Police use of force scenarios have become rampant, and the Bureau of Justice in the past has reported having received multiple reports of police use of force and threatened use of force. The reports do not only fall in the hands of the criminal and justice department, but it happens to be captured by the media, which in return use the information to question the integrity of the police department, and often painting the negative and unrealistic picture of police and law enforcement (McMains & Mullins, 2014). The increased incidences of such complaints have raised the alarm, and there is need to revisit the issue, to find the most suitable solution. In this study, therefore, police use of force will be examined, and a reasonable solution to managing the problem will be explored.
The law enforcement department today is faced with multiple arising challenges in any environment when it comes to using of force. Law enforcers are entrusted with keeping law and order and today keeping order has become controversial especially with the rise of the firearm policies. Police have been caught up in doing the right thing and wrong especially in incidences where the criminal threaten other people's lives and when they resist arrest. The American law fourth amendment prohibits the police from using force especially on a suspect who is trying to flee the crime scene (MacDonald, 1990). As a result, the big question is when should police use force lawfully or should they be unprofessional and let the suspects escape in fear of being convicted for using power. Such controversies and prohibitions have caused the police a lot of critics, and therefore reasonable measures need to be applied to manage how police use force. Also, police require being better directed on when to apply force and when not to with reasonable reason.
Managing Police Force
Management of police use of force can be done through police education. The police need to be educated on the policing law, and the does and do not's in the department. Proper training of police gives them insight on when to apply which force strategy, as well learn to distinguish when a crime is not threatening and when one is threatening. The police need to know when to use which lethal weapon or force and when to avoid (MacDonald, 1990). Such learning help train how to use guns and apply combat tactics to prevent extreme injuries to the suspect and the society in general.
Apart from use of force, police and law enforcers need to be trained on the use of persuasion. Persuasion is an excellent tool to lure the suspect into cooperation. In the past, persuasion has proven successful in the investigation department, and during court processes, therefore, the method can be borrowed by police in their daily duties of keeping the community safe (McMains & Mullins, 2014). In a police and suspect incidence, the police can persuade the suspect by offering assurance citation for the suspect to be given a proper hearing in court. Also suspects with minor cases can be persuaded to appear in custody voluntarily reducing the potential application of force.
Public education is another valuable asset that can be applied to reduce the use of extreme force. In the past minority communities have acted violently when caught in the act of a crime by police rather than submitting voluntarily. The minority community often feels as if they are the primary target causing them to react, and as a result triggering the police in most cases to use force in return. Educating the society on the role of police create good corporation between the community and law enforcers and this help reduce violent retaliation by suspects because they learn to understand when the law is broken and possible consequences (Roberg, Crank & Kuykendall, 2000).
According to Roberg, Crank & Kuykendall (2000), the recruitment and selection of law enforcers should be fair and should create room for all person despite race and ethnicity. Involving every group of persons in the law enforcement makes people feel safe and involved. Therefore, in case of an incidence that requires police attention, it will be easy to track the suspect with minimal aggression and with the help of the community. Such a measure minimizes the use of force.
Use of body cameras by police is another measure that has proven effective. Although police are expected to know the law and act accordingly whether subjected to public eye or in privacy, body cameras have made the police and the suspects calmer and conscious with their aggressive actions. Each party is aware every incidence is being recorded, and right judgment will be provided based on the camera footage (McMains & Mullins, 2014). False allegations by police which are likely to intimidate suspects causing police apply aggression and force rarely happen in the presence of body cameras.
MacDonald, E. B. (1990). Graham v. Connor: A Reasonable Approach to Excessive Force Claims Against Police Officers. Pac. LJ, 22, 157.
McMains, M. J., & Mullins, W. C. (2014). Crisis negotiations: Managing critical incidents and hostage situations in law enforcement and corrections. Routledge.
Roberg, R. R., Crank, J. P., & Kuykendall, J. (2000). Police & society. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury.
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