Law Enforcement and Interagency Task Force
Stopping criminal activities in America has been a nightmare for the law enforcement agencies. Crime is a forbidden activity that has lived for decades from time immemorial with several attempts of getting greater understanding of the starting point of all the criminal activities. Apparently, as a matter of common knowledge, it the responsibility of the law enforcement agencies to ensure that justice is served to the victims of criminology and the perpetrators of the criminal acts are charged for crimes they commit. However, putting crime perpetrators to charge has not been an easy task for the law enforcement agencies since the criminals have invented ways of camouflaging themselves and their criminal activities, making it difficult to be arrested. As a result, individual agencies claim that it is incompetency in criminal investigations that have led to several cases dropped due to lack of evidences, insubordination, and disappearance of crime perpetrators (Shahidullah, 2008, p. 87). This issue has not only created concern within the law enforcement agencies but also national concerns that have seen even the highest office in United States of America, the State House, address the matter indicating their concern for finding a solution to the problem.
Therefore, the law enforcement agencies have resorted to forming interagency task forces that would assist in combating intense criminal activities that impose challenge for private agencies to handle. A good example is the US Human Trafficking Task Force of 2013 that aimed at initiating progresses in combating trafficking of persons. The point of interest in it is the magnitude to which how useful these corporations are and experience it has to the individual officers in the tasks forces. The factual information investigated and presented in this paper is that law enforcement through interagency task force has positively impacted criminal investigation and justice provision to the victims of the criminal activities. Therefore, this paper reviews the experience of law enforcement agencies involved in interagency task forces, the importance of interagency task forces, the challenges experienced and their impacts on criminal investigations and justice supervisions.
During the declaration of the 2013 President’s Interagency Task Force to combat human trafficking in the United States of America, President Barack Obama declared a united fight against human trafficking calling on all agencies including non-governmental organizations and civil right societies (Dempsey, & Forst, 2013, p. 92). This was an open view that certain criminal activities such as human trafficking and drug trafficking cannot be handled by individual law enforcement agencies assigned those tasks since the nature of the crimes are complex. This gave a conception of the importance of interagency roles in handling certain tasks that seem complicated such as human and drug trafficking to help arrest the matter. In an interview with the secretary to Lieutenant Marcin of California Police Department, there are several issues affiliated to interagency task force. However, the point of importance here is the role of ensuring that justice is served to the victims and the perpetrators brought before the law. Mr. Marcin through the secretary believed that if interagency task forces would be established in a more corporate manner, then fighting crime would be so easy since everyone including the civilian would be ready to corporate. These task forces are built on the basis of being able to acquire intelligence and to respond rapidly towards crime.
Formation of Interagency Task Force
Interagency task forces are usually developed based on emergency that require quick and substantial force attendance, mostly crimes. Legitimately, the basis of the formation of a task force does not necessarily require to be for a crime committed but even in cases of epidemics and hazards (Dempsey, & Forst, 2012, p.103). However, in many cases as reported in the news it has been only for crimes. According to the article, Officers Safety Corner, interagency task forces are formed based on acquiring a joint duty of investigating a particular activity of concern to the nation. It involves experts from different agencies with a single aim of getting justice to the victims of the activity in question. Law on itself ensures dignity for nature, human or environmental. The structure of these task forces gives the platform from which legal run-overs are built to ensure the existence of acceptable practices only in the society.
Importance of Interagency Task Force
According to Lieutenant Marcin, there are various purposes why it is important to have interagency task force. Giving reference to the US human trafficking case, Marcin believes that crimes against one or two repeatedly is a matter of national interest and should not be handled by an individual law enforcement agency. Marcus accepts that interagency tasks have greatly impacted the performance of the FBI and his sub-division quarters. This has been a similar situation with other interagency. The reason serves the main purpose of forming interagency in order to improve on the service delivery and performance of the different bodies.
Most interagency are formed for the purpose of carrying out proper investigations. For instance, as Marcus acknowledge, the President’s Interagency Task Force of 2013 was established to investigate and put behind bars human traffickers and destroy the criminal networks that had been set by the traffickers. This improved on the investigative motive of human trafficking just beyond building on human cases that had been placed before the court. The interagency task force impacts continue experience in the law enforcement officers to be able to build on investigations even without necessarily having a case report. It helps in controlling of criminal activities at the early stages.
Corporate groups have been used to provide relief services for the victims of the calamities and crimes. Marcin argues that diversifying of their societal roles and official duties as security officers have placed them in a better position of being closer to the public. Interagency responsibilities have widened on the scope of their duties that have apparently advantaged them in the sense that they have developed a good relationship to the public. The federal and state police have been able to receive reports from the public regarding criminal activities that have in its own self improved the performance of the state police in California.
Interagency task force has led to training of stakeholders for a particular task in question. This according to Marcin has been able to expand on the experience of the police in handling various tasks pertaining to emergencies and different criminal cases. The governments through the agency boards are aimed at expanding human capital as a way of developing competency of the law enforcers. Alongside creating and promoting interagency corporations, the government and agency bodies aimed at using this program develop self-reliability in law enforces to be able to perform varies task in the future without necessarily being merged by other agencies.
