Forensic Science

Forensic science is a field designed to use the advances in medical science and testing and apply the results directly to a legal or criminal issue.  There are many fields contained within forensic science like forensic dentistry, forensic pathology, forensic toxicology, and forensic psychology.  In lieu of all the intricate parts making up the forensic science field, the most influenced field has been that involving local law enforcement.
The ways in which crime scenes are processed and investigated have changed greatly since the emergence of forensic science.  Special officers are dispatched for such investigations.  The processing of a crime scene for forensic evaluation involves five steps.  First, the crime scene is secured in order to maintain and preserve all evidence.  Secondly, the investigators do an initial walk through and make mental notes of evidence and possibilities.  Next, the crime scene is documented by photographs, video, and a second walk through.  The next step is to collect the evidence.  Investigators wear gloves so that the crime scene is not tainted.  Evidence is tagged, logged, put into the proper chain of custody, and sent to the crime lab.  Finally, the lab processes and analyzes all evidence submitted for documentation and referencing.
The most important advance in the field of forensic science has to be attributed to the use of DNA evidence.  The collection and use of DNA evidence in an investigation has enabled investigators to close cases, provide closure to the victims, and ease the worries of the community.  The use of DNA evidence has also afforded other areas of the legal field in finding remedies to overdue problems.  Thanks to the advances in forensic science, the use of DNA has allowed paternity to be established for individuals, closed cold case files, brought closure to victims of violent crimes, and created a safer environment for the community.

Forensic Neuropsychology

Forensic neuropsychology is an area which looks in to the functioning of the brain and the nervous system. This attaches the behavior adopted by a criminal to the nervous functioning rather than social cause. Legal issues are deduced by observing the behavior in relation to the mind. The influences of behavior by the mind have been widely used for criminology purpose. Neuropsychologists have an important role in determining the dysfunction in the nervous system which might trigger a criminal act. Legal evaluations have been possible with the introduction of neuropsychology as a testifying act in courts. Some of the legal evaluations include medical malpractice and accidents. Neuropsychology is widely used in deciding murder cases. Neuropsychology provides testimony to many cases which requires some testing to be done in order to obtain evidence. Examinations are carried out by an independent party to determine neuropsychological functioning in providing testimony. Testimonies provided in courts are based on physical evidence. In the case of neuropsychology, examinations are done on the nervous system.

Forensic neuropsychology can redefine the manner in which criminals are classified. Criminals are normally classified according to the crime performed. On the other hand, forensic neuropsychology classifies criminals by referring to the functioning of the nervous system and the mind. The brain-behavior relationship enables neuropsychologists to carry out tests to detect any nervous dysfunction. There could be some significant if it was identified that criminal behavior was contributed by a physiological impairment. It could mean that the state of the brain defines the criminal act. The criminal acts are normally attributed by social cause.

In conclusion, forensic neuropsychology is a field which observes brain-behavior relationship. Classification of criminals is based on nervous system and brain.

Youth and Adolescent involvement in Gangs

The involvement of adolescents and youth in gangs has detrimental effects on the society. The gangs pose a threat to the people hence the question on which factors motivate the young people to join gangs needs to be answered. It is very important for parents, guardians and the law enforcement authorities to have a clear understanding on how youth gangs develop, which activities they are engaged in and which strategies can be implemented to address the problem of youth gangs. The formation of gangs is motivated by different reasons .Statistics indicate that gang membership increases the probability of an adolescent or youth to get engaged in crime. Based on the reason for the establishment of a gang, the activities undertaken by gang members vary. Getting involved in criminal activities puts the life and future of young people at risk. There is need for parents, guardians and social organizations to develop effective prevention and intervention strategies that should be implemented to address the issue.

The involvement of adolescents and youths in gangs has become a common phenomenon in many parts of the world. The presence of gangs dates back to the eighteenth century in countries such as the United States. Although large numbers of gangs are found in the urban areas, suburban areas, rural areas and small towns have also began experiencing the problem of youth gangs. Because adolescents like spending their time hanging out with their friends, juvenile delinquency which is often committed in a group leads to the formation of gangs.Due to the challenges that youths and adolescents encounter when growing up, some factors may increase the probability of becoming   gang members. In order to curb violence that is caused by gang members, many organizations in various countries have been formed to promote and coordinate efforts that support anti-gang strategies. Gang prevention, suppression and intervention strategies are very important in discouraging youths and adolescents from joining gangs. In this paper, factors that motivate young people to join gangs, activities undertaken by gangs and effective strategies that can solve the problem of youth gangs will be discussed.

