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Westchester County is a US suburban county which is located in New York. It has a varied population of around 950,000 residents living in 45 municipalities and covers an area of 450 square miles. The county was named after an England town called Chester and White Plains is the county seat. In the whole world this was the first large scale suburban are to develop. It became significant as a suburb because of the development of the upper-middle class of the whole community during the late 19th century and the quip population growth that followed as a result. From the records of 2006 HVD, a household of one person in the county received a median income of $75,427 while a family of four received a median income of $96,500. it is also ranked as the second wealthiest county in New York after Manhattan and the 17th most wealthy county in the whole country. This county has also been associated with old money because some of the wealthiest families for many generations live here.
Westchester County was first inhabited by members of a larger family of original Americans who spoke Algonquian languages. The title deeds given to the European settlers fortunately provide information about the sub tribes' location in the region. Giovanni da Verrazzano was the first European to explore Westchester in 1524 followed by Henry Hudson who came in at around 1609. The English settlers then came in from New England in 1640s. The English took over the control of the county from the Dutch and big chunks of the land in Westchester were established as patents or manors. The patents were owned by groups of associates while the manors were owned by a single person. These lands were leased out by the lords to tenants who also provided with other essential services this county was originally one of the twelve counties of the Province of New York which were created by the general assembly of New York in 1683.
Westchester was very primitive during the colonial period. It had few roads which were in poor condition and therefore transportation was majorly depended on water. Almost everything that the settlers consumed came from their farms. They traded cattle, wood, and food with items that they did not produce in their farms. The colonial churches plaid major roles in political and social importance. Farmers later supplemented farming with income form cottage industries which involved furniture crafting and shoe making. Such industries needed the use of roads and this necessitated the repair of these roads and this increased traveling. Ferries were also launched and taverns established which provided accommodation to the travelers. This was the richest and highly populated county by 1775.
The revolution war caused a lot of suffering to the people but it later recovered rapidly after the war. The lands of large land owners were taken back by the state and sold to the locals. In the 1950s and 60s there was the construction of major interstate highways and this encouraged the establishment of headquarters by major corporations like IBM and General Foods. Intense development of the county occurred in the 20th century and generated prosperity for the region. It is now one of the most affluent counties in modern time in the United States and is also the most desired home for many suburb communities.
NYPD was established in 1845 and is currently the largest municipal police force in the whole of the United States. Its responsibilities are in investigation and law enforcement within the boundaries of New York. It also has a large assortment of services which include air support, counter-terrorism, public transportation and many more. In the NYPD new, the police commissioner Bratten together with his staff have come up with a creative design that is aimed at creating a result-oriented department of police from the previous one that emphasized and concentrated on measured effort. NYPD had been a model for policing of big cities at different times in its history. Its work was however measured in terms of its efforts just like any other police organization of a large municipal. Such efforts include the speed at which the emergency calls like those of 911 were answered and how many patrons were dispatched to help in the emergency.
Bratton says NYPD as an organization was very reactive in its crime approach during 1970s and 1980s just like many police departments were. The policing model was for people to dial 911 during an emergency and the police force would appear very quickly. The police preventive measure at this time was focused on random patrols and the idea was that the many cars roaming around would scare away law breakers. Reactive investigation was also done sometimes after the real fact investigation and this was controlled some centralized organization that was very strong. Its indicated that for one to make even the slightest decision, he had to go till the top of the organization.
Community policing concept became very popular in the United States police departments during the late 1980s. this concept so young individuals o the police force spending more time in the community neighborhoods and collected vital information that could help stop crime. In addition, there were specialized units which were fully trained to take care of special crimes which included the drug related crimes. There was fear that police officers could be tempted to engage in various types of corruption and crimes like the drug related ones. Generally, the initiatives of community policing brought in tension between the strategies that were aimed to stop crime and those that were aimed to look into the behavior of police officers.
NYPD new was aimed at reducing major crimes in the city and was the work of Commissioner William Bratton and his executives in 1994. Their efforts produce good results than what they had even expected.