On similar grounds, Marcin believes that agency task force has led to improvement of interagency relations with communication between agencies growing stronger than it was initially. Certain factors such as inclusion of the media to agency corporations have even eased the works of the law enforcement and other agencies in the corporation. This has similarly been the same case with the inclusion of the civilians in police-based agencies that have led to criminal activities reported to the authorities prior to their executions.
In exception of the benefits of real experience received by the law enforcers, interagency task force comes along with a number of challenges faced by the law enforcers in the line of their duties (Shahidullah, 2008, p. 137). By the nature of their new duties, the officers often find themselves off mark by the problems they encounter such as discussed below.
In several occasions of joint or interagency task force, the police, Marcin’s agency, have been accused of incompetence by other parties in the interagency, particularly in security issues. Fingers have being pointed towards the law enforcers being accused of failing in their lines of duty and it is to that effect that other bodies have jointly come in to arrest the situation at hand. The law enforcers have been accused of collaborating with the lawbreakers. This has been quite evident in the fight against drug trafficking where the law enforcers have been accused of benefiting from the dark deals (Dempsey, & Forst, 2012, p.124). This situation has led to ruining of the law enforcers’ morale to participate efficiently in their duties.
Collusion of responsibilities
Interagency responsibility brings together people of different roles and experience with an aim of using their different expertise to achieve a common goal. This is common in professional corporations where skills are more useful than the actual strength or force. As a result regrouping of skills of the persons, the interagency has unperformed because of colliding of duties and responsibilities (Weisburd, 2009, p. 98). According to Marcin, bringing people of different work backgrounds together even though they are of the same skills, they will tend fight over showing off their expertise rather than performing to achieve projected goal. This matter has for several occasions’ derailed criminal investigation since every police department intends to show off their criminology tactics. This has made it difficult for the interagency managements to reassign them duties. Every person desires to work his or her usual line of duty but not the reassigned work.
Insubordination is a persistent problem that haunts joint organization, not only interagency task force. Insubordination in itself is a breach of the law where members of a staff of an organization leaks confidential information to the public or nonmembers of that staff. This is very common in interagency task forces particularly, those involving security agencies and public service agencies such as human right organizations. During the National Security and Intelligence service forum, the Security Council warned against leaking of investigative information to the public during the process of criminal investigations. In an attempt to avoid insubordination in intelligence and security matters, interagency task force on security and intelligence matters have been restricted to have only members within the security docket. This is because security issues are very delicate, therefore, if engaged with non-security experts, they may leak out vital information to the public before the completion of the investigation. This was evident in the sex workers’ case in California where the sex workers’ activists who were members of the task force had leaked out confidential information to the public before the investigation was complete. This interfered with the data collection, as the interviewees no longer appeared natural as they used before they got the information on the activity going on.
Interagency task force for investigative purposes have led to fault accusations and incrimination of persons without proper strings attaching them to the crimes committed due to lack of agreement between members of the task force (Weisburd, 2009, p. 112). This happens mostly in cases where the task force encompasses of representatives of the victims or the victims themselves. They would then try to link persons they suspect to the act by man-hunting evidence just to incriminate the people they suspect. At times, the members of the task force have tried to relate non-criminal issues such as character of persons and unique believes just in purpose of enabling them complete their investigations and make a report. This scenario is also possible in situations where the task force is made up members without relevant skills to the issue under investigation leading to faulty decisions.
Impact on Law Enforcement
Interagency task force has greatly impacted law enforcement in the country. Most interagency task forces have been based on legal issues and crime. This is so because crime and injustices have been the order of the day where every action is likely to break the law or act unfairly to another person.
Interagency corporations have led to improvement of law enforcement efficiency. The police and investigative departments have been able to fasten on their service provisions through corporative works that have helped in their areas of duties. Combating criminal activities such as human and drug trafficking have intensively become uncontrollable for one security service to deal with (Shahidullah, 2008, p. 164). Therefore, such instances would require corporate responsibilities extended even to members of the public to ensure criminal activities and other injustices are under control.
Interagency task force based on investigative purposes is quite vital to law enforcement. Merging law enforcement bodies and the interagency task force would improve on the law enforcement responsibilities of the enforcers. However, this would only have a greater impact is the sense of corporate responsibility is instilled in proprietors of justice and the public. In most cases, it has been the public that falls victim of criminal activities yet at the very moment, there are very persons with proper information regarding to the perpetrators of the injustices. Therefore, every member of the society needs to be educated on the importance of corporate responsibility in law enforcement.
For justice to prevail, interagency corporation must be encouraged since the two are mutually reliable for enabling justice to the victims. For instance, particular research and investigation are very critical, therefore, would require an interagency investigation to be able to complete it in time and corner the criminals.
Dempsey, J. S., & Forst, L. S. (2012). An introduction to policing. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.
Dempsey, J. S., & Forst, L. S. (2013). Police. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.
Shahidullah, S. M. (2008). Crime policy in America: Laws, institutions, and programs. Lanham: University Press of America.
Weisburd, D. (2009). To protect and to serve: Policing in an age of terrorism. New York: Springer-Verlag.