31 Aug 2022


State and Local Law Enforcement Response to Transnational Crime

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Term Paper

Words: 1706

Pages: 6

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Importance of the Issue 

The interagency relationship between the local, state, and even federal law enforcement entities is weak and non-collaborative. In the United States, federal state, and local law enforcement agencies work autonomously. In most cases, each agency will carry out their investigation or response to a crime without the involvement of another. The result is strenuous crime management and pursuit courses as well as increased transnational crimes. Criminals have identified the loophole because rarely do the law enforcement agencies share the information, cooperate, or coordinate activities together. Coupled with the increased access to the internet and organized crime, transnational crime incidences in the US have been on the increase. This may impede effective crime control as an agency that has adequate information about a planned crime may be on the back foot. All agencies need to work together and bring to the table what they have to deal with transnational crimes. Federal agencies have the resources to fight such crime while the local agencies have the street intelligence among the community members. If the local agencies were to bring the intelligence to the table and the federal agencies bring the resources, response to transnational crimes would be easier, rapid, and more effective (Task Order, 2005). 

Opinions of the Authors 

Caliber Associates view the problem from the criminal and the broken law enforcement perspectives. Criminals have become more organized and are utilizing technology to advance their missions. They are also employing organized tactics and taking advantage of the diversity of the US populations around the borders to carry out their crimes. They are also highly mobile and pinning them in one place has become a difficult task. On the other hand, the police and law enforcement agencies in the US have failed to mount adequate repulsion because they do not coordinate activities together. Caliber Associates also hint at the need to collaborate with agencies from the neighboring countries. The international forces are yet to fully cooperate because of the factors such as corruption and the feeling of nationalism amongst officers (Task Order, 2005). 

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Methods Used and Sources of Data 

There are four main methods used for the four sources of data for the articles. Data sources include national surveys, TAG meeting transcripts, key informants and case scenarios. The method used for each data sources include secondary analysis of the data from the national survey, analyzing the content of the TAG meeting transcripts, key informant interviews, and analyses of case scenarios. The main reason for choosing case scenarios, transcripts and informants is to get the data from the most knowledgeable of people in the field. This method was considered quick and reliable since the data was required within a short period. The cost of the project was also put into consideration; it is a low-cost method as compared to empirical methods where one has to conduct surveys and collect data (Task Order, 2005). 


No sample participants were selected by the conventional methods such as random or systematic sampling. Instead, a few experts were chosen as representative of the broad law enforcement community. Participants were chosen from the local, states, federal and international agencies and most of them had over 20 years of experience in the law enforcement field. They were also selected from all levels of operation such us the street and office levels, line and supervisory levels, etc. It was an all-inclusive method to get information from the participants' experiences in their capacities. It also included the trainers, prosecutors, researchers and practitioners from several parts of the country and Canada (Task Order, 2005). The projected outcome was to get as diverse views as possible from the participants. The secondary data was obtained from a previous report by the Abt Associates. It was a study that involved participants from 43 of the 50 states. The data also focused on 12 metropolitan areas as well as border regions and the coastal sections which are considered high risk for transnational crime. The variation in duties, places of origin and agencies to which they belong would ensure that they bring to board different experiences, opinions, views and solutions to the menace that is proving tough to crack. There is expected collaboration between forces at the national (state and federal forces) and international (The United States and other countries) levels to curb the crimes. With increased collaboration, there should be better preventive mechanisms and reduced incidences of crime rather than reacting to a crime that has taken place (Task Order, 2005). 


There were no differences in the types of transitional crimes from the different region where data was collected. Proximity to the border too did not have any significance to the types of crimes carried out across the United States. There are also technical and procedural factors that hinder identification and response to crimes. State and federal forces have different missions, and each works towards the fulfillment of theirs. Cooperation and sharing of information is also scanty and thus little progress is made over time. At times, the crimes that are investigated at a particular time are mane and stretch the few resources that are available (Task Order, 2005). Finances, personnel, technological gadgets, etc. become limited in some cases. In the end, there could be knowledge of impending crime, but the agencies lack adequate ability to intercept and prevent damages. Sometimes, several agencies are involved in many cases and become busy to respond to calls and even send back feedback so that they lines of communication remain open. 