Factors that motivate adolescents and youths to join gangs
Many youths and adolescents join gangs due to frustration, hopelessness and lack of an identity.  This can be attributed to the poverty and hopelessness that result from poor living standards and unemployment. When young people are unable to attain their psychological and physical needs, their pride and self worth is affected. This gives rise to a sense of hopelessness and lack for a purpose in life. Young people who are born and raised in poor families often feel frustrated and lack self confidence to improve their situation in life. This makes it easy for them to join gangs in order to get comfort from their peers in the gang who share similar problems. Furthermore, gangs that can help an individual to generate some income are usually very attractive to youths who are experiencing great financial problems. In many cases, youths and adolescents may feel that the problems that they experience leave them no choice but to join a gang. When their decision is based on this argument, they are compelled to join gangs because the idea of generating ones own income becomes overwhelming to some youths. This   is the reason why some youths become members of gangs that are involved in criminal activities that aim at generating some profit. Good examples are those gangs that are engaged in drug and arms trade, robbery and burglary. In some countries such as the united States, drug trafficking is promoted by the high number of drug users. Chicago and Los Angeles are two US cities where youth gang membership has been growing over the years. For example, in 1994, the two cities accounted for about 1,000 homicides.Young men and women who get recruited in the gangs find it rewarding when they sell arms or drugs to generate enough income to meet their needs.Unfortunately, many gang members in many cases end up being drug users. The use of drugs in adolescents and youths who are gang members has been linked to gang violence. Lack of purpose in life makes it very easy for the youths to be engaged in activities that harm other members of the society as well as themselves.
Youths and adolescents join gangs for self defense. In areas where there is a high level of insecurity, members of the society try to cope with the situation by defending themselves from the attackers .In the urban areas especially in shanties and slums and the areas surrounding them, there is a high level of insecurity due to the criminal activities that are witnessed .Robbery, rape and selling of drugs is common in areas where people live in extreme poverty as compared to other parts of a town or city. When some gang members give threats and become violent, the need for one to defend her or himself can compel some youths to join a gang. The members of rival gangs in an area have been   found to attack each other and sometimes kill to in order to intimidate others. Young people can therefore join gangs in order to defend themselves from the members of a gang that threatens them. When parents and guardians are unable to effectively monitor   the behavior of their children, the   possibility of getting involved in gangs without any detection is high. In addition, young people who live in gang prone neighborhoods and have their family members join gangs are likely to be motivated to join also. The fact that a family member belongs to a gang is a risk factor.
Discrimination and racism can increase the risk of young people joining a gang. The two promote systematic denial of privileges to a particular group of people. For instance, discrimination against a certain group of people in relation to the distribution of resources promotes hatred, hostility and poor relations between two groups. Because the youths and adolescents who belong to a discriminated group feel alienated, they can join gangs in order to create suffering for those they consider to be responsible their misfortunes, problems and suffering. Gang violence is a common phenomenon in many countries. Many gang members have been found to belong to families where they feel neglected.Furthemore, when the community fails to provide the youths and the adolescents with programs that act as an alternative to criminal activities and violence, the risk of becoming gang members increases. Statistics show that the age range of gang members is between 12 and 24 years. This confirms that many youths and adolescents who are gang members are engaged in criminal activities. Gang-related crime can be attributed to the proliferation of illegal weapons by the youth as well as drug abuse in schools.        
Gangs offer young people an opportunity to explore and search for the wrong solutions to their problems. The underclass status of minor groups in which some youths and adolescents belong to can push them to join gangs. This is because they feel marginalized and their effort to find a sense of identity takes the wrong direction. In addition, others consider a gang to be a group of young people which can assist them to solve problems that they are experiencing. For example, unemployment for the youth means that they cannot meet their needs and those who are not in school become idlers. As a result, getting engaged in the activities of a gang can be one way of finding temporary solutions to their problems. For example, the tribulations and trials of the adolescence can cause problems that a youth may try to solve by joining a gang. In some communities, young people may be coerced to join gangs even though they may not be interested in doing so. The youths may be born in families where some members have been involved in gangs hence relating with law-violating peers  or family members  makes it  easy for the youths to adopt deviant behaviour.For instance, peer pressure is considered to play a major role   in juvenile delinquency. The tendency of the young people to hang out together has great influence on their behavior because bad company means that the likelihood of one to engage in deviant behavior is very high (Miller, 1998).For example, having friends who use drugs and alcohol, engage in sexual activity at an early age or have anti-social behavior can have detrimental effects on a youth.                          
The media plays a vital role in the involvement of adolescents and youths in gangs. The media through movies and music motivate young people to join gangs when it fails to show the real dangers and threats that gangs pose to the youths. The desire to try out what they watch in movies encourages youths to become gang members because they do not fully understand the implications of   such a decision. Troubled family relationships, domestic violence and sexual abuse hinder proper development of a child .Children who grow up in abusive relationships have low self esteem. Problems at home may lead to poor performance at school and engagement of young people in crime and sexual activity at an early age. This increases the risk of youths joining gangs. Although youths are resilient and can resist joining gangs even when exposed to the risk factors, accumulation of risks increases the likelihood of joining gangs.

