Criminal Justice 105
What is police misconduct? It can be defined as any action performed by a law enforcement officer that is unethical by established employment guidelines, unconstitutional, or a crime with in itself. When people hear the term “police misconduct” they automatically think of a police officer using unnecessary force against a civilian. While that is a form of police misconduct it is not only form. Throughout this paper I will bring light to the many types of police misconduct that can happen in the law enforcement industry.
While being a police officer, you have guidelines and rules that you need to follow just as if you worked as a chef or even a sales associate you have rules and regulations to follow while at the work place. For police officers though, the rules and regulation still apply while being off duty. Police enforcement officers may use their powers of arrest while off duty, and because of the danger of abusing those powers can cause to individuals and the community, police officers are supposed to be held to a higher standard of conduct, both on duty and off duty, than members of other occupations. Police misconduct can be broken down into 3 categories. Civil, procedural, and criminal. Which means a violation in department policies, a violation in constitutional protections or a violation of the law itself. Not to say that two can’t be broken in one action or even all three at once. Many departments have what is called a “use of force continuum” which establishes the rules on what type of force is permissible in response to specific actions that a suspect may perform. These policies are different from department to department. Some may permit officers to use force at the slightest sign of resistance yet others may specifically state that officers may not deploy certain types of force in response to resistance. One type of police misconduct can be the use of excessive force. This means that while a police officer is arresting a person, they use force that is not needed in taking the person in. This can happen in the form of beating a person while making the arrest or using any unnecessary force against the person. Sometimes police beatings can be racially based or can happen due to an argument between the officer and the person. The use of excessive force in the law enforcement industry is not tolerated in any form. If a police officer is found guilty in using unnecessary force on a person they will be terminated from their job. Using unnecessary force is one of the more know types of police misconduct being that when excessive force is used on a person there is normally charges pressed on the officer and the case is brought into court and therefore into the media. Another type of police misconduct is sexual harassment. This would be when a officer sexually harasses a male or female individual. Most sexual harassment case are from a male officer to a female victim. Some police officers like to take advantage of their authority and will go as far to rape individuals just because they feel that the fact that they are a police officer, they will be able to get away with it. A report done in 2010 showed that 6,613 law enforcement officers throughout the United States were involved with police misconduct. 9.3% was sexual harassment charges of police misconduct. Officer-involved sexual misconduct describes an entire subset of police misconduct that includes non criminal complaints such as consensual sexual activity that occurs while an officer is on-duty, sexual harassment, up to felonys of sexual assault or child molestation. Sexual misconduct was the second most common type of misconduct reported throughout 2010. 618 officers involved in sexual misconduct complaints during that time, 354 were involved in complaints that involved forcible non-consensual sexual activity such as sexual assault or sexual battery. Of the 479 alleged victims of serious...
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