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Police officers are allowed to use force while subduing criminals. However, a certain amount of force is illegal if it surpasses the reasonable levels. Therefore, excessive force goes beyond what is required to arrest a suspect and ensure that police and bystanders are safe. However, the precise definition of excessive force will vary depending on various jurisdictions. The use of excessive force has been a contentious issue and raises controversies within American policing. The repercussions of excessive force are severe and can be detrimental towards the society as well as the communities served by the police (Palmiotto and Unnithan 98). The essay describes how and why the police use excessive force while dealing with a violent suspect. It will also touch on liability and the use of force as well as the police reluctance to applying excessive force.
Controlling Police Use of Excessive Force
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Police organizations strive to minimize instances where employers use excessive force. This is attributable to the stringent hiring procedures that have been implemented by police agencies. Recruits are subjected to psychological screening, competitive testing as well as a detailed background check (Skolnick and Fyfe 87). This ensures that the police uphold their professional standards by bridging the gap between the police and the community. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, the police don’t use force because they rely on interpersonal communication skills. Most officers engaged into the use of excessive force tend to have problems at early stages of their police career or experience personality disorders that place them at chronic risks (Hays 98).
Controlling the use of excessive force will call for an intervention system that should be directed to different groups of officers at various levels of their careers. Officers should be taught how to control their emotions during volatile confrontations and force should be utilized as needed. However, in respect to the use of force, the integral thing is to determine whether the force has been justified and consistent with the criminal’s resistance (Gaines and Kappeler 112). The use of force while apprehending a criminal ought to conform to a certain protocol, which is always considered in cases of excessive force use. The protocol is embedded on a continuum of force, which should range from an officer’s presence, verbalization command, firm grips and pain compliance. If the criminal does not give in, an officer is legally allowed to impact techniques and the use of deadly force only if they can prove the criminal’s resistance (Hays 111).
Similarly, an internal review board can determine whether the officer has used excessive force. The board comprises of a chief district attorney, a supervisor and a judge just in case a civil lawsuit is filed. Even though it is uncommon for the police to use force, every force situation inherently causes liability as well as a potential for injury. However, the officer’s conduct should be objectively reasonable and the use of force should commensurate with the person’s resistance (Skolnick and Fyfe 96). Moreover, the officer’s intervention should be based on solid objectives such as detention, valid risks and detention. An officer ought to have appropriate language and behavior while upholding an objectively reasonable conduct.
Dealing with Police Use of Excessive Force
The use of excessive force might range from the use of physical force against a person who is already in custody. The force is excessive because the criminal is already in custody and this attests compliance, as this person hasn’t resist arrest. Excessive force also incorporates using force to intimidate a suspect or using a weapon against someone who does not have a weapon. Anybody can be a victim of excessive force and it is vital to be familiar with the protocol to be conformed when seeking justice (Gaines and Kappeler 89). There should be damages from the resulting injuries. One can file a lawsuit in a federal court and prove that a police officer has used force to violate their constitutional rights.
The proponents of state law have corresponding causes of action that protect similar interests of an individual in respect to interaction with police officers. In addition, the law accords an individual the prerogative to file a complaint and request an investigation of police’s activities. The investigations can be carried out by a police department (Skolnick and Fyfe 134). The repercussions of excessive force can cause serious injuries and this explains the importance of understanding legal rights and seeking compensation (Hays 123). Police officers who use unreasonable amounts of force create a negative image of themselves. Therefore, the community regards them as brutal police officers as opposed to service officers. Guidelines should be established to prevent a breakdown of the relationship between the society and their relationship with police officers.
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Liability and the Use of Force
Liability has been a major concern for law enforcement agencies as well as agency administrators. Therefore, they are always in the quest of cushioning themselves against liability by embracing good policies and procedures. There has also been an instigation of training lessons, which teach officers when they should use force and the best options, which are suited for different situations (Palmiotto and Unnithan 121). The training also outlines the permissible tools and weapons as well as showing officers what is expected of them. Scenarios involving different force options are used on a practical basis to make officers comfortable and familiar with each option. Agencies are also avoiding liability by compelling officers to adhere to relevant departmental policies, in case of failure of the latter they may be held criminally liable (Palmiotto and Unnithan 133). Some of the best policy practices are short and general guidelines, which are products of thoughtful analysis. The policies are also standardized and are a form of guidance to police officers.
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