Police, Society, and Community Service
- Police deviance is said to be behavior that does not conform to the standards of norms or expectations. Identify and discuss the three major sources of those standards. Is one source more important than the others?
- Worden identified five ways in which police officers are different from one another. List and discuss those five ways.
- Contrast socialization theory and pre-dispositional theory.
Chapter 8 Summary
Chapter 8 looks at police behavior. Police behavior may be described from a universalistic perspective or a particularistic perspective. The universalistic perspective examines the ways in which police are similar. The particularistic perspective examines the way in which police differ from each other.
The universalistic perspective approaches police behavior from three perspectives. The sociological perspective emphasizes the social context in which the police are hired and trained. The psychological perspective examines the nature of the police personality. The organizational perspective is concerned with the formal and informal factors of the department.
Particularistic perspectives examine the different policing styles discovered through research. Worden (1989) suggests that there are five ways in which police differ from one another. Police are different in their view of human nature, role orientation, and attitudes toward legal and departmental restrictions. Worden also found that the beliefs and behavior of the police are influenced by their clientele. The final difference involves the relationship between management and peer group support.
Socialization theory maintains that it is the work experience and the peers that determine police behavior. The formal socialization takes place during training the new officer. The informal socialization takes places as the new officer interacts with experienced fellow officers.
Pre-dispositional theory states that the values and characteristics the officer had before employment are brought with him or her to the job. Research indicates that police have different values from the rest of society. Racial and ethnic differences, education, and police socialization does little to changes pre-dispositional values.
There have been numerous studies conducted looking at police behavior. This chapter recognizes that these studies are just as important today as they were decades ago. Westley’s Violence and the Police (1970) discussed in-group solidarity among the police and the code of silence found to exist in policing. Skolnick’s Justice Without Trial (1966) examined the danger in police work. Skolnick termed the person the police officer thinks is potentially dangerous the symbolic assailant.
Wilson’s Variety of Police Behavior (1968) may be seen as the most important study of police behavior. Wilson identified three styles of policing. In the watchman style, the police utilize a great deal of discretion. In the service style, the police see themselves as providing a wanted service for the community. The police handle situations informally, and arrest is not always necessary. In the legalistic style, the police see themselves as law enforcers, making arrests if possible.
Rubenstein conducted a study in 1973 known as City Police. His study supports the socialization theory of police behavior. Officers learn on the job.
Van Maanen’s study, Observations on the Making of Policemen, conducted in 1973, found four stages in which the police officer is initiated into policing. The first is the preentry stage. The individual chooses to make policing a career. The second stage, admittance, involves the police academy experience. Stage three, change, occurs as the new officer is out of the academy and into the field. Continuance is the final stage and involves the officer adjusting to the reality of police work.
Brown suggested four styles of police behavior in Working the Street: Police Discretion(1981). Old-style crime fighters are very aggressive and interesting only in felonies. Clean-beat crime fighters are interested in all violations and are concerned with legal procedure. Service-style officers just do enough to get by. Professional-style officers, the most desirable type of officers, know when to be tough and when to be service minded.
Crank’s Understanding Police Culture (1998) saw four central principles in the elements of police culture. Coercive territorial control is the most central principle. The other principles include the unknown, solidarity, and loose coupling.
In the police officer’s use of discretion, there are a number of variables. Organizational variables include the bureaucratic nature and work periods and areas. Situational variables include mobility, demeanor, race, gender, age, victim–offender relationship, seriousness of the offense, mental state of the citizen, location, and presence of others. Officer factors would include education, age, experience, race, gender, and career orientation. Finally, the neighborhood may impact the officer’s use of discretion.
This chapter ends by taking a look at police deviance. Several types of deviance are identified. Police crime, occupational deviance, police corruption, and abuse of authority are included in the types of deviance. Gratuities are included in this discussion.
The Knapp Commission investigated police corruption in the New York City Police Department in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They identified police officers who do not actively solicit graft but will accept it when it comes along as grass eaters. Meat eaters are officers who actively solicit opportunities for financial gain. A code of silence exists among police officers, making the investigation of corruption difficult.
Is police corruption part of the nature of policing, or is it the result of a few bad officers bringing down all of policing? The systemic theory of corruption suggests the former. The rotten-apple theory of corruption suggests the latter. The rotten-apple theory would support the pre-dispositional theory of police behavior. The systemic theory of corruption supports the sociological theory of behavior.
