Special Problems and Challenges and the Future of Policing in America

Special Problems and Challenges and the Future of Policing in America

Assignment 4:


STRAYER University

Assignment 4: Special Problems and Challenges and the Future of Policing in America

Major functions of three Department of Homeland Security Agencies

The Department of Homeland Security, commonly referred to top DHS, is among the moves the United States government took immediately after the 9/11 attack. The department is a federal anti-terrorism agency formed by the United States government in October 2001 after pressure from the intelligence community. It was an immediate response some days after the 9/11 attack by the al-Qaida terrorist group. The primary mission for the formation of DHS was to coordinate and counter future terrorism issues on the U.S soil. To accomplish its primary task, DHS has some agencies that have specific roles. The following are three agencies of the Department of Homeland Security with their core functions.

Customs and Border Protection

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the United States was formed in 2003 mainly to safeguard the borders of the country at and between the ports of entry. It is, therefore, the role of CBP to identify and prevent illegal persons and property from getting into the United States. Terrorists or terror equipment entering the country may pose a threat to national security hence are tamed by the US Customs and Border Protection agency. Randol (2010) posits that CBP has other mandates such as to regulate international trade, collecting import duties, among others.

The U.S Coast Guard

This is the major DHS federal agency that is mandated to ensure the safety and security of the maritime regions. The U.S Coast Guard is an intelligence element that takes care of the large sized, complex and exploitative nature of maritime. The U.S Coast Guard, a military and all-around maritime services agency, protects the American coasts and inland waterways from unauthorized states, groups, and individuals to ensure homeland safety. Other activities the U.S Coast Guard accomplishes include national defense and stewardship of the environment and resources. To sum, the U.S Coast Guard’s role is to safeguard the United States’ maritime interests and global environment.

The U.S Secret Service

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines the mission of the U.S Secret Service as safeguarding national leaders and visiting heads of state such as presidents and protecting the financial infrastructure of the United States of America. The current role of U.S Secret Service has been consistent since the agency was founded in 1865. When it was established, Randol (2010) reiterates that the U.S Secret Service was mandated to investigate the counterfeiting of the currency of the United States. Its mission to protect national and visiting leaders manifested after the assassination of President McKinley in 1901. However, its intelligence mandate expanded in 1984 to financial crimes and frauds, fraud involving telecommunications, documents forgery, electronic funds transfer, among other money laundering crimes.

The Agency with the Greatest Responsibility

Although all the agencies instituted within the Department of Homeland Security work towards the common goal of DHS of countering terrorism, one feels the pinch the most. Regarding federal law enforcement, it is Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that plays a crucial role. This is because they are responsible for countering illegal foreigners who pose a threat to national security. Most of the deadly terrorist attacks on the American soil are conducted by non-Americans who get into the U.S through the weak borders. Customs and Border Protection man the main points where the criminals can get into the American soil. Customs and Border Protection is, therefore, always on toes for the chances to hold CBP responsible for letting terrorists in the US are high.

Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and National Criminal Information Center (NCIC)

The Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) is a program that was established in the 1920s by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to generate factual and solid criminal data and statistics (Cummings & Kennedy, n.d.). Information collected by UCR is then used in law enforcement, management, and administration activities. The growth and decline of the level of crime rate in the U.S are measured from the statistics generated by Uniform Crime Reports from the public. Uniform Crime Reports has successfully helped federal law enforcement to combat future crimes.

However, Uniform Crime Reports is prone to some limitations. The program is not a multi-source of criminal information; hence it cannot be entirely relied on to provide everything required to thwart terrorism. For this reason, other means should be applied to enforce federal law. Also, since Uniform Crime Reports is implemented in the entire country, police departments from different states define some crimes differently from what UCR defines. This has brought confusion within these police departments when enforcing the federal law. For example, UCR’s definition of burglary is very different from some states’ police department.

National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) is another program that has been significantly used by federal law enforcers to counter terrorism by the government. Criminal justice agency, with the help of NCIC and the new technologies, can virtually tap criminal data anytime and any day. The sole purpose of NCIC is to help professionals of criminal justice to locate and apprehend fugitives, locate kidnapped persons, stolen property, and identify terrorists (“NCIC”, n.d.). National Criminal Information Center helps federal law enforcers to protect the people of America from terror.

