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Searching Law Enforcement Literature

Law enforcement literature exists at the intersection of criminal justice and criminology. It has developed through several channels:

  • Trade publications
  • Research groups and scholarly publications
  • Associations and advocacy groups
  • Analysis of crime and its causes
  • Legal challenges, case law, legislation

Law enforcement organizations have become large and complex, giving rise to:

  • Laws and regulations governing peace officer activity
  • Structured standards and training
  • Case studies of police actions; statistics gathered
  • Complicated police procedures
  • Organizational development issues

Over time, there have been changes in the field of law enforcement and police operations:

  • Criminal law has become more complex. New avenues for crime have developed.
  • Technology, equipment, vehicles, and weapons have evolved and improved.
  • New types of criminal activities require special units, procedures, and training.
  • Advances in forensic science have changed investigative techniques.
  • Specialized law enforcement operations serve specific communities.
  • Profiling has affected criminal investigation, interviewing, and dealing with suspects.
  • Dispatchers and EMS professionals have become more prominent.
  • Homeland security has become an issue for local law enforcement.

The social climate in which law enforcement operates has also changed:

  • Heightened security due to terrorist attacks has become normal.
  • Community relations have become more important.
  • Women have become established in the profession.
  • Immigrant communities pose special issues.
  • The overlap of jurisdictions can add an extra layer of complexity.
  • Interagency communication, sharing of resources, and fusion centers have become commonplace.
  • Budgets are tight.

These are just some examples of development in the field of law enforcement. In essence, law enforcement as a discipline has matured. While each topic mentioned above has its own interest groups and sources of information, the interaction of all of these elements creates the entire body of law enforcement literature.