Citizen Vs Police Officer Essay

2409 words - 10 pages

Citizen vs. the Police Office
I interviewed Lieutenant Harris of the Hattiesburg Police Department. He has been the Lieutenant for two years, and beforehand was Sargent at the Hattiesburg Police Department. Lieutenant Harris is from Gulfport, Mississippi and has been with Hattiesburg Police Department for seven years. Since being a Lieutenant, he is over the net and strike team. The net and strike teams are the drug prevention section of the police department. They also deal with gang violence and disorderly conduct. Lieutenant Harris has exceptional leadership and managerial skills. They are both needed when working in this type of environment, while in law enforcement. The challenges of this police department has been the image of the police department. Citizens often complain about rudeness, unnecessary force and the typical complaints of a police department. The Hattiesburg Police Department has a horrible relationship with the community. This in particular Lieutenant Harris stated that it is a huge issue in the city of Hattiesburg. The issue I am going to compare is an officer’s perspective while being a citizen, compared to a being a police officer. I asked Lieutenant Harris the mental and physical challenges that arise while being a police officer.
Lieutenant Harris is an African American male, who is a police officer. In the black community, it is sometimes a bad stigma to become a police officer, especially if you are black. Lieutenant Harris talks about the change from being an ordinary citizen and becoming a police officer. The first issue that he brought to my attention was that some friends you had before, while becoming an officer were no longer there because you were a police officer. He stated that the police department prepares you for this, but it is also something some officers are not ready to deal with. During the interview he told me moving away from his family in Gulfport was one of the hardest decisions he had to make. We also spoke on the media and public eye most police officers are put into when becoming an officer. The second issue was the misconception media has with police officers and how they are all out to write tickets. Lieutenant Harris stated while being a police officer it changes your normal routines. It changes how you carry yourself compared to when you were a citizen or a first year officer. Lieutenant Harris believes, while you are a citizen you can blend in better as a civilian. He realize, it is difficult for an officer to turn the switch from being a citizen to a police officer. He continued to state, Hattiesburg Police Department’s image has recently put more mental pressure on all officers. The recent video of one of the officers beating a man while in handcuffs has the entire department under a microscope. As a Lieutenant, he stated it is important for him to make sure the officers under him in the net and strike team go exactly by the handbook. Lieutenant Harris also stated that every...

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