Types of Youth Gangs
Research studies show that different youths and adolescents join different types of gangs based on what they would like to achieve from becoming members. Corporate gangs in the society usually focus on generating money hence in this type of gang, there is a clear definition of division of labour.Criminal activities that corporate gang members get involved in are meant to secure financial rewards by generating profit. Good examples of such gangs are those gangs whose members sell drugs or engage in robbery to generate money. In the United States, some youth gangs have replaced traditional organized crime groups in cities. Young people who live  in  disadvantaged neighborhoods tend to stick together and are likely to  influence each other to join gangs when the opportunity to do so comes up.Territorial gangs on the other hand  operate within a given region or area. The gang members usually use violence either to protect or to secure any property that belongs to the gang. As compared to corporate gangs, territorial gangs lack a refined level of organization. A scavenger gangs are formed in order to offer their members some self-identity. They lack a complex organizational structure and in many cases, the crimes committed by the gang members seem senseless .The gang lacks well defined goals and objectives and therefore many of its members are often low achievers who choose to get into violent actions. Youth gangs use jewelry, colors, hair styles, hand-signals, slogans and graffiti for identification.

Activities that Youth gangs are engaged in
Many gang members are involved in drug trafficking and arms trade-In the United States, youth gang involvement in the sale of drugs in the 1980s can be attributed to the dramatic expansion of cocaine markets that was experienced then. As a result of the youth gangs involvement in the sale of drugs, members have been linked to gang violence. For   the gang members who are threatened by members of a certain gang, joining a rival gang becomes one of the ways of securing protection. Some youth gangs specialize in causing violence and studies that have been conducted in relation to youth violence indicate that   gang members have high levels of violence as compared to their delinquent peers who are not gang members. In the United Kingdom, a quarter of all gun crimes in 2007 were committed by youths under eighteen years. More than half of these crimes were gang-related, an indication that gang violence  cases are high.Group functions such as initiation in gangs are characterized by violence as a way of  strengthening the bond among gang members.Furthermore,some youth gangs support the use of violence for expression and  settling of disputes. The level of gang violence vary from one city or town to another and the youths and adolescents membership in gangs has led to gun ownership. Gang homicides take place in public settings and may involve drive-by shootings. The homicides promote retaliation attacks from other gangs, a situation that increases violence. Gang-related violence is meant to intimidate and increase fear among members of rival gangs. Some youth gangs may try to recruit members from schools when the need to do so arises.

Strategies that can help youths and adolescents from joining gangs
There are various strategies that can be used to prevent youths and adolescents from joining gangs. One of the most effective strategies is to educate the youth about the dangers of becoming gang members and increase public awareness on the issue of youth gangs. Another category of strategies comprises of intervention measures. These measures aim at assisting the youth to resist participating in crime. In addition, the strategies try to encourage youths who are already gang members to leave by offering them alternative solutions. For instance, counseling, conflict resolution, work study and after-school programs can assist the youth to keep away from gangs. Various programs  within the juvenile justice system should support  community based programs that can effectively address the issue of youth gangs.Suppression strategies can also be applied to  prevent the involvement of young people  in gangs. For example, procedures and policies to punish offenders or rehabilitate those who have already been involved in crime can be an effective solution to youth gangs. In cases where youths join gangs due to poverty caused by unemployment or unequal distribution of resources, creating employment for the youths and providing alternative activities to keep them busy can work well. There is need for governments to explore alternative and practical approach to the problem of youth gangs. The approach needs to integrate   intervention, control and prevention measures.

