Free Custom «Police Standard Operating Procedures and Non-Lethal Technologies» Essay Sample
Table of Contents
Violence seems to have become commonplace in the modern world, taking different forms and exposing different individuals to negative perspectives of health and mental problems or even death. It may take the form of a domestic violent acts or the violation of one’s rights at the workplace or in other settings. However, one of the worst cases of practiced violence is present in the police, a state force which has the duty of defending the constitutionals rights and freedoms of the citizens. No wonder the society acutely reacts to such problem, because the defenders gradually turn into attackers violating the legal milestones originally assuring civil freedoms. This paper investigates the cases of police violence, police standard operating procedures, and the Christian perspective of violence practiced by the policemen. Moreover, it discusses the technology capable of providing a consistent solution to above described issues. The performed analysis is important for providing an efficient solution for a Christian society, which obeys the state and God’s laws for the greater good of all individuals. The outcomes of the investigation are useful both for future legal practitioners, police officers, and any citizen who is cautious about their safety and civil rights.
Police Standard Operating Procedures and Violence
It is an undeniable fact that the police were created for the civil and state defense and are obliged to act in accordance with the state law. However, there are cases, which are associated with danger or potential physical threat to police officers, which is why they may apply force. One can assume that the degree of this force should be estimated and thoroughly evaluated before application in order not to turn an officer defending themselves into an attacker or a murder. The officials at the local and state police departments seriously consider this perspective, which is why they issue and update the lists of standard operating procedures. These documents incorporate specific guidelines for actions in different situations, which are based both on experience and knowledge in the field of police forces. Typically, they also consider different legal and moral issues, which can mislead the officers in critical situations. Despite the documents being different in any department and focusing on different aspects, they have similar aims, one of which is the reduction of injury and mortality among criminals and suspects. For instance, The Albuquerque Police Department Standard Operating Procedures Manual (“Standard Operating Procedures”, 2014) focuses on three major aspects that are General Orders, Procedural Orders, and Administrative Orders. The analysis demonstrates that the suggested manual is concerned with the core values and functions of the police, procedural detail of accomplishing their duties, and guidance in administrative matters (“Standard operating procedures”, 2014). Therefore, an officer who adheres to the proposed manual can be characterized as a competent, loyal, legally and ethically correct person safe for the society.
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One of the most important aspects of the police operative manual is procedural orders, which provide directions for actions associated with the application of force. Thus, it states that the department thoroughly investigates the cases where the members of personnel are involved in the use of deadly force by means of attracting a special Police Shooting Team (“Procedural orders manual”, n.d.). Therefore, the drawback of the police system is that it allows its personnel to apply lethal force, which leads to deaths of citizens. It is important to note that, notwithstanding this fact, the police are committed to “protecting people, their property, and their rights,” which is why “the policy of the APD to de-escalate situations without using force when possible” (“Procedural orders manual”, n.d.). Moreover, the manual highlights that the officers may apply this force in the cases when it is “objectively reasonable, based on a totality of the circumstances the officer is confronted with” (“Procedural orders manual”, n.d.). However, the problem is that in cases the officers possess lethal weaponry, they still may apply it and injure or kill civilians. Such cases are especially relevant in situations when police officers lose control of themselves or have no time for objective justification of situations. As a result, the modern history of police has a significant amount of real-life cases which involve unjustified application of deadly force by policemen. Some of them are based on misjudgments, such as racism, whereas other involves psychical instability of the policemen involved. Nevertheless, all of these cases demonstrate that lethal weaponry is a source of danger, even if it is in the hands of the defendants of civil rights and freedoms of citizens.
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Real Life Cases of Police Brutality and Murder
Despite police being guided by legal and standard operating guidelines, the analysis of real-life statistics indicates that there is a systemic problem associated with wrongful application of force. Thus, only in the period from April 2009 to June 2010 “there were 5,986 reports of misconduct, 382 fatalities linked to misconduct ... and 33 % of misconduct cases that went through to convictions and 64 % of misconduct cases that received prison sentences” (Chaney & Robertson, 2013). Moreover, scholars argue that in recent years the contempt and suspicion of law enforcement, as well as the characteristics of the police as agents of brutality, became more evident and widely discussed (Chaney & Robertson, 2013). Without any doubt, such characteristics reflect present-day problems associated with violence applied by the police, which in specific cases escalates to lethal consequences among civilians. In this sense, scholars argue that “the spectacle of punishment no longer serves as a means for conveying State power” (Taylor, 2013). Therefore, on the basis of real-life situations, the opinion of the society regarding the police shifts in characterizing them not as protectors but as a source of danger. This characteristic is harmful to the police because on par with police misdemeanors it undermines social trust in its defending capabilities. Gradually, this connection may lead to the formation of a vicious circle where the police would only support the lack of social recognition and trust. Scholars characterize this phenomenon as “necropolitics”, which is a “byproduct” of State violence that seeks to lash back back against the State (Taylor, 2013). Moreover, some of them even claim that the State becomes “founded on the production of death,” generating an economy partially constituting of aesthetic productions and rhetoric of mourning (Taylor, 2013). Therefore, police brutality leading to deaths of civilians is a phenomenon, which is dangerous not only to individuals, but to the state overall because it undermines its defending powers and the trust of citizens. Thus, the perspective of a present day reality contradicts the idea of a common good where all members of the community obtain equal goods, which beneficially serve their interests (“Etzioni”, 2014). Therefore, the society should stop the development of the depicted pattern in order to save its existence.