Identification of critical questions, concerns, or solutions
When Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was elected in 1993, he inherited a department that needed new technology and methods so badly. There were some jobs which could be done by computers but they were being done by hand. The police officers were also poorly armed and communication systems were outdated. The level of trust among the senior officers was also very low as well as the trust between the rank and file and the leadership in the department. A good example was the denial of access to files by hiding the access codes. This meant that officers in a certain department could not access information on a crime that is committed outside his precinct. This made it very difficult fir an arresting officer to check the records of the criminal.
Even though this department was in the processes of providing the results that many city residents required, there were questions on the sustenance of result oriented emphasis of Bratton's first 24 months as a commissioner which were very much publicized. When Bratton's team which included the chiefs who were uniformed personnel and the deputy commissioners who were civilians came together in his office one morning in late January, 1996, he considered the best strategies that could be used by his organization to continue producing better results despite the budget shortfall experienced by the city.
In 1996, Bratton opened the weekly meeting of Executive staff by indicating that achieving another 10% reduction in crime had started fading in complexity and difficulty to many other challenges that the department was facing. Such problems included cutting down of funding by the city, restrictions on the ways in which the rewarding of performances and deployment of resources could be done by the department, and the difficulty of maintaining the momentum which had produced great results during the last two years. He also pointed out that the department was getting into a year that was very stressful and therefore urged his deputies to become very creative in the way they respond to the challenges they were facing just the way they did in reducing the crime rate.
The department was also faced with challenges of a restive public that brought Giuliani in office because of his promise to provide safer streets. The police force was also demoralized and concentrated on staying out of trouble rather than police the city. One of Bratton's executive staff member says there was so much backbiting, low performance and fear of failure. The department therefore lacked focus and without focus the police force could not do anything contractive.
According to the rankings released by The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Westchester residents are considered to be the very healthy since they have ready access to proper medical care. All indicators measured rank it among the top ten in comparison to the other 62 counties that exist in the country. The county's medical centre has 635 beds and a level 1 trauma centre. It therefore provides health services of advanced quality to the residents of northern New Jersey, Hudson Valley and southern Connecticut. It also has six centers for excellence, and on top of that its home to one of the leading liver and kidney transplant programs in New York. Maria Ferrari children's home which is the only all specialty children's hospital in this region is also found in Westchester. This shows how equipped the county is in terms of medical health.
Westchester county is also faced with Information technology problems to an extend that most of such jobs are transported to china or India. A research of the county a few years back indicates that the county has not employed the use of computers like it is supposed to at this point in time. In the modern world, everything revolves around information technology. Apart from making work easier it also saves time and cost because you only need a few people to take care of the computers and assist in one or two things
Westchester County has many branches or arms with each one carrying some power that makes it superior by itself. For instance we have the Board of legislatures which are the legislature which is charged with policy making in the county. The power of this board is stipulated in the County's charter. The key power of the board is that concerned with the appropriation of funds, levying taxes and approving the budget. Apart from tis it also passes local laws, resolutions and acts.
The United States also has sheriffs in various counties including Westchester and these are the highest officers in law enforcement apart from commanding the militia of any particular county. These sheriffs are however elected and therefore sometimes make it difficult for someone to be strict on the people who elected them. More over the political leaders are also elected by this same people and if they make contradicting remarks from the sheriffs, they it creates some tension or conflict between the two. In many of the rural areas of the United States sheriffs are seen as the most influential political leaders in office.
The cost of owning a home is also very high in the Westchester county. In addition the response of the government towards the homeless is irrational and coordinated. For instance the shelter allowances are around $390 for every month. This assistance is insufficient by a half of what is really required given the cost of renting a house. For those evicted from their house, the emergency housing cost runs up to $100 for every night which translates to $3,000 every month. The displacement of people from their homes has lead to diseases and other health related problems.
Discussion of possible solutions
Rooting out corruption would provide a long lasting solution to the department's problems. It was earlier indicated that corruption occurs in the pockets of officers in NYPD. Efforts were started to bring in more energy in the department's Internal Affairs bureau. this was going to be done by changing the whole approach in which the IAB interacted with personnel of the department. There was so much secrecy and distrust in the department and the unwillingness of the officers to cooperate to change this, the AIB began efforts to involve every level of command in reducing brutality and corruption.
