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Law Enforcement Collaboration and Drug Initiative

Updated on June 12, 2014

Law Enforcement Collaboration

To collaborate is “to work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort” (American Heritage® Dictionary, 2013). Collaboration and cooperation are a vital part of the American justice system. For the justice system to work effectively law enforcement, the court system, and corrections institutions have to operate collectively for justice to be achieved.

It is not easy for the different parts of the justice system to work together because the system is designed to be non–collaborative (Carter, 2013). Non-collaboration is encouraged by forcing criminal justice agencies to compete for the same funding; these agencies also have to deal with overlapping mandates (Carter, 2013). Different agencies have different and sometimes overlapping mandates that confuse other agencies on who to contact with different information (Carter, 2013).

Collaboration between the court systems and corrections institutions is hardened by a sense of resentment from the correctional officers towards the courts. The correctional officers suffer from pain of imprisonment much the same way inmates do and those feelings, in some cases, may transfer into anger at the courts for sentencing inmates to prison thus making the officer’s job more difficult than it already was (Travis, 2012, p. 330). The collaboration between the court systems and corrections institutions is further limited by the few opportunities they have to work together face to face. Their main source of collaboration comes from both working to keep criminals off the street until they are rehabilitated and ready to join society.

The courts and law enforcements chief collaboration challenge stems from how they each interpret the law in different situations. The officers may act one way believing they are obtaining evidence lawfully only for the court to tell them that they broke the law or misinterpreted it. This often causes hard feelings to develop between these two parts of the justice system, each feeling the other is making it harder than needed or sabotaging their efforts to keep the public safe.

Law enforcement and corrections institutions do not normally directly collaborate. Law enforcement and correctional institutions traditionally work more with the courts than they do with each other. These two parts of the justice system both work collectively to keep the public safe; they collaborate on the release of prisoners (Travis, Davis, & Lawrence, 2012). The main challenge that the two criminal justice groups face towards collaborating is the fact that they do not collaborate regularly so they do not have well established lines of communications nor a strong working relationship.

All of these pieces of the criminal justice system have one common goal - to keep the public safe. Law enforcement, the court system, and corrections institutions face numerous collaboration challenges that limit their ability to work collectively, yet they all work together nevertheless to insure the public’s continued safety.

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References:

Carter, M. (n.d.). The Importance of Collaboration in Criminal and Juvenile Justice.

Collaborative Justice . Retrieved November 29, 2013, from

http://www.collaborativejustice.org/home.htm

Collaboration. (n.d.) The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth

Edition. (2003). Retrieved December 1, 2013 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/collaboration

Travis, J., Davis, R., & Lawrence, S. (n.d.). Exploring the Role of the Police in Prisoner Reentry.

New Perspectives in Policing. Retrieved November 30, 2013, from

https://ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/238337.pdf

Travis III, L. (2012). Introduction to Criminal Justice. (7th Ed.). Boston: Anderson Publishing

Drug Initiative

About 40,000 people die from drugs each year; about “20,000 due to illicit (illegal) drugs and 20,000 due to prescription drug abuse” (National Institution of Drug Abuse, 2013). To reduce the number of drug related deaths every year communities will need to fight both the use of drugs and the sale of drugs. Communities need to provide information teenagers and adults about the dangers of drugs as well as make it harder for people to purchase and sell drugs.

The first step would be to cut down on the people who are using drugs. An effective way to reduce the use drugs within a community would be to re-initiate the Comprehensive Communities Project; this program “is based on the principles that communities must take a leadership role in combating crime and violence, and that state and local jurisdiction must establish coordinated, multidisciplinary approach for dealing effectively with the issues of crime and violence” (Travis, 2012, p. 7). Using this approach the community would work with the police to start school-based drug prevention programs such as DARE. Drug Prevention programs in school can reduce cocaine consumption anywhere between 2% and 11% for a small fraction of the price that the United States spends on drug control according to the Rand Corporation.

The next step would be to cut down on the people who are selling drugs. This part would involve the police department and the courts more than the community, but the community would still have a role to play. First the police would need to establish a way for members of the community to let the police department know about drug use; one way to do this would be to establish a website or a Facebook page that would allow people to give information to the police either anonymously or not similar to Pierce County Sheriff's Department Drug Tips website. Next the police department would have to investigate all of the tips to determine if they are founded or unfounded. Assuming the tip was real and true the police department would then have to gather evidence and arrest everyone involved in the drug sale. Once the criminals are arrested the courts would need to try them. For this drug initiative to work the courts will need to evaluate each person on whether they needed to be forced into rehab to be helped or jailed to be punished. The courts will need to be harsh on the drug traffickers especially to send a message to the community that the community will not allow drugs in their neighborhoods; at the same time it is important to also show that the community and the justice system are willing to help those who suffer from addiction get better. This approach will cut down on the amount of money the United State spends on Drug Prevention in the long term as people learn more about the dangers of drugs and as the drug traffickers are jailed. As the amount of drug use and sales slows the amount of money needed will also lessen.

My approach will cut down on the amount of drug use and drug sales in communities. This plan will also reduce the number of deaths each year due to drug use as more and more people stop using and selling drugs. My approach involves the cooperation of the community, the police, and the courts to educate the community of the danger and remove the temptation.

References

National Institution of Drug Abuse. (2013). General Questions About Drug Abuse. In National

Drug Facts Week. Retrieved from

http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/chat/chatfaqs_topics/general_questions.php.

Pierce County Sheriff's Department. (2013). Report Illegal Drug Activity in Pierce County. In

Pierce County Sheriff's Department Drug Tips. Retrieved from

https://yakima.co.pierce.wa.us/PCSDTips/index.cfm?TipType=Drug.

Rand Corporation. (September 16, 2010). The Benefits and Costs of Drug Use Prevention. In

Objective Analysis Effective Solutions. Retrieved from

http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB6007/index1.html.

Travis III, L. (2012). Introduction to Criminal Justice. (7th Ed.). Boston: Anderson Publishing

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