Chapter 7 – Policing America: Issues and Ethics. Public Attitudes Toward the Police. What do people think of the police?. It depends on: whom you ask people’s prior experience. Qualities of a Successful Police Officer. Police officers require a rare combination of qualities and abilities:.
What do people think of the police?
Police officers require a rare combination of qualities and abilities:
Particularly important qualities are known as the three I’s of police selection.
Nearly as important are common sense and compassion.
Three qualities of the American police officer that seem to be of paramount importance are intelligence, integrity, and interaction skills.
A system of employment whereby an independent civil service commission, in cooperation with the city personnel section and the police department, sets employment qualifications, performance standards, and discipline procedures.
The police officer selection process often includes:
The final steps of selection are:
Many areas of policing remain topics of debate, particularly:
No list of policies and procedures could possibly guide police officers through all the situations in which they find themselves. Police routinely must use their own discretion.
The issue of police discretion is very controversial, particularly because some officers abuse their discretion.
The exercise of individual judgment, instead of formal rules, in making decisions.
Patrol officers routinely use their discretion in deciding:
A number of significant factors affect discretion:
Racial profilingis of growing concern to law enforcement officials and to the public.
Often stops are “justified” by minor equipment or moving traffic violations that might otherwise be ignored.
At the root of the practice is racial stereotyping.
Methods aimed at stopping racial profiling include:
Several methods are employed to control the amount of discretion exercised by police officers:
Police use force in order to control suspects. These encounters have caused police to sometimes use excessive force.
A measure of coercion beyond that necessary to control participants in a conflict.
The persistent use of excessive force by the police:
In 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court greatly restricted the conditions under which police can use deadly force.
Tennessee v. Garner
Nothing is more distasteful to the public than a police officer or a whole department gone bad.
Throughout history, police officers have bought their positions and promotions, sold protection, and ignored violations of the law for money.
Why is policing so susceptible to corruption?
The Knapp Commission in 1972 identified two kinds of corrupt officers:
Officers who occasionally engage in illegal and unethical activities, such as accepting small favors, gifts, or money for ignoring violations of the law during the course of their duties.
Officers who actively seek ways to make money illegally while on duty.
Ellwyn Stoddard identified a more complete list of police misconduct:
Some of the ways to control and reduce corruption in policing are: