Most of us have seen the videotape of constabulary officers viciously crushing Rodney King. But how typical was this behaviour? The Rodney King incident is non representative of most police officers around the state. Television shows. newscasts. and written media exacerbate the job when they do non concentrate on the felon as the root of the job. “ [ C ] urrent images of the constabulary are drawn mostly from telecasting plans bearing small resemblance to reality” ( Delattre 29 ) . Police ferociousness is a affair of serious concern. but it is non every bit prevalent as the media would hold us believe. Police ferociousness is non a national crisis.
Rodney King has become synonymous with police ferociousness. But what is police ferociousness? Bornstein states that “ [ P ] olice ferociousness is the usage of inordinate force by constabulary officers” ( 39 ) . Most constabularies are trained to utilize merely the minimal sum of force necessary to command a given state of affairs. The determination to utilize force is frequently made on a disconnected 2nd footing normally under hard fortunes. The boundaries between justified and inordinate force can sometimes be blurred under these fortunes. Under one set of fortunes. a peculiar action might be considered justified. but under differing fortunes. the same action might be considered ferociousness.
Most bulls do non like to ache people ; “…cops sometimes use unneeded force. They besides use extraordinary restraint” ( Sulc 80 ) . Many constabulary officers feel anguish after utilizing to the full justified force ; few take pleasance in it. There are great strains on single constabulary officers: viing duties. values. enticements. frights. and outlooks. Police officers are called on to be patient go-betweens. skilled healers. effectual monitors. make bolding offense combatants. obedient members of paramilitary bureaus. etc.
In the thick of these demands is the force inherent in constabulary work. Police officers frequently witness adult females battered by hubbies and fellows. kids burned and broken by parents. walkers maimed by rummy drivers. instructors raped by pupils. and guiltless aliens savaged by marauders in our streets. Even so. most constabularies do non hold a sand trap outlook. They go on the force cognizing what they will hold to meet. They like their occupations and are ready and able to stand the pressure–usually. Some constabulary adjust ill to the force per unit areas of constabulary work. They become misanthropic from the danger. the sensed failure of the system. and the repetitiousness of their work. Some constabulary officers desperation over the force. agony. hopelessness. and ignorance they encounter every twenty-four hours. Even so. the bulk of constabulary officers continue the public presentation of their responsibilities without fall backing to ferociousness. In malice of the earnestness of the publicised incidents. far more serious than constabulary ferociousness is the frequence of assault and slaying perpetrated against the constabulary.
Harmonizing to the U. S. Department of Justice’s Police Use of Force. 44. 6 million people. or 21 % of the population had face to confront contact with constabulary during 1996. Police contacts that resulted in the usage of force or the menace of force totaled merely five hundred 1000. or one per centum of the sum. Often times the usage of force was preceded by some provocative action. Criminals frequently threaten the officer. assail the officer. argue or interfere with an apprehension. posses a arm. seek to get away. elude. or resist apprehension. After accounting for justified usage of force. which is built-in in constabulary work. less than one one-fourth of one per centum of constabulary contacts resulted in questionable usage of force.
This is barely an epidemic. “Given the little figure of instances. a preliminary decision that could be drawn is that usage of force is rare in police-citizen contacts and it is frequently accompanied…by some perchance provocative behavior” ( Police 14 ) . On the impudent side. if the media attentions to describe the impudent side. 46. 695 constabulary officers were assaulted in 1996 ( United States 65 ) . ensuing in 14. 985 hurts and 55 deceases ( United States 3 ) . The statistics show that constabulary officers are brutalized three thousand seven hundred and sixty times more often than felons are.
Americans are good served with professional dedication and with frequent cases of physical bravery. The people who stand between force and the populace are the constabulary. Sometimes felons do non desire to collaborate. but constabularies are still expected to collar them. Most police officers abhor force and despise fellow officers who use inordinate force. Police ferociousness is non the epidemic we are led to believe it is. Let constabularies make their occupation. if they violate the jurisprudence. prosecute them as persons without reprobating every constabulary officer in the state.
Borenstein. Jerry. Police Brutality. New Jersey: Enslow. 1993.
Delattre. Edwin J. Character and Cops: Ethical motives in Policing. Washington. District of columbia: American Enterprise Institute of Public Policy Research. 1989.
“Police Use of Force” Bureau of Justice Statistics Website. 22 November 1998.
Sulc. Lawrence. “Police Brutality Is Not a Widespread Problem. ” Patroling the Police. Ed. Paul A. Winters. San Diego: 1995. 79.
United States. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation. Criminal Justice Information Services Division. Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted. Washington. DC: GPO. 1997