The involvement of adolescents and youths in gangs has become a serious problem in the society. Gang violence has young people engaged in illegal acts of violence against property, other people or rival gang members. There is need for the youths and adolescents to understand the implications of becoming gang members. Parents and guardians need to guide their children and monitor their behavior so that deviant behavior is corrected as early as possible. Although social agencies, government and schools have been interested in the issue, they have been unable to develop programs and policies that can effectively deal with the problem.

Loma Prieta 1989 Earthquake Rescue Efforts and Coordination of U.S Agencies

The 1989 earthquake in San Diego details amongst the most devastating earthquakes to ever occur in U.S history. Apart from the extensive damages caused by the quake, the costs incurred were similarly high. With a magnitude of 7.1, the quake was felt over a 400, 000 m2 area. Damages to the highway included the collapse of freeways which did not have strong reinforcement. The collapse of the Cypress street structure caused the death of forty two individuals. These were part of the overall fatalities which was sixty two. Numerous buildings were destroyed during and after the quake while also causing minor fatalities. Injuries amounted to 3750.

Disaster management strategies were activated immediately after the quake, resulting to the rescue of many lives and property. This paper seeks to provide an analysis of the preparedness, response, mitigation and recovery strategies used by U.S agencies involved in rescue efforts. The Loma Prieta earthquake has provided many practical lessons for disaster management which serves other areas prone to earthquakes.

Workplace disaster management programs which were a part of disaster preparedness in California contributed high to individuals immediate reactions to the quake. Individuals in schools and workplaces where exercise drills had been conducted were observed to seek self protection during the shake. The public education programs put in place were seen to impact greatly on how people responded to the quake. Immediately after the earthquake many agencies were mobilized to engage in rescue efforts. Organizations included such volunteer organizations like the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and local volunteer coordinating council. Even though these groups helped greatly in the search and rescue efforts they were relevantly disorganized. Prior planning of these groups has been identified as what contributed to their performance. However, most of the rescue efforts involved volunteers and community efforts. Due to the large numbers of people seeking to volunteer there emerged coordinating problems. Other coordinating problems were as a result of communication deficiencies between the organizations because of their use of different radio frequencies. The community was also unprepared in their lack of machinery and equipment for rescue efforts.

Although most intergovernmental disaster management efforts were disorganized they effectively handled the earthquake disaster. Federal agencies had been well prepared as they had always anticipated a major earthquake in the region. The Federal emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had funded the communitys emergency training and preparedness programs. They also offered recovery assistance to the victims of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Its adequate level of preparedness made response activities to be carried out with only few problems. Prior to the earthquake, FEMA had coordinated an exercise in California to test the disaster management plan. Following the earthquake a majority of people were displaced and had to seek refuge in state shelters. These shelters could not accommodate many people and they had to be released to go back to their homes earlier to make room for others.

Recovery from the earthquake depended on the residents capacities to rebuild their homes among other activities. FEMA was involved in the recovery process by funding for the rebuilding of homes. The agency had estimators consider the value of rebuilding costs. Complaints on these procedures were made on the basis that these estimators and field representatives were from other regions and their interaction with locals was limited due to this unfamiliarity. The California Natural Disaster Assistance Program funded only those people who had not received federal aid. Their procedures included first seeking federal aid and being denied which hindered immediate implementation of recovery strategies. The entire funding process can be observed to be inadequate for serving recovery strategies. The only people who experienced less hurdles when getting funds for rebuilding were those who had earthquake insurance. This could play a major role in future recovery strategies.

Housing for the low income earners detailed immense problems especially because most of them had been homeless prior to the quake. Their inability to rebuild created a dilemma especially after FEMA declared that they would not offer any financial assistance. Even other organizations failed to take up the responsibility. Pre-disaster plans had failed to allocate responsibilities to the state agencies. In addition, financial planning was limited due to the lack of preparedness for extensive costs. There are no agencies which are solely dedicated to reconstruction of houses and infrastructure which only heightens barriers to recovery strategies.

