Aggravating Factors That Lead To Excessive Force By Police Officers

1923 words - 8 pages

The use of force by police officers is under scrutiny from both individuals and other police officers. Many people wonder how much force law enforcement officers should use, and at what point does the use of force become excessive. The major research question within the studies provided is: What contributes to the use of excessive force? What causes police officers to go to the extreme when using force? Research has examined the use of force used by some police officers when it comes to arresting, obtaining, and securing the streets for public safety. The purpose of this paper is to explore possible factors that may influence police officers to unlawfully practice the use of excessive force and what can be done in order to help reduce the incidents particularly within law enforcement personals and agency policies.

Many individuals can agree that being a police officer comes with major responsibilities, which entails maintaining public order, detecting crime, enforcing laws as well as preventing crime. When a police officer goes through their training, they are taught many tactics on how to resolve public issues without any major violence. Police take an oath to protect and serve their community and their police force. Why do some decide to cross the line and abuse that power? When is excessive force justified? According to Excessive force law (2014), excessive force is “a violation of a person's constitutional rights. Excessive force is the use of force greater than that which a reasonable and prudent law enforcement officer would use under the circumstances is generally considered to be excessive.” (Excessive force law, 2014). Police officers are given a sufficient amount of discretion simply due to the nature of the job. In some instances, the appropriate use of force for some officers will be as simple as the officer physically escorting the subject away from the area and placing an individual in handcuffs or in the patrol car. For others, it will be more serious, such as the use of excessive physical force resulting in beating and fighting an individual down to the ground, the use of a taser, baton, or even worse, deadly force by the hands of the officer. The use of police force is a legal duty and obligation within discretion, but unfortunately, the use of force may be misused or abused by law enforcement officers who do not distinguish between the fine line of legal use and excessive use of force. The consequences of excessive force have affected both police organizations and the communities they serve. Some studies have shown the differences between the use of force from law enforcement officers and an arresting suspect revealing how behavior, characteristics, and attitudes contribute to the use of force and to what type of force being used.
Excessive force by police officers should not be tolerated, and there are several measures that can be taken to help reduce the number of incidents. Excessive force being used by...

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