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Police perform a wide variety of roles in society. Discuss the multiple roles they must play in the course of their duties. In your opinion (and supported by evidence from the text and other sources of your demands of they choice), how do police departments best manage these responsibilities and prioritize while meeting the needs and many parties they must be accountable to.
Police officers perform multiple roles in the course of their duties to maintain law and order in their societies. They respond to disturbances calls and patrol surroundings with a primary goal of preventing crime. In an occurrence of a criminal act, police officers and detectives launch an investigation into the incident in order that the offender is brought to books (Police Officer Duty). In the process of an investigation, officers carryout several duties that aid in gathering factual evidence that assist to identify a suspect. The investigative responsibilities performed by both detectives and police officers assist prosecutors earn a conviction during trial of the offender.
The first role of the police in an investigation is gathering evidence. During a crime, officers are called to the scene to start the investigation. They carryout the survey of the area and immediate surrounding to get sense of what has taken place. They gather articles or objects that may seem relevant to the crime. For instance, blood evidence, other samples of bodily fluids which have DNA and fingerprints. This ensures that all forensic evidence that needs processing is taken to the laboratory and is kept with both technicians and forensic scientist till results are released.
Interviewing of witnesses is the next vital fundamental of police investigative process. Investigators start by interviewing witnesses who are present at the scene to find out what prevailed during the crime or can give information which may lead to potential suspects. Investigators often speak with neighbors, victims or victim’s friends, co-workers and family to reveal pertinent to the investigation.
Police officers also use record examination to investigate cases. They check records and other stored on formation to determine whether the suspects has a prior police records that link to the case. Investigators may use vehicle tracking systems on suspicious vehicles that were in the surrounding environs and study records to find out whether other locations needs to be searched.
The final stage on police’s investigation is interrogating suspects. Once the suspects have been identified, they are interrogated with a view of eliciting a confession. This needs a lot of skills together with sharp instincts from the investigators in order to be able to read suspects. Officers commence by creating a rapport with suspects so that a sense of trust is generated.
In order to be efficient in discharging their duties, police departments must have good leadership system. Perhaps this is the biggest challenge encountered by the police executives of current generation. They need to establish police organizations that can effectively acknowledge, associate and assimilate the world shifts in information, technology and culture. The system should observe workforce values, changing societal expectations, ethical standards, policing philosophies and governmental arrangements. The profession should ensure the continuing generation of enough pool of candidates who have the academic preparation, formal training and personal attributes to meet the current leadership.
Read the attached article from the Hartford Courant about a proposed bill in Connecticut that would protect the rights of citizens to film encounters with police. Discuss the pros and cons of each and state whether you think citizens should or should not have that right and why. Be sure to discuss the varying perspectives of all involved parties.
Police officers typically posses wide range of powers in discharging their responsibilities. The Constitutions and other laws put limit the extent of police officers in the process of enforcing the law. As shown on videotapes in Los Angeles and several current cases in New York, police in some instances go so far to the extent of even violating citizens’’ rights. A proposed bill in Connecticut that would protect the rights of citizens to film encounters with police contain civil right laws to guide citizens from police misconduct (Chevigny & Paul, 1991). The common allegations against police officers are malicious prosecution, use of physical force and false arrest.
False arrest is the most common allegation asserted against officers. When the police possessed probable cause in order to believe the person had done a crime in which case the right of the citizen has not been violated. In some states, police officers allow warrantless arrests for domestic assaults that are misdemeanor. Sometimes the police are not liable when he believed it was correct at the instance of the arrest when the information the officer relied upon turns out to be false. The bill will also protect citizens from malicious prosecution. In order to the above claim, the victim should be in a position show that the defendant police launched a criminal proceeding, there was no conviction, there was no probable cause and the proceeding was malicious towards the victim.
Claims of use of excessive force by the police is the other claim receiving most publicity, maybe due to the outrageous excessive force involving crucial physical injuries. Failure to intervene is the other claim facing police officers. An officer is charged with an obligation to guard a citizen from constitutional violation by a colleague.
This immunity defense of the public against the police officers on the other hand may have some shortcomings. Sometimes, these rights deter officers in charging their responsibilities from the fear of legal prosecution. There should be Qualified Immunity Defense. This would ensure that in order for an individual to win civil rights allegation against an officer must give the evidence that the behavior of the officer went beyond the defined limits thereby infringing in his constitutional rights.
Police officers are afforded a considerable amount of discretion in their daily work but are often widely criticized for their actions or decisions made. Discuss the various factors that influence an officer's discretion and what the potential consequences are if discretion gets out of hand.
Police discretion is usually limited to minor offences like traffic violation or public urination. In these instances, the officers have a choice to either fine or arrest the offender. However, several factors can influence an officer’s discretion during a given incident. They include suspect’s demeanor, suspect’s record, complaints, attitude of parents or guardians and system variables.
A police officer is likely to arrest a suspect who is disrespectful, unruly or uncooperative. People who are remorseful for their actions and show respect to the police are likely to get away with just a warning. According to Bouza (1990) demeanor is one of the most important factor to juvenile offenders in police discretion. The instances of previous police convictions are likely to weigh heavily on the police’s decision when dealing with offenders according to the Canadian Department of Justice. Complaints also influence officer’s discretion in the processes of investigating an offence. The attitudes of the offender’s guardians or parents may heavily influence the discretion an officer. Willingness by the parents to cooperate with an officer may lead to the action treated much more informal compared to when they are not involved.
Police encounters face decisions daily that do not have clear cut for response. Discretion forms part of the police decision-making in trying to fin solutions that do not have a defined path towards a solution. Discretion can lead to biasness a do-nothing situation and favoritism. The appearance of racial profiling, domestic violence and problems of indecisions are some of the shortcomings associated with police’s discretion.
Police officers are normally questioned on the use of their discretion as a tool to perpetuate unfairly targeting minority ethnic population in a society. Domestic violence is the other are where law enforcement officers discretion is frequently utilized. In cases where officers find uncooperative female victims it becomes difficult to get the correct version of the story from both parties. Indecision is the other major undoing of the police discretion. Police regulations suffer from oversimplification in cases where their discretion create realm of gray area.