Mitigation strategies are very crucial to disaster management and where they had been considered during the 1989 San Diego earthquake, they were effective in limiting damages and fatalities. Disorganization of state agencies needs to be reversed through the provision of particular guidelines in order o foster organization. Other concerns brought on by this earthquake are the lack of adequate financial planning, reconstruction and other recovery programs. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake does offer great insights into future management of earthquakes and their effects.


Ethics in criminal justice can be defined as a form of art that examines principles and rules which are adhered to in making judgments concerning various offenses in a nation. Criminal justice ethics involves the principles and ethical rules that govern judges decisions in courts. There are two major ethical theories. These are deontological and teleological views to ethics. This paper therefore discusses how deontological ethics is applied to criminal justice.

Deontological Ethics
This theory encompasses moral rules that are normally non-consequential in approach. When the consequences of an action are not taken into account for any decision made, the rule will remain the rule regardless of the consequences. This theory considers the outcome of the decision as part of the initial decision process to avoid harsh outcomes. It advices that one must do things regardless of the circumstances or consequences considered to be a threat.

Application of Deontological Ethics in Criminal Justice
As illustrated earlier, deontological ethics highly bases on the action of the accused person. Actions that are inherently good but have bad consequences are still judged to be good. There are various types of deontological ethics. They include natural law, ethical formalism and finally religion. In ethical formalism, the accused persons intentions are thoroughly analyzed.

 For instance, Mary visits her neighbor only to find him struggling for breath and having chest pains. She quickly knows that her neighbor is suffering from heart attack. She calls the police who take some time before arriving. She remembers that her friend had told her of a similar situation where an aspirin tablet saved the situation. She rushes and buys an aspirin tablet and gives it to her neighbor.

The police arrive and take her neighbor to hospital but he is confirmed dead on arrival. After carrying out an autopsy, it is revealed that her neighbor reacted with the aspirin tablet and this caused his death and not the heart attack as she had thought. According to ethical formalism, she had the right intentions though there were bad consequences. This therefore resulted in the court ruling in her favor since it was ascertained that she had the right intentions.

It considers a wrong to be a wrong and a right to be a right no matter what the consequences are. In the recent past, there was the issue of Saddam Hussein who was put to death for accusations of diverse crimes to humanity. Looking at this aspect in the light of ethical formalism shows that it is wrong and that murder cannot be justified no matter what the reasons behind it.

Religion aspect of deontological ethics looks at an action carried out in the light of Gods will. This is where criminal justice is carried out after considering the action taken in relation to the Ten Commandments. This aspect of deontological theory usually faces a lot of criticism considering the fact that a nation can have diverse religions.

It is however highly applied in countries that are mono-religion based. That is, Muslim or purely Christian nations etc. For instance, a politician who goes out giving money to the poor and demands them to vote back is considered wrong since he has used the act of giving to the poor as a bribe for his personal gain.

The other aspect of deontological ethics is natural law. In this case, whatever is naturally acceptable is judged to be good. This is highly applicable in criminal justice carried out in many nations. This concept asserts that any action that is natural is good. For instance, if someone defends himself and in the process injures the attacker, then his action is considered good because it is natural.

An example is whereby a woman was tilling her land with her co-wifes nine months old baby and decided to place her in a nearby shade. When she went to check on her, she found a big snake just about to attack the child. In panic, she picked her hoe and threw towards the snake. The hoe missed the snake and instead hit the baby on the head. The child died on the spot.

Her co-wife accused her of murder but the court ruled in favor because of the aspect of the natural law. This is because she threw the hoe as an act of defending the baby which was a natural act. This is because a passerby witnessed the incident and confirmed that the snake was just about to attack the child. He later on killed it and showed it to the court.

Research has shown that the deontological ethics is highly applicable in criminal justice issues. Deontological ethics considers an action moral or immoral basing on the initial action and not the resultant consequences. There are various forms of deontological ethics. They include natural law, ethical formalism and religion.

 According to ethical formalism, an action is considered right or wrong depending on the initial intentions. If the intention was good, then the accused is not punished and vice versa. Religion judges actions in the light of the word of God. This is mostly in relation to the Ten Commandments. In this case, anything that is not backed by the word of God is wrong. The last is the concept of natural law. This is whereby whatever is naturally acceptable is judged to be good. It is highly used in criminal justice system of many nations across the globe.