Kappeler, Sluder, and Alpert identified four types of corruption in officers’ dealings with drugs. Use corruption involves police officers using drugs. Economic corruption involves police attempting to seek personal gain. Police violence is the use of force to obtain confessions. The subjugation of a defendant’s rights may involve planting drugs on a suspect. Noble-cause corruption occurs when the police use questionable means to achieve a good end.
CRJ 307: Police, Society, and Community Service
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT 6
Please read Chapters 9 and 10. Then answer the following essay questions. Each essay question should be at least one page in length, double spaced, one inch margins, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman, APA Format and must include both citations and references.
- Identify several of the differences between internal investigations and criminal investigations.
- Chart the history of the civil review board. Discuss the three different eras.
- The authors cite four limitations of professional and ethical standards. List and discuss those four limitations.
Chapter 9 Summary
Chapter 9 looks at police behavior and the use of force and coercion. The police are authorized to use force to maintain order and gain compliance.
Many studies have been conducted examining the police use of force during interactions with citizens. One such study was conducted by Reiss (1967). In over 5,000 observations of police–citizen interactions, Reiss found that almost 60 percent of the citizens behaved in a civil manner toward the police. In those 5,000 interactions, the police made an arrest in less than 5 percent of the encounters. Most citizen encounters with the police involved the citizen requesting help.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics conducted the Police–Public Contact Survey in 1996. This survey found that 21 percent of the population had face-to-face contact with the police in 1996; 0.6 percent of the population had been handcuffed by the police in 1996.
The police are trained to use a continuum of force. This continuum starts with just the presence of the police to be able to control the situation. As the continuum increases, the police increase the amount of force. At the far end of the continuum is the police use of deadly force. Between the extremes are the use of firm grips, the use of pain points, and impact techniques. The police are trained in the use of firearms, pepper spray, self-defense techniques, officer survival, flashlights, and canines.
The chapter outlines three types of conflict involving the use of force. Type 1 conflicts involve the law and departmental policy supporting the use of force by the police, but parts of the community do not support the use of force. Type 1 conflicts occur most often in minority neighborhoods. Type 2 conflicts occur when there are differences between the law and departmental policy. High-speed chases may be an issue in Type 2 conflicts. Type 3 conflicts occur when the officer’s behavior is approved of by the community but not the law and departmental policy. The potential for such conflicts may occur with community-oriented policing.
Although authorized to utilize force, sometimes the police abuse that authority. This could include physical abuse, verbal and psychological abuse, legal abuse, and violations of civil rights. Physical abuse was commonplace in the 1930s. The police would use the third degree.
In addition to the use of force, the police may utilize deception with the suspect. The police are permitted to use deception as long as they do not make promises they are not authorized to make.
The Rodney King beating is included in the discussion of police brutality and excessive force. In looking at police brutality at the turn of the century, one view is that there is a problem. Human Rights Watch has stated that there is no effective system of police accountability. Citizens have brought suit against the police but have not been very successful in court.
Another view of police brutality does not believe that it is a problem. This perspective of brutality places blame on the media for over-sensationalizing police behavior.
In the police use of deadly force, deadly force is used with the intent to cause great bodily injury or death. The FBI, the National Center for Health Statistics, and studies of individual cities maintain data on police behavior resulting in death. It is estimated that the police killed 13,000 people from 1949 to 1990. Environmental and departmental factors may influence the use of deadly force by the police. Environmental factors include the neighborhoods where the police work. High-crime areas increase the risk of deadly force. Regarding departmental factors, police agencies with restrictive shooting policies have reduced the frequency of deadly force.
Officer factors influence the use of deadly force. The perception of whether a threat exists and how often the officer is exposed to threats may affect the officer’s use of deadly force. Off-duty officers are involved in as many as 15 to 20 percent of the incidents of deadly force. The race of the officer is also significant in the examination of deadly force. African American officers are more likely to use deadly force and to be the victims of deadly force. This is because they often live and work in high crime areas. It also appears that female officers use deadly force less often than do male officers.
Evidence suggests that the race of the suspect influences the use of force. African American and Hispanic minorities are more likely to be shot by the police.
