Police brutality is one very touchy area in this discussion. There is no fine line when it comes between apprehension of a suspect and the suspect’s rights. Where is the line drawn and who is to say the police are enforcing the law? The Internet reveals many websites devoted to videos of suspects being beaten, tortured, kicked and mentally abused. These examples are why some people do not trust those wearing the blue uniform (Rockwell, 2007, p. 2) Officers must exercise caution in dealing with suspects and not violate their civil rights. Further, they must be aware of what is around them and not provoke trouble when it is not warranted.
People need to feel safe, and Rockwell said many people do not feel safe when offices take the law into their own hands. (p. 2) People often confuse police corruption (the taking of bribes, shaking down suspects), etc. with police misconduct (violating police codes and procedures). In fact, they are linked in some ways in that neither action is tolerated. (no author or year cited, p. 1) Departments are undermined and investigations by Internal Affairs and other civic groups (such as the Board of Selectmen) lead to further deterioration of public trust.
The argument is why would someone trust a public safety officer who is sworn to uphold all of the laws if the officer in question abides by them either? The answer is that no man is above the law. Former President Richard Nixon found that out during Watergate that illegal activity—even if he was not directly involved with it—is punishable under the law. Nixon resigned fearing he would have been impeached (removed from office) had he stayed. Police officers are also not above the law, either. Whistleblowers often bring wrongdoing to the spotlight.
A famous case involved Frank Serpico, who worked as a New York City Police Detective who reported corruption against his own officers in the early 1970s. He was chastised Code of Conduct 4 by his fellow officers (even shot during a sting operation) but was looked upon as a hero for stepping forward. (no author or date cited, p. 1) While Serpico, who has since retired from the NYC police force, said that he prefers the term “lamplighters” to whistleblowers, concedes that it is difficult for people to step forward to do the right thing. (no author or date mentioned, p.
1) He faced many obstacles that he said took a toll on himself, his family and friends as well as the people he worked alongside, but he persevered because he knew it was the right thing to do. (p. 1) The retired detective sometimes gives lectures to other groups about his ordeal and hopes other people will use his example to stand up for what is right instead of looking the other way. (p. 1) Many police officers are dedicated to the job and perform admirably in the face of wrongdoing around them. It is a difficult job that requires focus, split-second decision making and guts. Many people would not be cut out for the rigors of the position.
Many even come military backgrounds and can use that knowledge to enforce the laws they are sworn to uphold. However, there are those who think wearing the badge gives them license to do what they want, when they want and with whom they want. This statement is simply not true. The hope of every police officer is to not disgrace the badge because it stands for truth, integrity and service. Each time a police officer uses it for criminal and/or illegal acts, it tarnishes the badge and those who chose to uphold the law. Police officers often say they are the line between the two aforementioned behaviors.
While they are sworn to protect it, then must be aware of where that line so that they do not cross over it themselves. Code of Conduct 5 References Academy of Management Executive, Anand, V. , Ashforth, B. , and Joshi, M. Business as Usual: the Acceptance and Perpetration of Corruption in Organizations. 2005. Retrieved Jan. 16, 2009 from: http://www. valdosta. edu/~mschnake/AnandAshforthJoshi2005. pdf Lewrockwell. com. Roberts, P. C. , America’s Police Brutality Pandemic. 2007. Retrieved Jan. 14, 2009 from: http://www. lewrockwell. com/roberts/roberts224. html. Official Frank Serpico Website.
No author or date given. Biography. Retrieved Jan. 15, 2009 from: http://www. frankserpico. com/bio. html Police Corruption and Misconduct. No date or author given. Police Corruption and Misconduct—History, Contemporary Problems… Retrieved Jan. 15, 2009 from: <a href=”http://law. jrank. org/pages/9248/Police-Corruption-Misconduct. html”>Police Corruption and Misconduct – History, Contemporary Problems, Further Readings</a> Policecrimes. com. O’Connor, T. R. , Police Deviance and Ethics. Nov. 11, 2005. Retrieved Jan. 14, 2009 from: http://www. policecrimes. com/police_deviance. html.