The Role of Police in Society
It is widely regarded that the police in any given society have a difficult job to fulfill. Dealing with criminals and placing themselves in harms way on a day to day basis is indeed, an admirable calling. Although seen as difficult, there is an underlying sentiment in the general public that the job of law enforcement officers is relatively strightforward. Simply put, their job is to arrest the "bad guys". This is true to a point, a large part of their job is to arrest these so called "bad guys" however it is not as straightforward and simple as people would believe it to be. Police are faced with tough moral decisions on a day to day basis. They are to decide when and how to act when presented with violations of the law. They are given the use of force as a means of crime prevention but often times the very usage of this force is questioned and sometimes, deemed unnecessary or excessive. They are also faced with the possibility of conflict of interest cases. Moral dilemmas are also a large part of policing. How they are dealt with is ultimately up to the individual officers but the ramifications of their decisions can be extremely damaging to both themselves and the community at large. There are however certain measures and procedur
In an effort to curb the discretionary power used by police, there is a set of written procedures that are to be used as guidelines by officers as to how they are expected to act and conduct themselves. Providing a framework for police to follow is one method employed to try and counteract individual decision making by trying to prevent officers from deviating from procedure. Another method used to control police more thoroughly is the creation of watchdog units within the department. Often times this comes in the form of an internal affairs office. this is a department within a department which is strictly in existence to ensure that police are acting responsibly and investigate any allegations against officers that may arise.
Police are equipped in many ways to enforce there law. They are given weapons that enable them to effectively deal with those they find in violation, specific training as to how they are to carry out their enforcements and the laws themselves, which are guidelines as to how the members of any given society are expected to conduct themselves. Ultimately the burden rests upon the shoulders of the individual officer to use his or her discretion to recognize what constitutes a breach of law and the appropriate response that this actions warrants. There are certain traditions within police departments that govern how an individual officers discretion is to be used. Sometimes discretion comes in the form of strict adherence to the law while other times an officers discretion can be seen as abusive and a misuse of their allotted power. There remains however, an informal structure of discretion in almost all police departments that seems to make up the norms as to how an when discretion is used. Contrary to what you might think, it is actually the officers on the bottom rungs of the departmental hierarchy that have the power to exercise the most discretion, whereas command officers have relatively little leeway in their decision making. This is due to thefact that a command officers is more or less bound by strict orders of protocol and is there in a more managerial type role to see that the department operates smoothly and efficiently. A command officer also has much more to lose than an officer with little experience who walks the street and therefore must be much more careful when using his or her own individual discretion. Another discretional norm would be the notion that it is a physical, economical and mental impossibility for all laws to be enforced at all times. It is unreasonable to expect law enforcement to solve or prevent 100% of crime due to the simple lack of man power that would be needed to realize this. Also it would not be economically feasible to employ the number of officers it would take to accomplish such a goal and with the number of laws on the books consistently growing, some minor crimes will go unnoticed by officers because they are unable to recognize that a law has in fact been
Some topics in this essay:
Police, Law Enforcement Officers, Crime, Police Officer, Law, Constable, Confusion, Police Brutality, Use Of Force, Jedi,
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