There is need for establishment of mechanisms that improve the collaboration between the agencies and other relevant groups. Crimes take place in the community, and the members know some of the perpetrators. This fact makes it necessary for the law enforcement agencies to involve them in identification and operations as they might have leading information. Once all the relevant parties are identified, protocols need to be set so that the communication, feedback, crime response activities and follow-up procedures are put in place (Task Order, 2005). That way, each party will have to pay their roles adequately and make significant contributions to the course. The people who are involved in law enforcement should be adequately trained so that they understand the scope of the problems, know their work well and improve their skills and knowledge and as a result make viable contributions to the fight giant transnational crime in the country. 

The key informants stated that the local and state forces know that there exists the transnational crime in the US. The experiences they have with such crimes is however down to each officer. It depends on their level of exposure to the problem that they may have gotten from working with federal colleagues and their first-hand interaction with such criminals. For example, the officers living near borders are likely to know more about the problems than those that live in the interior places. They also agreed that a significant number of the law enforcing agencies do their best to combat transnational crime. The local and state law enforcement officer may lack adequate skills, knowledge, and expertise to identify and respond to such crimes effectively. Lastly, they also acknowledge that there is little or no technological advancement in crime database management making it difficult to follow cases closely. Improvement in technology would help so much in enhancing collaborations as it is easy to share information and receive feedbacks from other agencies (Task Order, 2005). 

What the Findings Defend 

These findings are very crucial in informing the relevant authorities and stakeholders in the national security sector to make the necessary changes. There is need for improvement if the forces have to overcome transnational crime in the United States collectively. Many loopholes make it easy for the criminals to operate without difficulty. The forces have remained with the option of responding to the crimes that have already taken place. If improvements are made as in the findings, there is a possibility to attain the preventive cause and stop crimes before they take place. 

Discussion and Implications 

It is necessary that the local and federal governments look into the issue with urgency and come up with mechanisms that are will improve the situation. Transnational crimes have been on the rise in the recent past, and if not controlled, it may get out of hand. There should be a way of enhancing identification and response, but that can only be achieved with adequate input regarding resources. As noticed, the personnel are few, and there is a possibility of slow response to crime tip-offs and incidences. Training more staff in with focus on transnational crime should be the goal of the federal governments. Secondly, the forces involved in identifying, preventing or responding to crime need to agree on how to approach the action. The state, local and federal law enforcement agencies can come to gather and select teams from the members (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, n.d). Each team is then assigned a particular area where they concentrate their efforts and operations. There should be frequent sharing of information to a common database where all the other teams can access (Reichel & Albanese, 2013). 

Crime identification and response is an area that the US has done well so far. However, the fluidity and constant motion of the transnational crime perpetrators is proving a problem that needs increasing focus and investment. There also seems to be a need for international collaboration so as to allow pursuit of criminals into the neighboring countries (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, n.d). 

In future, work should be directed at preventing the movement of offenders from one country to another by improving security at the borders and other points of entry such as airports. If the governments invest in upgrading the law enforcement agencies, there is a possibility that most of the transnational crimes that exist today will be stopped in the near future. The war should also focus on the points of contact with the criminals in the US. It is well organized, and some people play the informant roles for them and hide them while in the country (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, n.d). Investigations should also focus on such people as they can lead to major arrests. There is also need to have the agencies for the US and those from other countries have sessions together so that they establish a common ground on how to approach the issue. The differences in operational procedures and missions across the countries significantly affect the process. A standard protocol can be of great use in future. 

The problem of transnational crime can also be examined by relating the findings in the US and comparing them to other nations. They are crimes that affect several countries, and the magnitude could be greater, smaller or similar in the US as in any other country. Another aspect would be to identify the associates of criminals and using them to set up the kingpins. This would involve training some people and send them into the places where much of the crimes occurred or are planned. They can join the crime gangs and would be relaying information to the allied forces. After arrests of the crime perpetrators, they could be assigned other assignments. 


Reichel, P., & Albanese, J. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of transnational crime and justice. Sage publications. 

Task Order, T. (2005). State And Local Law Enforcement Response To Transnational Crime–. 

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (n.d). Law Enforcement . Retrieved April 1, 2017 from https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/organized-crime/law-enforcement.html 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). State and Local Law Enforcement Response to Transnational Crime.


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