We know that police officers use excessive force, and they also use their authority to verbally abuse people. So what causes police officers to abuse their authority, and (or) leads to brutality? One of the challenges with this is that not every citizen reports a police brutality, whether they see one happening, heard of one happening from their friends or family or if they themselves were a victim of one. Another challenging issue too is that we know some brutalities are not reported; therefore it makes it harder to measure those versus what is actually reported. Police brutality wouldn’t be an issue if we didn’t have to police our law enforcement officers.
The police personality fosters and “us vs. them” mentality that cops are always the good guys and everyone else is a potential bad guy (The Brotherhood). There is a subculture in Police work that in some cases can carry severe penalties towards officer’s if they were to “rat” on another officer. This subculture code of “Don’t give up another cop” has been described as the code of silence, or the blue curtain of secrecy (Pollock 119). In this subculture police officers are often ostracized or deemed unfaithful to the badge if they were to turn on another officer and testify against them during an investigation. Police officers must trust other officers to back them up in a struggle that could potentially be a life or death situation.
Personality Traits of a Police Officer Most police officer’s have a personality trait. These personality traits are that of authoritarianism, suspicion, hostility, insecurity, conservatism, and cynicism. These traits define what type of an officer he or she may be and how they handle life inside and outside of the station. Authoritarianism is where one feels the need to be authoritive to control situations. A police officer tends to be authoritive because of the constant danger he or she is in while on the job.
The citizens feel they are guilty until proven innocent. There can be uprising in communities where these actions are taking place causing more instability in high crime areas. When a suspect is arrested, they are more likely to resist arrest due to the perception that they may be abused while in custody. The law enforcement code and the cop code are tied to public perceptions on the role of law enforcement because the citizens believe the complete force is corrupt due to the actions of a few officers. The actions of just a few officers are put on the news for viewers to see.
Secondly, this group shares a common way of life. They share similar dangers, setbacks, and rewards that outsiders rarely see outside of the movies. Thirdly, these dangers foster an "us against them" mentality not just against criminals but politicians, bureaucrats and concerned citizens who are perceived as impediments to enforcing the law. Police administrators and the law specify the broad parameters within which officers operate, but the police subculture tells them how to go about their tasks, how hard to work, what kinds of relationships to have with their fellow officers and other categories of people with whom they interact, and how they should feel about police administrators, judges, laws, and the requirements and restrictions they impose. The effects of formal pressures and the pressures generated by the police subculture often lead police officers to experience a great deal of stress in their occupational, social, and family lives which can result in cynicism, burnout, and retirement, as well as other of physical and emotional ailments (Miller 45).
Concept of Police Personality Paper Police officers are faced with life and death situations on the daily basis, and at times this can alter the personality of that individual. The two types of personality traits and they are unique trait viewpoints, socialization and experience. The unique trait viewpoints are racism, authoritarianism, hostility, and loyalty. These are viewpoints that will enable a police officer at doing his or her job well. Socialization and experience are viewpoints that can go either way if debated.
A perfect example is in an Article “Police Hit a women directly in head for no reason,” A lady got serious head injuries after getting beaten in the head with a baton in the video. She is simply just complaining to the officer of her friend injuries after a riot had occurred without even attempting to attack the officer. This here is excessive force and should of not have escalated, there for this officer was using police brutality and not handling his job in a professional manner. This was an immoral act in his part he could have easily ignored her or advised her he would try and get her help that would have been the moral thing to do. (Police Brutality.info, 2008) When does police brutality begin?
Controlling Police Brutality The police have served an integral part in society as out protectors. Throughout the years, however, scholars as well as we citizens have begun to question the use of force, racism and internal corruption as well as other forms of misconduct by our officers of the law. The excessive use of force by police officers persists because of overwhelming barriers to their accountability. For instance, when police do get in trouble, it is normally a slap on the wrist, a lecture or loss of a vacation day as it stated in the article “Good Cop Bad Cop.” This fact makes it possible for officers who commit these violations to escape punishment and then often repeat their offenses. Every report of abuse is often met with denial or explanation of why the abuse was necessary instead of taking any real action like a suspension or removal of their badge in most cases.
Many civilians, including myself, believe that these police officers think they can do these things because they believe they are merely ‘’above the law.’’ This summer I was a victim of such crimes brought about by the New York Police Department. Due to the simple fact that I was only 16 years old and out late, I was seriously hospitalized and incarcerated. As I walked down a dark and discreet block with a friend of mine, I heard a deep voice bark at me. “Stay where you are!” I stopped in an instant, only to immediately get roundhouse punched across the face. Then I was maliciously thrown face first into the hood of the police car, cuffed accordingly, and repeatedly beat in the face a number
If someone has been in a lot of trouble with the law, they probably aren’t going to have very many good things to say about police officers. Where as if somebody is related to or close to a police officer, they might have a better perception. Police-community relations are very important for the police and for the community. The community needs to be able to trust the police and vice-versa. If an individual has a bad experience with a cop, they are going to tell everybody they know and therefore those people might form negative perceptions based off of that.