U.S. Capitol Police

United States capitol police is a police force charged with the responsibility of protecting the United States Congress within the District of Columbia and all over the United States and its boundaries. It was created by the congress in 1828 because of the physical attack on the son of John Quincy Adams in the Capitol Rotunda. At the start of the force, it was composed of only five officers who were providing security to the Capitol Building. Its initial roles were to provide security for the United States capital. The mission of the United States capitol police was later stretched to include congressional community and their visitors with various police services. The security services provided by the United States capitol police are done through various specialty support units, foot and vehicle patrols, setting up fixed police posts, full time control and emergency response team, e.t.c. In 2007, United States capitol police had 1,700 members.

Currently, the responsibilities of United States capitol police include protecting lives and property of the public, preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities and ensuring traffic rules are followed in big congressional buildings, parks, and thorough fares are charged. The United States capitol police exclusively operate within the United States Capital Grounds and also have a link with other law enforcement agencies such as United States Park Police and the Metropolitan Police department of District of Columbia. In the District of Columbia, their area of operation is approximately 200 blocks around the complex. They have additional responsibility of protecting the members of congress, officers of congress, their families all over America, its territories and belongings, and the District of Columbia.

USCP has its recruits sent for initial training in Federal Law Enforcement Training Center which is found in Glynco. On some occasions, they can be sent to FLETC located in Artesia, NM, but this is not commonly done. After completing the 12 weeks training at FLETC, they are then sent to FLETC which is located in Cheltenham, MD for another 13 weeks training. After the recruits have received the training, they are then sworn in as law enforcement officers and are posted to one of the three divisions to start their work. At the level of training, the salary is 54, 000 but this is later increased to 56, 000 after graduation. After serving for about 30 months, there is promotion to the rank of private first class officer and the annual salary is raised to 63,000.

The United States capitol police have various ranks and insignia in its structures. The lowest rank in this law enforcement agency is private officer this is then followed by private officer with training who has one chevron. There is a private first class officer who has a chevron and rocker. There is also the rank of a technician, detective or Metropolitan Police officer, sergeant who is distinguished with 3 chevrons. Lieutenant has one gold bar, captain has 2 gold bars, inspector has 1 gold oak leaf, deputy chief has 2 stars, assistant chief 3 stars, and finally the highest post in this agency is the chief of the capitol police who has 4 stars.

Being a federal agency, the United States capitol police has numerous external entities. The entities include Government accounting office, office of the inspector general, and congressional committees which are charged with the responsibility of regular assessment and appraisal of the operational and the office running of the department. United States Capitol Police willingly requested for the CALEA Law enforcement Accreditation and they were awarded in 1999. After the initial accreditation, they have received accreditation twice and currently comply with 352 of the 463 standards. The department is currently very open to scrutiny and this enhances their mission which is to protect and provide security to the Congress for it to achieve their constitutional roles in a secure and open environment.  

United states Capitol Police officers have been killed while are on duty. The fondly remembered incident occurred in 1984 where a training incident resulted into death of Sergeant Christopher Eney. There was also a case of a mentally ill gunman called Russell Eugene Weston Jr. who shot dead Jacob Chestnut and detective John Gibson on July 24th, 1998. The two shot officers were laid in honor in the Rotunda awaiting their burial in Arlington National Cemetery. Chestnut became the first black American to be laid in honor in the Rotunda.

The United States capitol police, through the Capitol Police Board, have exclusive responsibility and control for policing US capitol buildings and grounds. Capitol police board is made up of sergeant at arms of the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives, and the Architect of the capitol.  Metropolitan police department are allowed by the law to carry out arrest within the capitol building and grounds for any unlawful activity. In contrary, metropolitan police department members are not allowed to make arrest, serve a warrant, or even patrol the capitol building without the authority of the United States Capitol Police. They are only responsible to the areas which are not under the jurisdiction of the capitol police, for example Capitol Buildings and Grounds.

Capitol police is allowed to carry out arrest and if not implement the laws of the united states, in addition to laws of district of Columbia in Capitol buildings and Grounds and other possessions under the control of the Architect of the capitol within the areas. Arrest can be carried out within the District of Columbia for any crime or violence committed in the full view of the capitol police officer when he is carrying out the official duties. Arrest can also be done to avoid looming loss of life or even injury to people, or damage to or even loss of a property when the capitol police officer is carrying out official duties. Arrest can still be made within the District of Columbia in relation to any crime of violence committed within the United States Capitol Grounds.

