Police Effectiveness

1470 Words6 Pages
Allegations of excessive force by police departments in the United States have continued to generate large media coverage across the nation. After the Rodney King incident in 1991, public outcry regarding the use of excessive force was thrown into public view causing law enforcement reforms. Today, in the state of Ferguson, the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by the hands of officer, Darren Wilson, has set off unrest and protests. In addition, Eric Garner, a citizen of New York, was killed as a result of the use of a “chokehold” by a police officer also sparking outrage. In a nation devastated by the deaths and injuries of hundreds of innocents, many unarmed, at the hands of officers, drastic changes are needed in our approach of enforcing…show more content…
For instance, as seen in the Ferguson Police Department report conducted by the Department of Justice, the police department of Ferguson had a large “emphasis on revenue generation [which had] a profound effect on FPD’s approach to law enforcement” (2) . Rather than to see its residents as citizens, officers of Ferguson had viewed its inhabitants, particularly African Americans, as potential offenders and sources of revenue. This type of environment influences officers beyond just simply ticketing. Officers now expect and demand compliance even when they lack the legal authority to enforce it. To demonstrate, programs such as CompStat (a management data system for police departments) have led to a “numbers driven “mentality for officers in New York and other metropolitan areas. Instead of upholding honorable values, programs such as CompStat have led to officers manipulating crime statistics, and changing complaints for crimes in several categories. In fact, officers had conducted over half a million forcible stops, mostly of innocent people to fulfill the statistics that CompStat requires (Rashbaum…show more content…
Factors determining what is considered to be “excessive force” are often debatable, making convictions more difficult. Another impediment is the burden of proof, which requires prosecutors to prove beyond a doubt that an officer acted improperly. The writers, Tina Susman and Maria L. La Ganga, express that the “he-said-she said nature of most cases, with publicly trusted authorities up against sometimes marginal victims…” allows for officers to get away with a crime due to status alone (1). Police officers accused of human rights violations or in this case excessive force, are often protected by the officer’s “bill of rights”, providing for specific protections for officers accused of misconduct. For example, the “bill of rights” allows, for the purging of officer’s personal files of all complaints, which are needed to discipline or dismiss officers of their actions. These safeguards, and many of the protections that officers currently enjoy, undermine police accountability (Shielded from Justice: Public Accountability and Transparency 1). However, it’s primarily the lack of information supplied to the public regarding allegations of police brutality, which allows for officers to get away with their actions. A full investigation conducted by the Wall Street Journal reveals that more than 550 killings by officers during the years between 2007 and 2012 has gone unreported to

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