The Future of Law Enforcement: Advancing Your Career with an Online Criminal Justice Degree

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The actions of law enforcement have been under increased scrutiny over the last decade. These events, combined with a changing demographic and advanced technologies, are shifting the foundation of how police operate and interact with the communities they serve. Body-worn cameras, accessible public records, and strengthened civilian oversight are some initiatives reshaping policing. Other emerging issues include geofence warrants and the balance between effective crime investigation and privacy rights for citizens.


In recent years, highly publicized incidents involving law enforcement officers and the citizens they serve have put police departments in the spotlight. Many are seeking to change their methods and approaches to address these issues better, and they’re also trying to recruit and retain qualified officers in a time of declining anti-police sentiment and low starting compensation for the field. Having an online bachelors in criminal justice will help you remain on the cutting edge. Many online programs offer an accelerated program structure that allows you to take courses every 7 or 8 weeks, rather than the traditional 16-week sessions. However, it’s essential to remember that online learning is still hard work and requires time and energy. The future of law enforcement will continue to focus on building strong community ties, using collaborative problem-solving strategies, and proactive engagement with residents to address safety concerns. It will also prioritize efforts to reshape sentencing policies and grow local reentry programs emphasizing rehabilitation over punitive measures.


Law enforcement professionals are under more scrutiny than ever, which has caused a rethink of traditional policing methods. New advanced technologies and shifting relationships with the communities they serve are affecting everything from police accountability to de-escalation training. Technology will also continue to change the criminal landscape as cybercrime and dark web marketplaces evolve with new communication methods. It will require officers to have a deeper understanding of these platforms and how they work to solve or prevent crimes on their watch effectively. Integrated systems will also help to streamline law enforcement processes and workflows, reducing the amount of manual data entry and transfer between tools. It will allow more time on critical tasks such as responding to incidents or conducting investigations. These systems can also be updated quickly, ensuring that law enforcement agencies stay ahead of the curve regarding new technology.

Community Engagement

Since the shootings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, large-scale protests have erupted in cities across America. These high-profile fatal encounters have focused attention on underlying issues of police and community engagement. As technology advances, law enforcement agencies find new ways to interact with communities. Some community policing models focus on building relationships through town hall meetings, citizen academies, and other community outreach programs. Others incorporate crime-prevention strategies that address the root causes of crime.

Other reforms include ending the criminalization of poverty, homelessness, and addiction—things that are often first responded to by police officers, further stigmatizing those who need help. Police departments are also focusing on reshaping sentencing policies and growing local reentry programs for incarcerated individuals.


The rapid pace of change in society is shifting how law enforcement operates. From new advanced technologies like facial recognition, predictive analytics, and gunshot detection systems to heightened levels of accountability for police through body-worn cameras, accessible public records, and civilian solid oversight measures, many changes may impact policing in 2024. Integrated technology can help agencies adapt to the changes that are ahead. For example, an agency can save money and time while maintaining high functionality by using a single system that performs multiple functions rather than a set of individual systems designed to fulfill distinct functions.

If you want to serve your community with dedication and integrity, criminal justice leadership positions may be a career path to consider. The 100% online Criminal Justice BA program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University can equip you with the knowledge and credentials needed to succeed as a leader at the municipal, state, or federal levels.

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