What common problems have existed throughout the centuries for people in law enforcement?
The fundamental dilemmas for all law enforcement personnel throughout the centuries are these:
- Knowing the law in enough detail to enforce it.
- Separating the crime from the criminal: in other words, not letting motive interfere with the strict enforcement (why a mother steals a loaf of bread is not part of the decision to enforce the law).
- Treating the perpetrator as a suspect, not as an already convicted person; giving the suspect all the rights of the law.
- Self-preservation; avoiding injury or death from the arrest procedure.
- Public image as part of “order,” not as an impediment to the “pursuit of happiness.”
- Maintaining a balance between trust and suspicion in everyday life; avoiding too negative a view of human nature.
In short, a universal and time-tested problem is being a human being while remembering you are an instrument of the law; judgment, balance, integrity, humanity, attention to chain of command. Whether a sheriff of Nottingham Forest or Orange County, the law enforcement officer must deal with these subtleties every working day.