Question 1 of 4
The situational variables in legal and law enforcement cases give the police power and authority since the officer can give leeway to rely on to impact the people they police positively. It is vital to note that an effective and efficient criminal justice system is dependent on police discretion (Schulenberg, 2015). The seriousness of a crime is a situational variable that influences decision making by the police. As the seriousness in crime increases, then the police discretion capability increases. For instance, police ability and power to make decisions on court cases will increase in a murder case.
The presence of a weapon in the commission of a crime as a situational variable is a significant decision making aspect among the police. The police use a weapon with a lot of seriousness due to the potential increase in the harm resulting from the weapon use (Schulenberg, 2015). The use of a weapon inclines the police to press the suspect’s harsh charges to create a deterrent effect on other members of society regarding irresponsible use of weapons or weapons in the commission of a crime. For instance, in the cases that crime is committed using a weapon, most police classify it as a serious indictable offense, thus indicating the crime’s seriousness.
The harm done to a victim or property has a significant impact on decision making by the police. According to Tasdoven and Kapucu (2013), the extent of harm done to a person or a property enhances a minor or major classification of a crime. The seriousness in the crime is dependent on the victim’s psychological and physical harm, thus inclining the police to press charges in the interest of retribution and the common good. For instance, in cases where the victim’s harm has relatively low harm, the police adopt alternative measures to ensure that the crime is informally addressed.
A victim’s role as a situational variable in crime significantly affects police decisions in pressing charges and taking legal and law enforcement decisions. The victim’s role can be evaluated from the type of crime, victim preferences, and the relationship existing between the victim and the offender to determine the extent of crime. The victim’s role is determined by the offender’s role in the decision-making process and the suspect’s actual act in the commission of a crime (Tasdoven and Kapucu, 2013). For instance, if the victim is whole and directly connected to the crime, then there is a high chance that charges will be pressed instead of when the suspect is viewed as a third party or a stranger in a crime.
Question 2 of 4
Police engage in a wide range of unethical behaviors, amounting to an abuse of authority, making the police legally liable for their actions. In this regard, police engage in police a wide range of misconducts punishable under the law such as excessive force, physical assault, sexual misconduct, false arrest, theft, obstruction of justice and deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.
Police can be punished by serving jail terms of up to life imprisonment for their different conduct, just as the usual criminals serve jail terms. The police are involved in unethical behaviors such as excessive force (Pollock and Reynolds, 2015). If the victim of police brutality or use of force dies, the police can be punished with life imprisonment charges. In this case, the police face charges under Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 241 or 242 that prescribe charges for excessive force by police officers. For instance, in the case of Rodney King being beaten by the law enforcers, officer Powell and Koon faced 30 months for their role in the encounter.
Punitive rewards are also given to the plaintiff if an officer is involved in an unethical behavior against the victim to punish the officer. The punitive awards against an officer are prescribed under Title 42 of the U.S. Code Section 1983 or 1985. The punitive damages are the officer’s responsibility, especially when the police department or the Police unions fail to pay since insurance companies do not cover officers against punitive damages (Fitch, 2011).
Police legal consequences for unethical behaviors are characterized by fines, penalties, serving jail terms or life imprisonment. However, the respective police department can view administrative or departmental charges or be recommended by courts such as demotion, suspension, and firing.
Question 3 of 4
The police leaders and executives must generate strategies directed towards improving public perception of law enforcement to achieve the highest levels of public relations. Effective law enforcement practices and operations ensure that police officer can conduct their duties and responsibilities in a conducive environment with cooperation and coordination with the public’s members. First, creating a community immersion ensures that police officers are immersed in the communities for continued interactions and coordination between law enforcers and the public (Kyle and White, 2017). Community policing models include forming community partnerships and coalitions with community leaders to build relations, especially in cases where there are tensions. Other activities that increase community immersion include conducting regular neighborhood visits and contacts and checking local businesses’ neighborhood programs and community programs.
The leaders need to understand the background differences and cultural sensitivity to ensure that the police handle cultural issues in the best way and the common good’s interest while considering the interests and issues of every party concerned. People and groups in society have different backgrounds and upbringing that are differentiated by cultures, environments, and conditions. Therefore, there is a need to treat and handle people according to social cues and internal and external influences as opposed to giving much concentration on statute and ordinance parameters (Kyle and White, 2017). This approach enables law enforcement to blend effectively with the people and communities; thus, they can achieve public cooperation in law enforcement.
The police leaders need to train and enhance their officers to employ transactional communication models and active listening to the people to clear a clear and excellent understanding between the two parties. Officers need to employ interpersonal communication to handle dynamic situations, achieving a great sense of compliance in civil activities (Meares, 2017). Opposition and conflict exist in society in adopting changes and implementing law enforcement duties and responsibilities. Thus, the officers concerned using transactional communication and active listening approaches to issues improve public relations between law enforcement officers and society members. The police need to use media influence in achieving public relations with society. Therefore, the media can communicate law enforcement policies and invite public participation and engagement to ensure that such policies are supported in society.
Question 4 of 4
Community policing enhances the effective and close alliances between the police and the society, thus, in the course of carrying out social and civil responsibilities. In this regard, community policing has a wide range of positive impacts on police and community relations (Peyton, Sierra and Rand, 2019). In this case, community policing establishes close and effective alliances among the police and the public, thus facilitating effective response to the community issues, and improving police-community relations. Community policing enhances a coordinated approach to solving societal problems and issues.
Community policing provides an opportunity for consistent improvement of police relations. The police will be able to increase police services satisfaction due to increased cooperation of the public in the course of dispensing police-related duties and responsibilities (Peyton, Sierra and Rand, 2019). For instance, community policing enables the society to share security information with the police such that police intelligence is always informed.
There are drawbacks experienced in the implementation of community policing. In this case, the presence of hostility between the police and the community prevents productive partnerships. Conflicts between police and the community make it impossible to implement community policing at the expense of public good (Black and Kari, 2010). Additionally, Community policing increases the police autonomy to make decisions, thus creating vulnerability and gaps that allow police corruption. Police corruption makes it impossible to implement law enforcement operations objectively. Moreover, resistance and conflict in police organizations fail in the implementation of community policing.
Black, P. J., & Kari, C. J. (2010). Policing diverse communities: Do gender and minority status make a difference?. Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, 8(3), 216-229.
Fitch, B. D. (2011). Rethinking ethics in law enforcement. FBI L. Enforcement Bull., 80, 18.
Kyle, M. J., & White, D. R. (2017). The impact of law enforcement officer perceptions of organizational justice on their attitudes regarding body-worn cameras. Journal of crime and justice, 40(1), 68-83.
Meares, T. L. (2017). The path forward: Improving the dynamics of community-police relationships to achieve effective law enforcement policies. Columbia Law Review, 117(5), 1355-1368.
Peyton, K., Sierra-Arévalo, M., & Rand, D. G. (2019). A field experiment on community policing and police legitimacy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(40), 19894-19898.
Pollock, J. M., & Reynolds, P. D. (2015). Ethics and law enforcement. Critical issues in policing: Contemporary readings, 183-215.
Schulenberg, J. L. (2015). Moving beyond arrest and reconceptualizing police discretion: An investigation into the factors affecting conversation, assistance, and criminal charges. Police Quarterly, 18(3), 244-271.
Tasdoven, H., & Kapucu, N. (2013). Personal perceptions and organizational factors are influencing police discretion: evidence from the Turkish National Police. International review of administrative sciences, 79(3), 523-543.