Chapter 6 reviews several selected critical issues facing law enforcement: the militarization of police, stress and burnout, gender and sex issues, and technology.
Topic: Use of Force
- According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, “use of force” is “the amount of effort required by police to compel compliance from an unwilling subject.”
- No one really knows what is meant by the “lawful use of force” because each incident is different, and it is impossible to cover all the circumstances in which police may use force.
- The expectation of how much and what type of force an officer will use in a given situation varies according to a number of factors, including the time of day, whether the officer is alone or working with a partner, the size and sex of the suspect, and the environment.
- Excessive use of force by the police is problematic in several ways. These include legal liability, physical injury or death, loss of citizen respect, and community reaction.
Topic: Militarization of Police
- Police officers are tasked with serving citizens and protecting them from each other, whereas the military is responsible for protecting citizens from foreign threats. This distinction is somewhat codified by the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act. However, there seems to be nothing preventing the police from using military-style tactics and equipment to enforce the law.
- The impetus for the increased militarization of policing was the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Citizens were willing to cede much more discretion to both national and local governments to prevent
- Police militarization often has the unintended consequences of alienating people from their own police. The militarization of the police and the war-on- crime analogy are most apparent in the SWAT divisions of police agencies.
Topic: Stress and Burnout
- The term
policeman's working personality
- explains how law enforcement officers participate in a police subculture that emphasizes different values from those of mainstream society.
- The key elements of the
policeman's working personality
- are the symbolic assailant, danger, social isolation, and solidarity.
- In 1972, the Knapp Commission issued a report on police corruption in New York City. The report made a distinction between meat-eaters and grass-eaters.
- Historically, illegal gambling, prostitution, prohibition, and other organized crime activities have been major sources of police corruption.
Topic: Policing and Technology
- Many of the recent innovations in law enforcement are related to law enforcement transparency, citizen safety, and the ability to acquire and store information about law-abiding people, suspects, and offenders.
- Body-worn cameras for police officers, less-than-lethal weapons, and information technology are new tools that have greatly affected policing in the United States.
Topic: Sex and Race
- Women are seen on virtually every large or medium-size police force. Still, women make up only about 12 percent of the total number of officers in local law enforcement, and departments in larger jurisdictions employ higher percentages of women than do smaller jurisdictions.
- People of color were first employed as police officers in New Orleans in 1805. During Reconstruction, former slaves enjoyed a brief period during which they performed the same type of law enforcement duties as whites. A new era of opportunity for people of color in all aspects of society began during the civil rights movement in the 1950s.
- Today, police officers of color can be found on virtually every large police force in the country. About 27 percent of local police officers are members of racial or ethnic minorities. Diversity has increased in all population categories since 1987. The law no longer allows police agencies to exclude job candidates based on race.