Summary of officers, duties and related information
|November 8, 2007 -- POLICE, DETENTION AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS
Police and Detention officers are exceptional people who serve their communities under the harshest of conditions, usually the first responders to any emergency when called, subjecting themselves to danger, life and death situations throughout the nation and at times losing their own lives to protect the lives of others, and who have to confront some of the most evil and dangerous people in the world. They are also the people who help and assist anyone needing their care or assistance per 911 calls, observations while on patrol, or as called by dispatch to respond.
Police officers respond to emergency calls, detect and investigate crimes being committed, apprehend and arrest the criminals when found, detention officers receive the criminals in jail and corrections and process them through their agency facilities. This is generally an easy process in booking an arrested prisoner into jail until a prisoner acts up and decides to fight or assault a jail/corrections staff member(s). Jails and Corrections are two separate agencies that run and operate under different budgets and policies. Jails are funded by City Councils /City Police Chief, or County Sheriff / County government) and the Corrections Department is funded by the particular State DOC Warden that the agency resides in.
All officers and agencies operate under a strict budget that is generally short of what is really needed to operate more successfully and efficiently. Most agencies attempt to create bond issues for additional needed revenue and to meet the new ever - changing laws, changes in training and tactical needs, maintenance and repairs, prisoner issues and needs, security concerns, salaries, equipment concerns, and operational standard changes.
Correctional officers work in guarding sentenced criminals that have been sent to prison and work releases. They insure that criminals are classified properly and sent to their assigned living areas until released. Most prisons have maximum, medium and low-risk facilities depending on the criminal history and charges.
Few people in society realize just what a police officer or detention officer has to do in their everyday performance and duties. They have to meet physical and psychological standards, must pass certain aptitude tests and requirements, meet dress code requirements, attend guard mounts for inspections and line-up information, show proper conduct and good attitude when dealing with the public or anyone else, not to say that some incidents may trigger normal human responses that may not appear acceptable by all, basically phrased, “they pushed my buttons too far.”
Law enforcement, detention and correctional officers are human beings like anyone else. For some unknown reason, some people tend to think that we are suppose to be supermen or superwomen in the performance of our duties and that we have all the answers to the world’s problems. The truth is we don’t and aren’t super at all, we are normal human beings doing an impossible job that society has given us. This is the same society that appreciates our work and some who don’t. In this world it is a fact that no matter how hard you try to do good for others, there is going to be people who don’t care or support you as an officer.
Officers sacrifice their time for others and at times have even neglected their own family to do for others. Some officers work long hours, are underpaid, endure work schedule changes and or are subjected to duties anyone would not like to work. Granted, the officer signed on as an officer and is expected to do what they are paid to do by policy, society expectations or needs and so forth. What most people don’t realize is the truth, that the majority of officers who signed onto law enforcement had no idea of some of the madness and chaos they would experience being a police, detention.or corrections officer.
As a police officer I stop a person for speeding in excess of eleven miles an hours over the posted speed limit. Upon making contact with most drivers the normal response from them is a nice greeting and why did I stop them. We all know who I am talking about here .. those people who tend to break the law and when caught want to make excuses for their actions. Excuse # 1. I didn’t see the speed limit sign .. truth? They knew the speed limit and more than likely seen the sign, because it is a requirement for all drivers to know the traffic laws before they are allowed to get a driver’s license. Excuse # 2. My speedometer hasn’t been working very well lately? Truth? As a driver, if you suspected having such problems, it is your responsibility to have it fixed. Now comes the factual part … doing your job as a police officer in giving the driver a citation. Now a person of the fine community blames you as an officer for doing your job in stopping them and for not giving them a break. In reality, few drivers ever thanked me for stopping them after being cited. You get my point here.
The real world doesn’t work that way, we have to be the devil’s advocate in just about every decision we make regardless of how society thinks because the world didn’t stop, there are more crimes being committed and traffic laws being broken. Correct decisions, Quick on the spot decisions or lawful judgment calls, and doing what pleases the courts, our administration and related parties, and society when we can. If we as officers gave everybody a break then why have laws, the very laws we as officers have to follow. Something goes wrong, society calls quickly for help, if society does something wrong that they think they can get away with, they don’t call, they just go on. We as officers make a mistake, we don’t get any breaks, we receive the full wrath from society, in which any officer that breaks the law or does a criminal deed should be held accountable. Officers are no exception to the law, they are required to adhere to the laws of the land as anyone else on duty or off. Keeping in mind, an officer chasing a speeder or discharging their firearm during an event is still held accountable for any wrong doing if the action goes bad, example .. a stray bullet strikes a passerby or pedestrian during a shooting incident, these things will happen and when it does, the officer and incident is investigated. Most agencies are spread thin compared to all that expected of them, but do the best they can under the present day circumstances.
I’m not insulting anyone’s intelligence here by stating facts and examples, most of us know what goes on in the real world. Books and stories have been written about officers, in truth, most officers really know what they are up against in everyday society and events, facing new challenges and obstacles everyday.
Jim Heitmeyer . Author. Writer