Police Executive Roles

There are three primary categories of the roles of police executives. The first role of police executives, according to Mintzberg Model, is the interpersonal role. This role entails how the police executive relates to other staffs. While practicing the interpersonal role, the police executive must show his/her skills about leadership and staff involvement.

Mintzberg model classifies the second category as that relating to informational. In this case, police executives perform communication roles. A police executive takes control of the communication flow. He/she checks what and how communications are made. In an event where the institution should address the public, a police executive has the mandate of doing so on behalf of the institution. The reason why the police executive is the spokesperson of the institution is to avoid miscommunication of police information. Miscommunication of police information is very risky to the safety of the area represented.

The third mandate of police executives is decision making. The police executive makes decisions affecting the police department or area represented. No matter how engaging police executives should be, they cannot transfer the role of final decision making. However, they can do this by considering the inputs of the followers and scale down, from the various data to the best policy applicable for a specific issue.

Out of the three main activities police executives carry out, the role of decision making is central. Just like managers, police executives are employed for the best decisions to be made. The success of a chief executive officer is measured on his/her decision-making record. Anyone can be a leader, but not all individuals can be good decision makers. Anyone can be an effective communicator, but when it comes to decision making, silence and proper listening and consideration should be put in practice. It is for the reason of complex scenarios a police department goes through that needs a police executive, not communication reasons. An institution can employ staffs in the departments of communication and liaison, but not a department of decision making, for the police executive is responsible. Therefore, decision making regarding the role a chief executive officer is primarily evaluated.

Anti-terrorism Legislative Enactment

The 2001 September 11 attack made the United States turn to draft laws and acts to deal with future crime. One of the statutes enacted by Congress was done in October 2001. It was referred to as the USA Patriot Act. The USA Patriot Act of 2001 was meant to unite and strengthen the US by offering appropriate tools necessitated to intercept as well as obstruct terrorism. Implementation of the USA Patriot Act 2001 led the government of the United States to derive anti-terrorism policies such as surveillance. Personal information such as phone records started to be recorded by government security agencies. Another enactment was done in 2002, and the act was referred to as the Homeland Security Act. Homeland Security Act’s main idea was the formation of the Department of Homeland Security that will constitute agencies such US Coast Guard, US Secret Service, among others whose main aim was to counter future terrorism in the American soil (“Legislation Online”, 2001).

Regarding combating terrorism, the 2002 Homeland Security Act seems to be more effective. This is because it was reinforcement to 2001 established the Department of Homeland Security. The department redefined the terrorism problem and assigned specific but crucial roles to some agencies. All the functions of these particular agencies were linked to the one single mission of DHS of protecting the American people and their property.

Problems Related to Determining the Actual Numbers of Hate Crimes

FBI.gov (n.d.) defines a hate crime as a criminal offense against a person or property wholly or partly motivated by the perpetrator’s bias against race, color, religion, gender, disability, ethnicity, or place of origin. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recognizes hate crimes have had devastating impacts on families and communities. While in the line of duty to enforce the law every year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) comes across hundreds of cases by liaising with the public and local communities. However, there are some limitations when it comes to determining the real hate crime numbers. This is because perpetrators have been committing a hate crime by racial, color, and religious bias. The intangible and bias nature of the hate crime has made it different from other crimes such as arson and murder, hence making it difficult for the bureau to get the exact numbers. Also, it has been a tradition that only victims federally protected had their cases noticed, while any other who is not federally protected had their cases go unnoticed. This has contributed to FBI officials getting the wrong records of the real hate crime in the US. Since hate itself is not a crime, the FBI has had it difficult to balance between treating hate as a crime or freedom of speech.


Cummings, & Kennedy. (n.d.). What is the Uniform Crime Reporting Program? HG.org Legal Resources. Retrieved from https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/what-is-the-uniform-crime-reporting-program-26494

FBI.gov. (n.d.). Hate Crimes. What We Investigate. Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/civil-rights/hate-crimes

Legislation Online. (n.d.). Counter-Terrorism. Current: x Counter-Terrorism. Retrieved from https://www.legislationline.org/topics/country/54/topic/5

NCIC. (n.d.). National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Services. Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/ncic

Randol, M. A. (2010). The Department of Homeland Security Intelligence Enterprise:

Operational Overview and Oversight Challenges for Congress. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service.

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