Use of Excessive Force by Police

3642 Words Feb 12th, 2013 15 Pages
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
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Guidelines need to be set so that officers continue to incorporate and maintain the concept of community policing. Therefore, there must be information available to inform reader that police discretion not only encompasses use of police profiling, responses to domestic violence, or choices in acceptance of gratuities but discretionary decision to use force. When debating the issue of police use of force, the issue of what actions constitute too much force must also be addressed. Another concern is the possibility of corruption amount officers. When given such great power, the probability of corruption is high. Officers generally do not start out as corrupt, but years of work on the force can create animosity between officers and suspects and lead them to decide to use force more quickly (McEwen, 1996). Many times, officers patrol the streets alone which creates the opportunity for potential abuse of power (McEwen, 1996). Although police officers need to be permitted to exercise some discretion, they also need limits and guidelines to follow when using their powers of discretion (Manning, 1997). The decision to use force should not be taken lightly in that citizen’s lives are at stake. Police should be allowed discretion in decisions to use force; however, this discretion should be limited. In several cases in Arizona, officers have used deadly means of force. In all cases, the officers
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