Ms. Robinson, former assistant attorney general of the U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (OJP) from 2009 to 2012, and now professor of criminology, law and society at George Mason University, visited IACP headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, last week for the interview.
2. What emerging issues do you anticipate law enforcement will face over the next 5 years?
There are a number of critical issues that I think law enforcement will face, the most significant being managing resources—in some ways it is the overriding issue of today as well. The challenges and decisions that are being made in the United States Congress are being duplicated everywhere around the country. Virtually every town, city, municipality, and state is facing budget shortfalls. Looking ahead, we must look at evidence to determine which programs have proven to make a difference and we must also look to see how we can use civilian employees (like crime analysts) and volunteers.
I think law enforcement will also be increasing partnerships across multiple disciplines. For example, law enforcement’s interactions with the mentally ill, responding to and preventing domestic violence, management of sex offenders, offender re-entry, and children exposed to violence. Law enforcement is good at adapting to new and increased responsibilities as they come.
Additionally, we have given insufficient attention to the front end of the criminal justice system—the pre-trial stage. More questions need to be asked when determining who is released before trial and we need to look at risk management, not just money bail, to consider dangerousness. Law enforcement has a big stake in this.
Finally, collaboration with law enforcement and probation and parole is, and will continue to be, key. These are very wise partnerships because they bring the knowledge and wisdom of law enforcement and corrections together. Law enforcement can ensure better and increased public safety if they are communicating and partnering with their corrections counterparts.
In addressing a host of problems in the community, law enforcement can play a pivotal role. For example, law enforcement is, and can continue to be, a crucial leader because it can bring both the public and private sector together—from civic and religious leaders, to social services, and the education and business community. Law enforcement leaders represent an element that is trusted and relied on as having the community’s interests in mind.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for Ms. Robinson’s response to our question number three, refer back to question number one, and sign up for regular updates from the IACP Blog by entering your email address in the box to the upper right of your screen, above “Sign Me Up.” Then, click the button and receive new blog entries in your inbox.