Qualities of Good Criminal Justice Professionals

Martin Luther King said, “… human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable...Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

Are you interested in making a difference? Maybe you have a passion for helping others in the service to your community, or maybe you know what it means to tirelessly lead when others will call it quits. These are just two of the basic qualities necessary that could put you on the path for a rewarding and challenging career in criminal justice. Now, are you interested?

In 2009, violent crimes in the United States measured more than 1.3 million incidents, and property crime measured more than 9.3 million offenses. In 2009, larceny-theft accounted for almost 68 percent of all property crimes, while burglary accounted for nearly 24 percent and motor vehicle theft for another 8 percent. These property crimes also resulted in losses estimated at over $15 billion to the economy.

The role of the criminal justice professional is to protect and to serve our society in enforcing the laws that govern our great nation. It is a high calling, but a worthy one, that can bring you a rewarding occupation and a deeply personal feeling of pride, honor, integrity, and character in a career dedicated to public service. Webster’s dictionary defines “integrity” as, “… a strict adherence to a standard value or conduct … a personal honesty and independence.” Fighting crime, and adhering to the nation’s laws in order to fight that crime, takes integrity. There is a deep public trust in those that take up the charge to defend justice and to uphold the laws that govern us without prejudice or partiality. The term “character” is a quality that distinguishes one individual from another through their behavior. Character is developed, and it is ingrained. It becomes our very core and our essence of being through a continual practice of habit. Developing one’s character is a true lifelong process. These traits of moral integrity and honest character are at the core of a truly committed criminal justice professional.

Qualities of Good Criminal Justice Professionals

An educated individual that begins with a Criminal Justice degree, along with the best of professional training, is what allows a criminal justice professional to process and apply discretion within the daily stress of their service and protection of our society. These professionals also have an education in the complexities of the legal system where they must bring a true sense of impartiality and a true sense of honesty in applying that knowledge to each investigative case or incident that they are called upon to attend and administer. The ability to think with a straight forward and logical approach to an issue, while even under duress, is what makes a criminal justice professional different from others when it comes to mastering a problem or solving a mystery. Even the ability to think outside of the box is a complementary trait that must be invoked at times by the criminal justice professional in order to get the job done. An understanding in the nuances of societal communication is a skillful art that must be mastered.

Our system of criminal justice also focuses on the definitions, causes and prevention of crime, along with a legal process that tries to implement methods of treatment and rehabilitation to those offenders. This means that criminal justice professionals will need to respond with restraint and compassion at times when all of their other senses could be saying quite the contrary. A strong consciousness of doing the right thing, on the basis of a moral and ethical approach, must always be at the forefront of their thinking.

Martin Luther King understood the role and the importance of the criminal justice professional in society when he stated, “… law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”

If you have the right qualities of integrity and character, you can truly make a difference in society with a planned career in any of the many fields of criminal justice. An education that culminates with a Criminal Justice degree can be your first step in that pursuit.

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