Use of Excessive Force by Police

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Use of Excessive Force by Police

Use of Excessive Force by Police Police officers are given a significant amount of discretion simply due to the nature of the job. Officers are faced with many threatening situations forcing them to react quickly, yet appropriately. They have the power to infringe upon any citizen’s rights to freedom and therefore they must use this power effectively. One major concern with the amount of discretion officers have is their power to decide when to use force or when to use lethal force. Manning (1997) argues that it is generally accepted that police should be allowed to use force. He also explains that there are an uncertain amount people who agree on as to what constitutes excessive force. The line between what is necessary and what is extreme is very thin and hard to see. Use of force is no doubt one of the most important aspects in policing; however, force should also be used with great discretion. The community policing style is defined by David Allender (2004) as a philosophy of full-service, personalized policing where the same officer patrols and works in the same are on a permanent basis, from a decentralized place, working in a proactive partnership with citizens to identify and solve problems. The most important factors to community policing include personalization, partnership and problem solving (Allender, 2004). The idea is to create a relationship with citizens that are both trustworthy and honest. When officers begin to use force to control the community, citizens begin to view officers as authority figures instead of service officers that are there to serve and protect. This results in a breakdown of the relationship between officers and the community. In community policing, force should only be used if other efforts are deemed ineffective. The use of force can include many different actions a police officer can…...

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