This essay Police officers are given a significant amount of has a total of 3476 words and 15 pages.
Police officers are given a significant amount of discretion simply due to the nature of the job. Officers are faced with many threatening situations forcing them to react quickly yet appropriately. They have the power to infringe upon any citizen's rights to freedom and therefore they must use this power effectively. One major concern with the amount of discretion officers have is their power to decide when to use force or when to use lethal force. Manning (1997:295) argues that it is generally accepted that police should be allowed to use force. He also explains that there is an uncertainty among people as to what constitutes excessive force. The line between what is necessary and what is extreme is very thin. Use of force is no doubt one important aspect in policing; however, force should also be used with great discretion. If officers do not use force on every suspect they encounter they may be creating a negative environment for the community.
The community policing style is defined by David M. Allender as (2004:18-19),
?Community policing is a philosophy of full-service, personalized policing where the same officer patrols and works in the same area on a permanent basis, from a decentralized place, working in a proactive partnership with citizens to identify and solve problems.?
The most important factors to community policing include personalization, partnership and problem-solving (Allender, 2004:19). The idea is to create a relationship with citizens that is trustworthy and honest. When officers begin to use force to control the community, citizens began to view officers as authority figures instead of service officers that are there to protect and serve. This results in a break down of the relationship between officers and the community. In community policing force should only be used if other efforts are deemed ineffective.
The use of force can pertain many different actions a police officer participates in. Force can range from simply verbal commands to the dangerous use of lethal force. Police no doubt need to have discretion to use force to protect themselves as well as community. Guidelines need to be set so that officers continue to incorporate and maintain the concept of community policing. The purpose of this article is to inform readers that police discretion not only encompasses use of police profiling, responses to domestic violence, or choices in acceptance of gratuities but discretionary decision to use force.
When debating the issue of police use of force we also need to address the issue of what action?s constitute too much force. Another concern is the possibility of corruption among officers. When given such great power the probability of corruption is high. Officers generally do not start out as corrupt; years of work on the force can create animosity between officers and suspects and lead them to decide to use force more quickly (McEwen 1996: 26). Many times officers patrol the streets alone creating, opportunity for potential abuse of power. (McEwen 1996:10). Although police officers need to be permitted to exercise some discretion, they also need limits and guidelines to follow when using their powers of discretion. (Manning 1997:295.) The decision to use force should not be taken lightly in that citizen?s lives are at stake. Police should be allowed discretion in decisions to use force: however, this discretion should be limited. In several cases her in Arizona officers have used deadly means of force. In all cases the officers involved dealt with ethical issues of whether or not to use such force. In many cases they were face with a highly stressful situation. By setting guidelines for these officers to follow, possibilities fro misuse or abuse may be reduced. This article will cover the use of force and the discretion police officers rely upon when deciding when to use such force. It will also examine possible guidelines set to limit too much discretion for officers to abuse.
Measurement of force:
According to the Center of Study of Ethics in the Professions (2003:7), force should only be used with restrictions and only after discussions, negotiations and persuasions have taken place and have been found ineffective. The use of force is inevitable sometimes; however, an officer must take all precautions when applying force. They
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