The Argument For A National Standardization In Policing Policy

March 09, 2018

The Argument For A National Standardization In Policing Policy

by Ian D Scofield

Throughout the internet recently, I read several articles about the standardization of policing policy in the United States. Some of them were old, some of them were new. Most of them had some good arguments. There are some arguments against it, but today we are going to focus on the pros.

Great Variance In Policies

Around the country there is a major difference in policies related to policing. An example that I saw brought up in multiple articles is choke holds, some departments allow them while others don’t. But it doesn’t have to be an issue that “huge”. Simple things such as the use of unmarked cars varies from state to state.

The options of less lethal and non-lethal tactics also vary greatly from state to state. Some departments still don’t issue Tasers to any officers. And of the departments that do, a lot still have very restrictive policies regarding the use of a Taser. Other departments highly encourage the deployment of a Taser over a lethal option.

National Standards Exist For Others

A good example of a first responder standardization is for the Emergency Medical Services industry. There are already a selection of standards for medics and EMTs that have to be met by anyone who trains as one. States may disallow and allow certain specifics but most EMT programs teach people the same thing.

A National Standard Doesn’t Require A National Academy

Just because you are standardizing what an officer might learn and might do, doesn’t mean that you need to have a national academy. States can maintain their current setup for academies, what would change is what they teach. Department policies might change to meet national standardization too. But all of this is achievable.

Accreditation Options Vary Greatly

There are a wide variety of accreditation systems in the United States. Some states create their own while some agencies use international accreditation committees. Other agencies are accredited through multiple agencies. This leads to a wide difference in the requirements for an agency to become accredited. If there were national standards, the accreditation requirements would be fine-tuned so that most departments receive the same training and education.

Policy, Theories, Practice, And Everything Else Is Constantly Changing

The world of policing and the criminal world are constantly changing. Many departments and even states have trouble keeping up with all of the change. A national process will help you to keep up with that change. It will also help remote departments to learn. International standardization should theoretically increase the communication between departments and policy board.

Because of national standards, continuing education and training would likely rise for departments of all sizes. A national standardization agency would increase the evolution of training too.

Exceptions And Variances Can Be Taken Into Account

No department serves the exact same population, some departments serve completely different populations. One fear for some departments is that the special needs of their community would not be met for standardizations. Exceptions and variances could be taken into account when creating a national standardization.

A national plan for standardization wouldn’t appear overnight. It would take time to develop. In that development departments from around the country and trainers from around the country would need to be consulted. There would need to be exceptions made for certain types of policing and there would need to be a way for the standardization to be updated as needed.

None of this is saying anything negative about specific police departments, it’s a look at an ever-evolving system. As criminals, technology, and criminal just continue to change, so will policing policy. It is also meant as food for thought to consider how you can work to develop your own department.

What do you think about the idea of a national standard for law enforcement agencies? There is a lot of potential for change with a national standardization. Next week though, we will examine some of the points that are against a national standardization. Remember, stay safe out there.



About The Author:

Ian is a staff writer at APTI and hospital security officer at a major medical center who has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Administration of Justice.  He has held multiple positions in the security industry from patrol supervisor to auxiliary public safety officer.  At APTI he brings his writing skills to help further the careers of others and provide quality content.  Feel free to visit his freelancing site or his creative writing site.


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