Safety – Crime Control model or Due Process model


As the community demands more accountability regarding police shootings and alleged police brutality, many police departments are embracing modern video technology. The widespread use of video recordings along with social media has captured and created an image that the law enforcement community, in greater numbers, are abusing their authority and using excessive force. As the community challenges the principles of modern policing, the law enforcement community has been slowly feeling the pendulum transition from the crime control model principle of policing to the due process model philosophy.

The crime control model primarily concentrates on stopping criminal behavior through the quantity of the arrests over the quality of the arrest which focuses on stopping the smaller crimes therefore preventing or reducing the more violent crimes that may occur. The due process model focuses on the quality of the arrest which protects the rights of the accused at all times. The correlation that is commonly used is that the crime control model is like an assembly line and the due process model is an obstacle course around the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendment rights of the accused. As the pendulum progressively moves from the crime control model to the due process model that the community desires it places more restrictions on the law enforcement community.

The public is demanding accountability from the law enforcement community and in an effort to meet this demand police departments nationwide are embracing the use of video cameras, dash-board cameras, and now body cams however, does this ideology protect the best interest of the public and the law enforcement community under the due process model? The strengths and weaknesses of the crime control model have been demonstrated over the last two decades with the record reduction of crime along with controversial problems with stop, question and possible frisk.

Are the strengths and weaknesses of the due process model more effective by only focusing on protecting individual rights? The primary strength or mission of the due process model is to protect innocent people from wrongful conviction by demanding strict accountability of the law enforcement community. The due process model emphasizes protecting the rights of all alleged suspects, under arrest, being detained or interrogated at all cost. While one could argue that this is the fundamental principle of the American criminal justice system. The American criminal justice system was designed to protect the rights of falsely accused although the due process model that focuses solely on the rights of the accused seems to ignore the law abiding community and more importantly the rights of victims.

As the pendulum transitions from the crime control model to the due process model in answer to the demands of the public, there has been a reaction in the police community that has altered the law enforcement community’s primary concern, public safety. The modern world is continually evolving and so should the law enforcement community. With the proper use of technology and training the police community can address public concerns, the law enforcement community should keep in mind that political ideology cannot supersede the safety of the officers or the public.


Frank Schmalleger, Criminal Justice Today, fifth edition, Prentice Hall 1999,

Scott Downs former Director of Operations for a national security company and a fourth generation law enforcement officer. He is an Adjunct Criminal Justice Professor at Briarcliffe College and a member of ILEETA-International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association. Scott has two decades of experience as a police officer and instructor. He serves in the public and private safety and security sector as a trainer and consultant. Scott is a summa cum laude graduate of Saint Joseph’s College and holds a Master’s Degree from the Homeland Security Management Institute. Reach Scott at [email protected]

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