Mission, Vision, and Values of Law Enforcement!May 8th, 2022
What Sets Law Enforcement Apart?
The mission, vision, and values of law enforcement are an integral reason why so many people apply to take the police officer exam each year. With more than 800,000 law enforcement personnel in the country, it’s imperative that the shared mission, vision, and values of law enforcement is maintained.
Many people thinking about joining law enforcement remark how they want to give back to their community; to protect and to uphold the rule of law; and to serve the United States in a practical and purposeful manner. Of course, the magnitude of joining law enforcement cannot be understated.
That’s why we’ve put together some details about what constitutes both the police officer mission, and the vision and values of law enforcement. The purpose of this is two-fold:
- To put the responsibility of law enforcement into its broader context.
- To inform aspiring police officers of exactly what is expected of them; and how this informs the selection process after passing the police officer exam.
During the oral board exam, for instance, you may be asked questions about the values and vision of law enforcement – and it’s essential that you can confidently answer these questions as if you were already a member of the police force.
The more you think through the responsibilities of law enforcement and what is expected of you, the greater appreciation you have for these values – and the easier it will become to answer direct questions put to you during the interview.
Police Officer Mission
At the most fundamental level, police officers are a necessary element to a secure and functioning society. Without law enforcement, there would be nothing but abject chaos.
Police officers act at the intermediaries between the public and the law – ensuring that laws, passed through democratic means, are upheld by all citizens, irrespective of the background of that citizen.
There are five fundamental duties of police officers, namely:
- To provide a safe and secure environment for citizens.
- To protect life and property.
- To reduce the fear of crime in the community.
- To provide service with both integrity and compassion, and a respect for the rule of law.
- To offer additional support, such as to schools and other bodies, to inform the next generation about aspects of the rule of law and the consequences therein when those laws are breached or undermined.
Law enforcement, then, provides an unparalleled and unique function in society. That’s why police departments throughout the United States are strict in who they allow into the profession.
It’s not enough to “just pass” the police test. Instead, the highest performing candidates are selected to make it through to police academy. Of course, the selection process is not limited to the test. Many other factors, such as the background and psychological strength of the candidates, are also assessed to ensure that only the most appropriate candidates can join this distinguished career.
Values of Police Departments in the US
Along with the mission statement of law enforcement, there are additional values that police officers are sworn to uphold.
These values include:
- The value and protection of human life.
- Crime prevention is just as valuable as crime detection / prosecution.
- Recidivism rates – that is, the risk of an individual committing more crimes in the future – should always be targeted reduced.
- All members of the public are treated with dignity and respect.
- Police officers are also citizens, and so are subject to the same laws and must always act in accordance with these laws, both on and off duty.
- Police officers must assume full responsibility for their actions, including the risk of inappropriately applying deadly force.
- Quality of life of citizens must always be taken into consideration. Listening to the concerns of citizens and the problems that emerge, is an essential skill.
- Open communication should exist between law enforcement and all communities that live under the supervision of the department. No bias should exist for one community over another, as the law must always be applied equally to all citizens, irrespective of their background.
- The need to value and preserve democracy, and to counter any means – however slight or serious – that serve to undermine the democratic fabric of society.
- The need to manage police resources prudently, effectively, and transparently.
Members of the public have precisely these expectations from law enforcement.
It’s imperative that police officers act in accordance with these principles and values to ensure that both the law is respected and upheld, and that society and the quality of life of citizens is advanced.
Take Home Message
Joining law enforcement is no small task.
Maintaining the values and vision and mission statement is an even bigger task.
Many situations are sticky and difficult, and it’s not always easy to navigate a path to the “right” answer. Sometimes, there are multiple right answers. But you need to justify your actions throughout your career.
This requires a certain sense of maturity, self-reflection, and an ability to examine the consequences of your actions.
The purpose of the extensive selection process is to filter through those candidates who approximate in this direction; and to shelve those candidates who simply haven’t put the work in – both for the police exam as well as the mental, mature, and psychological preparation – that is required to function as an effective law enforcement officer and a custodian of the law.
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