, what problems police officers face daily in their work. What is more, often police officers face the problem of the lack of cooperation from the part of the public because people do not really believe in the effectiveness of the work of the police.
In such a situation, it is obvious that the lack of interoperability and effective communication of the police with the public leads to the widening gap between the police and the public that naturally decreases the effectiveness of the work of the police and increases the disbelief of the public in the ability of the police to decrease consistently the level of crime rates and prevent crimes in the community. For instance, John David says: “I feel as if there is a wall between me and people, which I attempt to break but I can’t do it on my own. I need some feedback from the community. Otherwise, all my efforts will be useless.” In this respect, it is important to underline the great prospects of the police communication interoperability in the current situation. In fact, the police communication interoperability has considerable benefits that can improve the work of the police, its effectiveness, and the cooperation of the police with the public. To put it more precisely, John David states: “Today, people can inform the police about the crime without making much efforts. You know, almost everyone has a mobile phone and can easily call the police if he witnesses a crime or even if he just suspects that something is going wrong. The problem is that people are indifferent to what is going on around them and I believe that we, the police, should change the public attitude to crime and to the police. We need to inform them more about the importance of calling the police to prevent crimes.”
Furthermore, he explains that, in actuality, many people view the police as a law enforcement agency that maintains the public order but these people do not think that the maintenance of the existing order and the prevention of crimes is the common duty of the police and the public. In fact, the potential of the public in the prevention of crimes is huge but people are often unconscious of their ability to contribute to the prevention of crimes in the area they live in. Instead, they heavily rely on the police making no efforts to assist to the police or even criticizing police officers for the ineffective work.
In such a context, the development of the police communication interoperability can solve numerous problems and close the gap between the police and the public. To put it more precisely, the police should develop actively the interaction with the public and the communication of police officers with the public is the first step on the way to the effective interoperability. What is meant here is the fact that the police should actively develop its public relations programs in order to inform the public about the existing risks and threats concerning the crime. In such a way, the police can inform the public concerning the danger of being victimized as well as give certain recommendations concerning the basic norms of behavior which can protect people from becoming of offenders or event preventing a crime. In this respect, it is very important that the police officers who struggle daily with criminals and offenders cooperated closely with psychologists. This cooperation would contribute to the development of more effective programs of interaction between the police and the public as well as the information and recommendations provided by the police will be more effective if psychologists closely cooperate with police officers who come across offenders regularly. The police officers can provide information on the basic crimes and risks, while psychologists can define major psychological characteristics of criminals, which help work out effective strategies of the prevention of crimes, when the information is delivered to the public.
For instance, the police officers share their experience and observations of the behavior of criminals, such as robbers, with psychologists. The latter make a psychological analysis of the behavior of a typical offender, a robber, for instance, and define typical psychological characteristics of the offender. On the basis of this information, it is possible to work out measures which can prevent the crime, since people will know how to behave in order to avoid robbery. In fact, this strategy may be applied in relation to other crimes and offenders. In this respect, John David notes: “I have been working in the police for twelve years and I know how criminals think and why they do this or that, but younger officers have practically no idea about the psychology of criminals and this is why they can make errors. So, I think the assistance of psychologists would be very helpful for them. Anyway, the less errors police officers do the more confident in the police people are.” In such a way, on the basis of practical and psychological information about criminals and reasons for which they commit crimes specialist can work out effective ways of the prevention of these crimes giving the public recommendations on the behavior and developing action plans in case of the commitment of a crime. Thus, the public, being informed and warned, can assist the police or even prevent crimes even without the interference of police since sometimes victims provoke criminals to the commitment of crimes.
At the same time, it is very important to improve interoperability within the police in order to increase the effectiveness of its work and, what is more, it is also possible to facilitate in the communication between the public and the police. In this respect, the introduction of the new information technologies and information systems as well as the latest means of communication may be particularly effective. Actually, the contemporary IT and IS open huge opportunities for the effective communication between police departments and units. The modern communication systems allow police officers to communicate regardless of the physical distance. Consequently, the police can react more effectively and faster on any offense or crimes due to the use of new IT, IS and communications, which can help not only get information about the crime but also locate the scene of the crime and develop an effective plan of detaining the offender or offenders. In addition, new systems of surveillance can be effective tools of prevention of crimes, but such systems need the agreement from the part of the public. John David says: “You can’t even imagine how all these new systems helped us and how much crimes we have prevented due to them.”
Hence, it is necessary to communicate with the local community and convince people to introduce new systems of surveillance. In this respect, the assistance of PR professionals and psychologists may be needed. Also, it is possible to organize regular meetings of police officer who patrol the area regularly with the local community. In the process of communication of the police officers and local people they can better understand each other’s problems and, what is more they can find more effective way of the work of the police and its cooperation with the local community. For instance, the criticism of the police from the part of the local community can reveal drawbacks in the work of police officers. In such a way, John David concluded that through the police communicative interoperability it is possible to make the police consistently more effective than it has ever been before.
The interview ended and I felt that I have changed my view on the work of the police since that moment on I could view the work of police officers from a different angle since I knew how they work from within.

 
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