Policing Culture Paper
Policing Culture Paper
Throughout history the role of women and racial and ethnic minorities has been restrained. This causes the inability to move up in ranking and limiting the ability to perform in certain jobs. Being a woman or having a different racial background can also cause stereotypes. For example, a Hispanic officer may be given a Hispanic area to patrol, due to his background. The need for minorities and women in law enforcement is undoubtedly true. The culture, and gender diversity in police departments is not only helpful in today’s police departments, but it is a necessity. The larger police departments such as Detroit City police could not be a successful department without ethnic minorities, and women. One example of the need for women in the department would be that on a routine stop if there were a female that is suspected of a crime, or suspected to be in the possession of drugs she needs to be searched.
A long time ago a male officer would simply search the woman, and arrest her if need be, or send her on her way. With all of the sexual harassment accusations against male police officers during the frisking it is easier on the department, as well as the women being frisked just to have a female officer do the task to avoid accusations, or even the loss of a case. Cities in the United states especially the large cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Miami, or Detroit is extremely ethnically diverse. This is where ethnic police officers are needed. If there was a call that police officers responded to there is a possibility that the person who is being interviewed at the scene would only want to talk with an ethnic police officer this will not only calm down the person being interviewed, but it will be a more effective interview. These are just a few examples of why women and ethnic minorities are a necessity to today’s police forces.
That is also why men and women of today’s police forces are equal. Inside every police force is a manual that dictates guidelines for the officers to follow in times of question. This manual is usually known as the Policy and Procedures manual or P&P. These mechanisms give officers clear guidelines on how to proceed with certain situations. These policies can only go so far in any department though. As each officer is out in his beat working his area, situations will dictate what he has to do in order to maintain his officer safety as well as the safety of the public and citizens of the area he is working. These manuals are given to instill base line knowledge of how an officer should handle himself and what his/her department feels is acceptable on how to handle calls and incidents. Policy is updated monthly if not weekly in order to stay current with case laws in order to keep the officer as sharp as possible to deal with the everyday citizens, jail house lawyers, or criminally sophisticated individual who is well versed in dealing with law enforcement.
Many experts have entertained the idea of the existence of a police subculture. Some would say that there are challenges and stress factors unique only to the job of policing. A study conducted on a police department by William Westly in Gary, Indiana discovered that two of the key factors leading to the creation of a police subculture were due to nature of the job and the individuals that the officers were most likely to come in contact with on a daily basis. He concluded that the majority of the people that officers came into contact with were those who already held resentment toward law enforcement officers. These interactions helped foster a police subculture, which emphasized violence, secrecy, and solidarity. Being a police officer can be very stressful.
The demands of the job and the lack of control over workload can have a negative impact both physically and mentally. Personal relationships also suffer and the divorce rate is as high as 30 percent in some police departments. Police officers also have one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. It is apparent that police work is stressful. So what is the source of officer stress? Although many of the duties and responsibilities related to police work can create high levels of stress, there is not one single stressor that cannot be found in other occupations. The reality is that working in law enforcement can take a toll on an individual’s personal life. The challenge is trying to find a balance in order to alleviate these problems so that it does not affect the officer in the performance of their duties.