The master profiles of individual officers that referred to data on brutality, discourtesy and corruption were also computerized. Further more the training of those in high offices was to be done so that they could understand and detect patterns that could lead to corruption. The IAB would in addition to this go on with initiation of parallel investigations of the complains that would be brought before the Civilian Complaint Review Board and go on with the implementation of the orders of Commissioner Bratton which demanded that notices were not to be given for random drug tests to ensure that those tested are not given time to prepare.
New performance measures were put in place for sector commanders. They were no longer measured on the sum of effort their units put forth but rather they would be accountable for their plans quality on dealing with problems caused by crime. Major emphasis was placed on thoughts that could lead to reduction of crime. This included the increase in the number of people searched and arrested in connection with crime and increased frequency in checking the files of those arrested to determine whether there are links with other crimes committed before. The department's performance was also monitored by the leadership in NYPD.
Computers were introduced in the department in order to modernize and organize the display of information on crime and this required an investment of up to $500,000. They then became the cornerstone of this department and brought in high returns. Video conferencing technology enabled officers to interact with district attorneys in sections so as to reduce time that is associated with all activities used from the time of arresting to arraigning in court. With a police force with very little wages of up to $24 for every hour, this was very important. There were also other technology based initiatives which were supported by the Federal crime bill which was newly formed and this included the purchase computers that were precinct-based. These computers were installed by mapping software that was used to develop capabilities for crime analysis at the precinct level. The funding for Federal crime bill which amounted to $14 million also enabled this department to implement further the arresting of crime suspects.
In the year 2000, the Westchester county government held a meeting with Westchester County Association to address the issues that were facing the county. There is high need of computer training in the area because this is the only way citizens and the workers can get to understand how it works. This however can not happen without proper investment into this course.
Rewarding of police officers in Westchester can help agreat deal in the reduction of corruption. The main reason why police officers take bribe is lack of motivation and the poverty or hardship they experience in terms of finance. In the NYPD new, it is pointed out that the police officers had not received any raise in their salary despite the hard work they did and the kind of effectiveness by which they had worked. This automatically demoralisez them and therefore can lead to them neglecting their duties or taking bribes and letting the criminals loose. It can also lead to increase in police involvement in drug related crimes since they are known to bring in more cash. For the drug dealers to prosper in their activies, they also require the protection of these officers and this could be an open order that the police officers and criminals can strike a deal. It is indicated that only a letter of recommendation was awarded to police officers who performed their duties well.
Selection of possible solution
It si good for the county commisioners and the executive staffs to look into the complaints raised by their junior officers. Apart from this the most important of all is to address the complaints raised by citizens against the police officers. There have been compalinst raised against police brutality , corruption and unfair treatment of civilians for quite some times. This is experienced in both the case study and Westchester. The departments in the county should analyse this information and act on them quickly rather than dismiss them or defend their officers.
According to the NYPD new, a survey study indicated that there had been a high level concern about a culture of officers avoiding critisim and scandals and this had created organizational fear secrecy and self protection where no one could disclose what his partner had done. rooting out corruption is the best thing ever to be doen to any police force or county because this will creat openness in the work place and dedication. It ,eams that the public will be able to trust the officer to take good care of their property and lives.
To achieve such results, the county needs to set up investigative grous within the various departments. Just like the NYPD new, this could be done by making a change to the dynamic by which the department personnel relate to IAB. For now there is a lot of distrust among the officers together with a lot of secrecy. Some officers are also unwilling to corperate with their seniors and the investigative department. To change this, the county needs to involve evry member in the fight against corruption and not to act selectively.
Defense of final decision
There is no county or police force that could evr succed without being united. This is even the reason why the word force is used. For the county to execute its work properly, there needs to be proper cooperation amongst all its members. It's also important to motivate the officers by paying them enough salary because they go through very risky activities like chancing after criminals who are a major threat to their live. Dispite this they also work for long hours and therefore are not close to their families. It is only worthy for them to be paid well for them not to engage in corruption.
Proper relationship between the officers and the citizens will also make the officers work easier because citizens will feel free to report any criminal cases without fear of being harrased. It can therefore make community policing more easier for policemen and increase in the level of security.