Law enforcement term paper topics

Local and federal law enforcement challenges and events are always in the news and make good term paper topics.

Learn more on the topic of law enforcement. (Credit:

Learn more on the topic of law enforcement. (Credit:

Here are three good research paper topics in the field of law enforcement: the Oregon standoff, use of body cameras on police officers and women in law enforcement agencies.

Oregon standoff—a challenge to law enforcement

A good topic for your term paper is to discuss challenges that law enforcement must resolve, such as the unique situation of the Oregon standoff. Protesters took over several buildings at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protest the way the federal government decides land use. Local and federal law enforcement dealing with the situation want to wait out the protesters and resolve the issue peacefully and without bloodshed. However, people from all over the country, both for and against the protesters, are flocking to the area to offer their “help,” which the local authorities have not solicited and don’t want intruding or possibly adding to the disarray.

In “Oregon standoff: Unsolicited help flocks to Burns to ‘assist’ law enforcement,” by Luke Hammill posted January 10, 2016, in the Oregonian, Harney County Judge Steven E. Grasty remarked, “There’s armed militia, and they’re in our community.” Grasty said he was frustrated with the attempts by outsiders to speak for local residents or to perform the job of public safety officers. People have also offered to help be mediators between the protesters and law enforcement. Even out-of-state legislators arrived to offer help.

Body cameras for law enforcement

A serious topic right now in law enforcement is the use of body cameras. After high profile cases involving aggressive shooting and killing by police, many are calling for officers to wear body cameras. The benefits of body cameras include having a video record of the actual events that transpired, which would prevent police from misrepresenting what happened. South Carolina Senator Gerald Malloy (D) sponsored a bill to require statewide use of body cameras by police, in response to police chiefs who told him they want the cameras. “From their experience, I know citizen complaints go down, use of force goes down, and the videos provide good tools for training,” said Malloy in “Police Body Cams: Is a Video Worth More Than a Thousand Words?” by Rich Williams in State Legislatures, December 2015.

On the other side of the debate, some people believe that body cameras are an abuse of public surveillance, restrict free expression and invade the privacy of people who are doing nothing wrong, but might appear so in the sights of the video footage. Five states are studying the use and consequences of body cameras before they decide whether to require them for police officers.

Women in law enforcement

Another topic for your term paper is to discuss the advancement of women in law enforcement. While local police departments around the country are still dominated by men, women have made inroads into high positions in federal law enforcement. Women now head various prominent governmental organizations, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Park Police, the FBI’s Washington Field Office, U.S. Marshals Service and Amtrak Police Department.

According to Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum think tank, “This didn’t just happen. These are all career people and the products of a real push that began 25 years ago. It’s a turning point in the profession,” he said in “Women move into law enforcement’s highest ranks,” by Kevin Johnson, posted in USA Today December 2, 2015. With few or no female mentors to inspire them, some women were encouraged by male colleagues and some diligently worked their way up the ranks.

For more information, check out Questia’s library on Law Enforcement. 

What are some other prominent issues in law enforcement right now?

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