Under the fleeing-felon rule, the police were justified in using deadly force on a felony suspect who was fleeing a crime scene. Changes in departmental policy and changes in the law have called for alternatives to the fleeing-felon rule. Many departments have adopted the defense-of-life shooting policy.
Since more departments have restricted the use of deadly force, fewer citizens have been killed by the police. These limited policies have not created an increase in the number of officers being injured or killed by citizens.
Chapter 10 Summary
The police are the most visible representatives of the criminal justice system. They are feared and respected at the same time. However, the police are also human. Who has the responsibility of controlling police behavior?
The control of police behavior may occur in two fundamentally different ways. One way is through mechanisms of oversight. There are mechanisms that are internal to the police organization. These mechanisms include standard managerial processes, internal complaint reviews, and early-warning systems.
Standard managerial processes would include written directives. Departmental policies, goals, objectives, procedures, and regulations should be a part of the written directives for a department. The directives provide guidance for the officers, outline expected standards of behavior, and give direction for training.
However, there are limitations of written directives. Much of police work is discretionary. The directives certainly could not cover every situation that the officer may encounter. The officer may be left to make a split-second decision without having directives for support.
Another mechanism is the internal investigation. It is the responsibility of internal affairs to respond to citizen complaints against police officers. Internal affairs would conduct investigations against the officer in much the same way as any other investigation conducted by a police agency. The investigation may reveal that the complaint was justified. This is a sustained complaint. An unsubstantiated complaint is one in which there is no supporting evidence. Unfounded complaints are those that did not occur as alleged by the complainant. If the officer’s behavior was justified and legal, then the officer will be exonerated. If disciplinary action is taken against the officer, it may range from termination of employment to demotion, to probation, or reprimand.
There are several issues concerning internal investigations. Location and personnel, orientation of internal affairs units, and sustained complaints may influence citizens and the filing of complaints. If an officer is disciplined, the officer has the right to appeal the action. This may take the form of grievance arbitration. One study found that grievance arbitration usually reduces the amount of discipline by 50 percent.
The third internal mechanism is early-warning or early-identification systems. Under this system, the officer’s behavior is monitored and management is notified when the behavior crosses the line.
Another kind of oversight mechanism is outside the police department. One such mechanism is the civilian review board. The history of civil review may be traced through three different eras. The first era (1960s) was at a time in which reformers wanted politics removed from the police. The second era (1970s) saw increases in public concern about the criminal justice system and increases in public support for civil review. The third era (1980s) saw the establishment of civil review boards at a time in which the police were no longer so suspicious of their presence.
Another external mechanism is the police auditor system. This mechanism focuses on the police department and the policies and procedures of the department. It does not focus on the individual citizen complaints.
A third external mechanism is legal control. This obviously would involve the use of the law—criminal, civil, and administrative—in the control of police behavior.
Other efforts to control police behavior may involve professional standards and ethical standards. The policing occupation has been moving toward professionalization. In order to be considered a profession, certain criteria must be met. Autonomy, a unique body of knowledge, education and training, certification, and a commitment to service are the criteria used to judge whether an occupation is a true profession.
Ethical standards are a very effective way of controlling behavior. The police have a code of ethics to be strived for. Given the unique nature of policing, one may look at the different ethical perspectives and how they may apply to police behavior. Ethical formalism places a moral worth on doing one’s duty. Ethical utilitarianism determines what is morally good or bad by the results of one’s actions. The ends are more important than the means. Ethical relativism approaches good and bad from the perspective that what is considered good varies with the particular values of the individual or group.
Professional and ethical standards may be limited when trying to control police behavior. First, the standards may be a good model but fail to have an impact on the day-to-day police behavior. The unique nature of policing may limit the effectiveness of the controls. The fact that policing is unpredictable limits that effectiveness. Third, justification for behavior may be applied to any of the ethical perspectives in such a way that the police will always be right. Finally, there exists an informal code of ethics among police. This informal code may be used more in the day-to-day activities of the police.
CRJ 307: Police, Society, and Community Service
HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT 7
Please read Chapter 11. Then answer the following essay questions. Each essay question should be at least one page in length, double spaced, one inch margins, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman, APA Format and must include both citations and references.
- Discuss the difference between the identity of the policewoman and the policewoman.
- Explain how deliberate indifference to sexual harassment may expose the department to liability.
- Explain the findings in the case of Griggs v. Duke Power Company as it relates to policing.