CH. 5 Power Point

Topics: Police, Constable, Crime Pages: 15 (1614 words) Published: February 23, 2014
The Role of Police in Society
Lecture slides prepared by Lisa J. Taylor

Abuse of Power by Police
The majority of police officers are professional and ethical. However, a small minority abuse their power. This leads to
close scrutiny by the public of all police.
Police officers have tremendous power in our society:
• The power to arrest
• The power to mediate or to charge
• The power to use force
• The power of life and death

 Officers received tip regarding drug activity

in a home.
 They filed an affidavit for a no-knock search

warrant, falsely indicating they had sent an
informant in to buy drugs.
 When the raid team burst in, the 92-year old


female resident began shooting at officers.
She was killed by a hail of bullets.
 When officers found no drugs, they planted

drugs, and forced an informant to lie about
buying drugs from the woman.
 2 of the 3 officers ultimately confessed and

pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
 The lead officer received a 6-year sentence.

Their sergeant pleaded guilty to federal
charges of violating the dead woman’s

 Officers were accused of committing

perjury by falsely describing drug
busts they conducted in written police
 Video taken by surveillance cameras

Perjury in
Drug Busts

during separate drug raids show the
police officers failed to get consent
from the apartment-dwellers before
conducting warrantless searches for
 The officers also misrepresented

their searches in later police reports.
 Since these reports are written under

oath, this was tantamount to perjury,
according to the Public Defender.

Viewpoint: Police as Crime Fighters

Criminals are the “enemy” and are fundamentally different from “good” people.

Police are the “army” that fights the enemy.

Police must be able to use any means necessary against

Since police are in a “war,” they must be allowed discretion in making decisions.

Herbert Packer's
Model of Law Enforcement
Crime Control Orientation
• Preventing criminal conduct is the most important

function of law enforcement.
• Failure of law enforcement means the breakdown of

• Criminal process is the positive guarantor of social

• Efficiency is a top priority.
• Emphasis is on speed and finality.
• There is a presumption of guilt.

Viewpoint: Police as Public Servants
• Criminals are like any other citizens.
• Police have limited ability to affect crime rates one way or

the other.
• Police as public servants serve all people, including

• Since police are public servants, their ability to use force

should be restricted.

Herbert Packer's
Model of Law Enforcement
Due Process Orientation
• There is a possibility of error.

• Finality is not a priority.
• There is insistence on prevention and elimination of

• Efficiency is rejected if it involves shortcuts.
• Protection of process is as important as protection of

• The coercive power of the state is always subject to abuse.

Early American Law Enforcement
• 19th-century police were involved in social

service activities.
• Corruption was common in early police

• The move towards police “professionalism”

began in the 1920s.
• During this period, the role of crime fighter

emerged as a characteristic of police.
• The role of public servant was minimized.

Community Policing
• In some ways, a return to original police

involvement in service and engagement with
• Focus is on proactive crime prevention rather than

emergency response.
• Encourages officers to see citizens as partners.
• Shifts decision-making and discretion downward to

patrol officers who know the neighborhood best.
• More...
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