Special Problems and Challenges and the Future of Policing In America

Special Problems and Challenges and the Future of Policing In America


Since the turn of the century, the US policing structure seen significant. This has been brought about by the increase in threat levels from outside sources in form of terrorism. The US Department of Justice is made up of different law enforcement agencies that are placed to protect the citizens as well as the coutries resources and infrastructure from any form of internal crime and external coercion like terrorism (Wolfendale, 2006). The four agencies are sourced with information form The Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Neverthless, despite the successes of these agencies there have been issues raised on how the nature of crime has changed in reference to the current policing structure. The Mintzberg model highlights some particular weakness as well as strengths. For instance, two legislations are enforced to help combat terrorism efficiently. However, some issues regarding when and how to determine the actual numbers as well as varieties of hate crimes that constitute terrorist threats.


Since the bombing of the twin towers in New York, the US policing structure has been set towards a new milieu, one in which the primary cause of concern of crime often originates from external sources and not the immediate community. The US Department of Justice is obligated to keep public safety through the four agencies all of which have major functions within them that have great responsibilities to uphold. The four agencies consist of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol; the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS); Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

, The Federal Bureau of Investigation has three primary functions principal of which is to neutralize terrorist cells and operatives in the United States and help dismantle terrorist networks worldwide to protect the US citizens and all who reside within the borders of the country. The second function is counterintelligence, which entails the prevention as well as investigation of surveillance activities within the US borders. The final function is the prevention of foreign espionage at the center of national security activities that may implicate the economic, military, as well as the political strength of the US (Eck et al., 2005). The FBI is known to employs some of the most sophisticated policing and forensics techniques such as blood work, handwriting, as well as the study of a variety of evidence to identify a threat. Consequently, they provide extensive professional training to national supervisory level police officers at the National Academy and operate the National Crime Information Center (Peak, 2014).

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has a history dating as back as the early1860s when the US was acting on the tax-collecting bureaucracy issues. The ATF performs two primary functions. Firstly, the agency is directly obligated to control the number of firearms as well as explosives within the community. In other words, they are obligated to make sure guns meant for civilian protection as well as explosive material do not end up in the wrong hands. Secondly, the ATF is mandated to anticipate terror targets working with local enforcement in reducing such risks through means that are stipulated by the US constitution as well as laws governing the US (Wolfendale, 2006).

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

The DEA is obligated with combating the smuggling of drugs as well as other controlled substances within the US. According to Wolfendale (2006), the DEA has become increasingly involved in anti-terrorism activity over the years considering most terror suspects are smuggled into the country through the same routes as drugs. It is for this reason that the DEA through the controlled substance Act shares jurisdiction with the FBI as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), Homeland security, and Border Patrol in cases of terrorism.

The US Marshals Services (USMS)

The US Marshals Services is the oldest US law enforcement agency with its history spanning as far back as 1789 (Wolfendale, 2006). The agencies primary function is apprehending wanted fugitives. As of 2015, the US Marshal Services was responsible for 47.2% of criminal arrests in the US 15% of whom were tied to terror groups within the US (Peak, 2016). Despite their proficiency through skilled straining, the agencies mentioned above are significantly dependable on each other as well as the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) when it comes to information analysis.

Uniform Crime Reports (UCR)

The Uniform Crime Reports was developed in order to provide information to all the Justice Department Agencies as well as other individuals such as scholars and private criminology experts. The Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) was introduced to provide reliable information to relevant agencies to develop new policies that can aid in improving policing in the US. In order for the UCR to conduct best its bestowed duties it is made up of three sub-departments namely the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted program; the Traditional Summary Reporting systems as well as Hate Crime Statistics Program-hate crimes and Cargo Theft Reporting Program (Peak, 2016). The UCR has limits in the sense that some information presented may not be exact since they tend to rely on secondary sources (Young, 2006) entirely.

National Crime Information Center (NCIC)

The National Crime Information Centre (NCIC) is defined as a conceptualized sequence of data on Criminal Justice. For example, all data related to appropriated property, or a criminal record concerning particular persons are all stored at the National Crime Information Center. According to Peak (2016), the principal of the NCIC system is to offer a programmed database for easy admission by all the agencies within the on criminal justice system. It should be noted that unlike Uniform Crime Reports all information in NCIC is under restricted access

Mintzberg model

The Mintzberg model indicates the roles of police executives. According to (Mintzberg, (2003) as the policing structure changes so does the roles of the police executives who currently play a role almost identical to business CEOs. Through the model, Mintzberg, its originator, identified that a variety of characteristics that are critical to the success of an officer. Firstly, police executives are open-minded and are every so often self-initiated. Secondly, they have a preference for action-driven activities as opposed to a theoretical framework. Thirdly, they prefer verbal communications to written decantation as they gain a better understanding of a situation through verbal expressions. Lastly, Police executives tend to uphold relationships with their subordinate staff than their sallow superiors. This based on the fact that their participation in the execution of tasks is limited.


Over the last decade, police in the US has changed significantly due to the threat of terrorism. The four agencies in the Justice Department have become more of partners than singular entities to protect the US sovereignty as well as its Citizen’s welfare. It is apparent that the increased interdependence between the agenesis introduces the notion of a police executive. The phenomenon comprehensively explained using explained using Mintzberg model. The future of US policing depends on the efficiency of police executives.




Eck, J., Chainey, S., Cameron, J., & Wilson, R. (2005). Mapping crime: Understanding Hotspots. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.

Mintzberg, H. (2003). The strategy process: concepts, contexts, cases. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Peak, K. J. (2016). Encyclopedia of community policing and problem-solving. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE reference, Boston, Massachusetts.

Wolfendale, J. (2006). Terrorism, security, and the threat of counterterrorism. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism29(7), 753-770.

Young, R. (2006). Defining Terrorism: The Evolution of Terrorism as a Legal Concept in International Law and Its Influence on Definitions in Domestic Legislation. BC Int’l & Comp. L. Rev.29, 23.