The law enforcement plays an important role in providing security to members of the community. However, their mission has been compromised by numerous challenges. They are confronted with the challenge of fighting terrorism while maintaining personal liberties. Other challenges are; dealing with social stigma and its ethical impaction and striking a balance between individual conscience and police assignments. This essay seeks to discuss the impact terrorism has on the police mission in the US and disagreements regarding the appropriate law enforcement behavior which fights terrorism but maintains personal liberties.
The paper also looks at how social stigma influences police ethics, the ethical forces behind police corruption, individual conscience and police assignment, and the role of training in preparing would be police officers for the ethical dilemmas they will face. Since the September11, 2001 terrorist attack in the American nation, the potential threats of other attacks have significantly changed the police mission in the American nation. The war one terrorism has been given much attention in homeland security provision measures.
As a result, the police mission has been blamed for discriminative handling of individuals living in the community on basis of their race, religion, and nationality of origin. For instance, terrorism has been closely associated with members of the Muslim faith origin. Such makes these community members objects of police attacks and convictions. On the other hand, American citizens accommodating or living in same apartment with suspects of terrorism are deemed guilt of perpetuating terrorism activities (Council of State Governments, 2006).
This contradicts the provisions of the law prohibiting against guiltiness by association. Still, the past few years have drawn a close attention to immigrants into America as potential perpetuators of terrorist activities, an element which takes away their rights of free movement and association. In addition, the problem of terrorism has influenced the police mission in failing to observe the due process clause provisions of the American constitution. According to the provisions of the fourth amendment to the American constitution, search and seizure activities by the police should be conducted under a court warrant.
Moreover, the issuance of such warrants must be qualified by proof of probable cause. However, anti-terrorism laws gives the law enforcement agencies to engage in conducting search and seizure operations based on reasonable suspicion (Council of State Governments, 2006). Further, terrorism negates the provisions of the fifth and sixth amendment which dictates for the right to a legal counsel for defendants from arrest through the legal justice procedure to the first appeal regardless of their financial status.
On terrorism, the police can deny terrorist suspects their rights to a counsel as well as even engaging them in long periods of stay in custody. There have been a number of disagreements regarding the appropriate law enforcement behavior which fights terrorism but maintains personal liberties. This has been closely associated to the fact that terrorism activities are quite complex and dynamic to identify and mitigate. Some opponents of dictating for law enforcement behavior that fights terrorism but maintains personal liberties have asserted the gravity of the social and economic loss caused by terrorism.
Just to be appreciated is the fact that unlike other forms of crime activities affecting the American community, terrorism has the potential of grounding the economic stability of the society. This has the implication that taking chances to ensure adherence to the due process procedures might provide a loophole for terrorist attacks before such legal procedures are completed. On the contrary, proponents of the assertion claim that the threats posed by terrorism on US homeland security should never be an excuse for contradicting the provisions of the constitution; the supreme law of our nation.
Social stigma has evidently been blamed for compromising police ethics. According to the underlying definition of social stigma, it brings with it negative effectives to both the perpetuator and the stigmatized (Banks, 2004). The perpetuators of social stigmatization (police in this case) engage in devaluing, threatening and depersonalizing members of the community. This gives them the advantage of gaining self-esteem, power control and anxiety over the local community. On the other hand, the stigmatized (the citizens) are marked with sense of fear and rejection.
In addition, they are force to feel powerless, devalued, and shunned from possible claim of individual right (Banks, 2004). All this negative impacts on the stigmatized are due to the eminent acts of discrimination and unfair attacks against them. Based on this reasoning, social stigma perpetuated by the police on the citizens negates their ethical code of conduct. This is because it instills unnecessary fear among the citizens. Such can serve to promote police corruption as citizens seek to avoid the harsh treatment they might receive if taken to custody.
A good example is in cases dealing with drug and firearm trafficking. Since the law is quite clear on the illegality of the practice, those convicted with such crime tent to bribe the police not only to avoid the legal procedures but also to avoid the use of force by the officers in the arrest and investigation process (Miller, & Gaines, 2010). According to available statistics, drug trafficking activities across the American-Mexican border have been found to cost the cartels over one million USD as bribe to the law enforcement officers.
There is a very close link between the ethical forces behind police corruption and those involved in police abuse of force. The use of force by the police is aimed at cultivating fear by imposing power and authority on the citizens. On the other hand, corruption among the police is tailored towards avoidance of the potential victimization that might arise from arrest and confinement in police custody. Further, through use of force, the police are engaging in social stigmatization as they employ tactics like threat and dehumanization of the victims.
This tactics are also employed in police corruption as the law enforcement portrays an image of having power to do anything to the victim if they failed to give in to their demands for a bribe (Delattre, 2002). All these aspects of both police corruption and use of force by the police are evidently driven by the same ethical forces. Individual conscience is defined as the capability of an individual to reason and act within their conscious resolutions on what is right and what is wrong.
This implies that an individual has the moral authority to act as per their conscious. With this in mind, it is also clear that individual conscience gives room for dynamic changing of personal decisions depending on ones view of prevailing conditions (Rand, 2006). Police assignments on the other side entail the execution of order given by a police department chief to the police officers. In emphasis, it is worthy noting that the police force is a disciplined force; meaning that officers are bound to follow instructions given by their boss.
This further implies that police assignments limit the individual conscience of the police officers in the quest of obeying the rule and regulations of the force. Further, unlike individual conscience, police assignments are rigid. This is because they are orders rather than personal decisions. An example of police assignment is evident when police officers are assigned the responsibility of disrupting an illegal or violent civil demonstration. In such an occasion, the police officers will engage the demonstrators irrespective of their social relations to them.
Such acts will also not be compromised due to the fact that the officers are in support of the movement or not (Blackler, & Miller, 2005). On the contrary, based on individual conscience, the police might decide not to interrupt the demonstration if they find personal satisfaction with the issue in question. In addition, conscience will limit the individual’s act against those they are involved in strong social relations with. The process of training would be police officers involve instilling some sense of aggressiveness in mitigating criminal activities in the community.
On the other side, it functions to make the trainees the importance of the citizen as the unit forming the government. To prepare these trainees on the ethical dilemma they will face, the training process should invest much time in training communication and effective relationship buildup between the police and the local community (Delattre, 2002). Another important aspect of the training should be equipping them with adequate knowledge in appreciating and dealing with problems arising from diversity in the community.
All in all, although the police play an important role in the fight against insecurity in the community, their effectiveness is challenged by many internal and external factors. Such include terrorism, corruption, social stigma, and abuse of force in duty. These dictate for investment of more resources in identifying and implementing reliable solutions to the problems if sustainable social and economic development is to be realized in community as a whole. References Banks, C. (2004). Criminal Justice Ethics: Theory and Practice. California: SAGE. Blackler, J. & Miller, S. (2005).
Ethical Issues in Policing. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company. Council of State Governments. (2006). The Impact of Terrorism on Sate Law Enforcement: Adjusting to New Roles and Changing Conditions. Retrieved August 12, 2010, from http://www. ncjrs. gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/216642. pdf Delattre, E. (2002). Character and Cops: Ethics in Policing. Washington, DC: AEI Press. Miller, R. , & Gaines, L. (2010). Criminal Justice in Action: The Core. Belmont, CA. Rand, A. (2006). Topics in Police Ethics. Retrieved August 12, 2010, from http://www1. apsu. edu/oconnort/3300/3300lect04. htm