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Police and Various Control Mechanisms Essay

Discretion is foundation of the criminal justice system. Discretion is when the effective limits on a public official’s power leave him or her free to make a choice among a number of possible courses of action (Gaines, 2011 p. 219). Police discretion is the power or authority that is given to a police officer to act officially in a manner that appears to be just and proper under the presented circumstances. Discretion is not doing as you please. Discretion is bounded by norms (professional norms, community norms, legal norms, moral norms) (Police discretion).

The various control mechanisms available for internal control mechanisms are examining their policies and operating procedures and taking action to ensure that they are consistent with real-world necessity. Policies and procedures not only control what officers do but also provide guidance when officers are confronted with situations where they need assistance (Gaines, 2011 p. 251) also Law enforcement officers should be required to report misconduct by other officers that they witness or of which they become aware. The failure to report misconduct should be subject to appropriate discipline (Gaines, 2001 p.

252). Internal control mechanisms are an attempt by the police to address inappropriate behavior. The various control mechanisms available are for external control mechanisms are external control mechanisms are imposed on the department by other agencies or individuals who may or may not have an understanding of the police role and functions. This control can be achieved through civilian review boards, legislative oversight, or the court system External control of policing is usually associated with civilian review boards (CRBs) (Gaines, 2011 p. 252).

The various control mechanisms available for control by the citizens are Civilian review boards were created to “(1) maintain effective discipline of the police, (2) provide satisfactory resolution of citizen complaints against officers, (3) maintain citizen confidence in the police, and (4) influence police administrators by providing feedback from citizens (Gaines, 2011 p. 254-255). The various control mechanisms available for legislative control are the legislative branch of government can affect the exercise of discretion in three ways: (1) enactment of laws, (2) allocation of funds, and (3) legislative oversight (Gaines, 2011 p.

255). The various control mechanisms available for control by the courts are the courts are perhaps the most visible bodies of external control over discretion exercised by the police. While appellate courts are responsible for determining the constitutionality of a law, they also have the authority to govern procedural aspects of the law and to limit the manner in which it is enforced by the police (Gaines, 2011 p. 256). Reference: Gaines, Larry K. ; Kappeler, Victor E. (2011). Policing In America. Police Discretion. Retrieved on June 22, 2013, from http://faculty.

ncwc. edu/mstevens/205/205lect09. htm 2. The ideologies associated with utilitarianism are that one’s actions should ensure the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Utilitarianism, a form of consequentualism, asks that we judge the correctness of an action by its outcome or consequences. If the consequences are good, the action is moral; if the consequences are bad, the action is immoral. Utilitarianism as a framework for ethics raises several issues, such as what is good and who’s good should we be concerned with? (Gaines, 2011 p. 338).

The ideologies associated with deontological ethics are it does not consider consequences but examines one’s duty to act (Gaines, 2011 p. 339). Ethics is, in essence, doing the right thing, whatever that may be. The “right thing” is based on those values society holds dear. Ethical principles are premised on the notion that right is always right and wrong is always wrong. When officers fail to do what is right, and especially when they do what is clearly and blatantly wrong, they erode the public trust just a little more and further degrade law enforcement’s ability to work within the community and carry out its mission.

Adherence to high ethical standards, then, is as vital to achieving the overall goal of modern policing as any other tactic, technique or practice (Roufa). For those situations that may prove difficult for officers, several tests can be applied to help in the ethical decision-making process. Perhaps the best known ethical decision making tests are the critical thinking test, the media test and the gut test (Roufa). Reference: Gaines, Larry K. ; Kappeler, Victor E. (2011). Policing In America. Roufa, T. Ethics in Law Enforcement.

What the Public Expects and How Officers Can Deliver. Retrieved on June 22, 2013, from http://criminologycareers. about. com/od/Career_Trends/a/Ethics-In-Law-Enforcem ent. htm 3. The Civil Rights Act of 1871 has since been codified as Title 42 of the U. S. Code, Section 1983 (42 U. S. C. § 1983), and legal actions brought under this legislation are commonly referred to as Section 1983 lawsuits. The legislation allows persons whose civil rights are violated by government officials to bring civil suit in federal court to recover damages (Gaines, 2011 p.

397). Title 42 of the U. S. Code, Section 1983, states that: Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory, or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress (Gaines, 2011 p. 397).

Police officer federal liability concerning a law suit under 42 U. S. C. Section 1983, as the cornerstone of police civil liability at the federal level is that the statement can be false also that people take advantage of certain laws such as saying to much excessive force was used, racial slurs. There is never a reason under the law for an officer to shout racial epithets or slurs at a suspect or lethal force when an officer unreasonably shoots to kill a suspect (Snider, 2013). Reference: Gaines, Larry K. ; Kappeler, Victor E. (2011). Policing In America. Snider, B (2013).

Police Brutality Lawsuits and Section 1983. Retrieved on June 22, 2013, from http://blogs. findlaw. com/injured/2013/05/police-brutality-lawsuits-and-section-1983. html 4. The impact of the community policing ideology on police community relations building with the community served Community policing evolved from the police–community relations programs of the 1950s and 1960s and the team policing strategies of the 1970s, and were also a response to the increase in citizen fear of crime that began to dominate public policy formulation in the 1980s (Gaines, 2011 p.

427). It was shown that if these problems go unchecked over time, they continue to worsen until there is little that residents or government can do to reclaim the neighborhood. Therefore, the best way to attack crime and disorder is to deal with minor problems such as panhandling, unrepaired homes and businesses, and junk cars

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