There are some procedural guidelines which the capitol police must follow when carrying out their duties. Investigations of criminal acts committed within the capitol buildings are done by the capitol police. The only types of cases they do not handle are homicide and serious sex crimes which are done by the metropolitan police department though they get assistance from the capitol police. Within the capitol police, there is a Civil Disturbance Unit which is charged with the responsibility of carrying out mass arrests within the United States capitol buildings and grounds. Capitol police has the right to use of the Washington Area Law Enforcement system and National Crime information Center. They are also allowed to use the Teletype system of the metropolitan police department to ferry information to the telecommunication branch and synchronized operations command center to feed the data.

Recently the United States capitol police have taken several bold steps towards increasing security around the capitol buildings. Some of the steps they have taken include retaining officers to shoot suspected suicide bombers in the head if other efforts to stop the attacker have flopped. These orders have been given out by the police chief Terrace Gainer. He has also decided to close a major thoroughfare and enforce about 14 vehicle check points on Capitol Hill.  There is also intensive training of capitol police officers together with the Israeli counterterrorism experts and bomb technicians. These are considered as major steps towards intensifying security measures.

Many federal law enforcement officials who are involved in counterterrorism work and others who work in Capitol Hill believes that the capitol was the main target of hijackings and of the September 11th attack, and is still considered as a major target for terrorist attacks. The officers believe coupled with anthrax and ricin attacks which were carried out in senate offices has elicited fear among many workers operating and living around Capitol Hill. From the time he took the leadership of the capitol police, Gainer has placed more emphasis on how to improve security services he is currently offering to 535 congress members.

Municipal courts

A municipal court is a court whose area of operation is limited to a specific municipality, county, community, or city. They are only mandated to preside over cases and offences which fall under their area of operation. Their main objectives are to administer justice in a manner considered fair, just and timely. They are also determined to protect the legal rights and liberties of citizens and protect the public interest. The kind of cases presided over by the municipal courts include traffic citation cases, landlord tenant cases, civil cases valued up to 15,000, and all small claims complaints valued up to 3000.

There are several advantages of being involved in municipal courts. Some of the advantages are these courts are less expensive compared to other courts. Their procedures tend to be less formal and are more user friendly. It is not easy for a person to be jailed by municipal courts except when the person fails to pay the fine charged. They also quicken the delivery of justice to petty offences which would have delayed in other court systems. Municipal courts resolve civil disputes which require no court hearing therefore they enable people with small disputes to reach a compromise faster.

Municipal courts are presided over by judges who are qualified therefore fear of ones case being handled by unqualified individuals is not there. The doctrine of judicial precedent is applied in municipal courts by the judge. This doctrine ensures that proper decision is made concerning the case being handled. Municipal courts have an appeal system should one of the parties feel unhappy with the decision passed. These courts offer legal representation to people with low income. Without the aid of municipal court, some cases involving boundaries take long before being resolved. It also ensures better enforcement of the law at the local level. Collection of fines from the court is made easier with municipal court. There is also a possibility of scheduling night sessions with municipal courts which eliminates piling of cases.

Municipal courts also have some disadvantages. These courts are expensive. Most of the cases receive high fines as compared to fines offered in other courts. Trials take long unlike in other courts. The process involved in municipal courts is a bit complicated.  Municipal courts are only operating during work days and these forces people to take some time off from their work to attend court hearings. The court set up of municipal courts may make someone feel uncomfortable when telling their story. It may also scare persons who have never been to a court before. Courts are created to help people but not to hurt them. In such courts even after winning the case, getting back your property or money is not assured. If you are not paid instantly or in installments as was agreed, the court can give an order called execution of judgment that will allow a local sheriff to try to collect for you at a small fee.

Municipal courts have many advantages as compared to disadvantages. These courts brings legal services closer to the people, also ensures law enforcement at local levels. In minor cases where court hearings are not necessary, municipal courts assist. Through such courts even people with low income are capable of getting legal representation. The few disadvantages of this court include uncomfortable set up, guarantee of getting your property back after ruling, and extra fees paid to court sheriffs.