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Furthermore, there are scholars who justify the application of force, claiming that it is a unique feature of the police as an institution with the force granted by the State. The arguments used to defend such statements are that the use of violence by police is an “occupational prerogative and necessity”, “a commonsense aspect of the police role”, and “the core of the police role” (Root, Ferrell & Palacios, 2013). Moreover, there is even a claim that “the police represent the power of the state and authority of the state and thus must be violent” (Root et al., 2013). It is impossible to support these statements because the police as servants of the State are obliged to defend but not injure or kill people. At the same time, as long as this negative practice of applications of physical force continues, it should be opposed. One of the major reasons for this is the Christian perspective, which rejects violence and murder of any human being. Therefore, it might be more correct to apply the Biblical support towards the need for the mitigation of the described issue.
The Christian Perspective of Police Violence
It is important to provide a characteristic of police violence leading to injuries and mortalities among civilians from a Christian perspective in order to provide justification of required solutions. Thus, it is evident that Christianity is a religion rejecting violence, which can be proven by quotes from the Bible. The traditional views of Christianity on violence may be characterized as a temptation of those who bear the power over others (Ellul, n.d.). As a result, one may say that police forces equipped with lethal weaponry may experience occasional temptations to apply their weapons against suspects or criminals. In the most undesirable scenarios, there is a threat of applying unjustified lethal force against ordinary civilians. In this respect, there is a need for mentioning one of the well-known commandments from the Bible, which is “Thou shalt not kill” (Ellul, n.d.). Basically, this commandment should serve as a guidance for those who bear armored power and may apply it against another person. Therefore, all police standard operating procedure guides should incorporate this commandment for the police officers to be guided in their decisions by ethics. At the same time, Bible has another verse, which states that any act of killing should be punished by death. Thus, Genesis 9:6 states “Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man” (“Bible gateway passage: Genesis 9:6 – New international version”, n.d.). In the case of applying this verse to the cases when police officers kill people, a contradiction may arise. Putting aside the cases of unjustified murder, where the police officers receive punishment, they get no punishment for killing a criminal, even in case there was no civil danger. As a consequence, the problem may be present not in the sphere of law, but in human psychology, which has been explained above. Thus, there is always a threat that a police officer with a gun may shoot anyone in the case of psychical instability, disorientation, or other aggravating factors.
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Furthermore, it is important to mention that in Christianity God rejects and condemns violence. One of the verses from the Book of Genesis 6:11–13 is about the corrupt earth that was full of violence. Because of this, God wanted to destroy the earth. He said to Noah “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them” (“Bible gateway passage: Genesis 6:11–13 – New international version”, n.d.). Therefore, the practices of violence should be strongly condemned within the structure of police, for they not only may lead to injury and death, but contradict the basics of Christianity. Initially, scholars claim that this practice was common for early Christians, who even refused to serve in the armed forces (Ellul, n.d.). At the same time, the present day reality indicates that such forces as army and the police are important in defending people and the state. Consequently, one of the best solutions in mitigating such issues is substituting the lethal weaponry with other devices, which allow stopping criminals and suspects without causing their death. The outcomes of such solutions would be extremely positive, because they allow to reduce the cases of mortality caused by the police among criminals, suspects, and civilians.
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Fortunately, the technological developments allow introducing a wide range of technical solutions allowing the police to perform their duties without applying lethal weaponry. It is significant to note that these solutions should be directed towards the two main goals, where the first one is restraint and the second one is successful arrest. Thus, it is important to control police officers when on duty to reduce the number of cases of uncontrolled brutality. Among the devices, which allow protecting the rights of civilians and the police are different kinds of recording technology. For instance, a practice quite common today is the usage of recording stations with cameras, which capture both the sound and video. These technologies not only protect civilians from unjustified applications of force, but may also be used in cases of police custody or the need for evidence (“Video recording in police custody”, n.d.). The vivid example of this is the report by the European Committee which proclaimed that audio-video recording in interrogation rooms reduces the amount of ill-treatment, which in some cases has lead to deaths of detained individuals (“Video recording in police custody”, n.d.). The wide introduction of portable audio-video recording devices at police departments, on police vehicles and officers’ uniform may drastically change the situation with the illegal application of power. As a result, this restraining factor would lead to the reduction of the cases of injury and death because police officers would have their recordings as evidence against them.
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At the same time, the primary concern about the technology should be providing non-lethal weaponry capable of substituting deadly guns without reducing the actual efficacy of operations. The major task of such weapon substitutes is to cause pain or physically disable the suspect with only a small risk of one’s injury (Dutta, 2011). Indeed, in case a suspect or a criminal is completely disabled, they pose no risk to the society when being alive. Moreover, this practice may be beneficial because living criminals may provide any kind of information necessary during the investigation of their motives. Similarly, there is an opportunity to save hostages captured by these individuals because of their partial disability caused by weapon substitutes. In this respect, Christian scholars discuss the introduction of a wide range of devices, such as chemical irritants with various methods of delivery, Tasers and other stunners (Dutta, 2011). Similarly, such arsenal may be extended by rubber or tranquilizing bullets, beanbag shotgun rounds and other. What is more, these non-lethal weapon substitutes may be far more efficient than their lethal counterparts. In this respect, experts connect the importance of transferring modern military technologies to the police by virtue of their efficacy. For example, such devices as lasers, radio frequencies, microwave and acoustic or millimeter wave beams or based weapons may stop and disable suspects without shooting (Dutta, 2011). Therefore, viewed from a Christian perspective, police standard operating procedures should be provided with technological updates, introducing a wide range of efficient non-lethal weapons. Provided with objective moral-based justifications rejecting violence and murder, they may significantly improve the reputation of police and reduce the case of officers’ brutality, leaving the civilians alive and well.
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Summarizing the presented information, the paper comes to a conclusion that from a Christian perspective police operating procedures may be enhanced in terms of efficacy and life-saving interventions. Thus, contemporary statistics indicate that there is an emerging tendency of police brutality and cases of unjustified murder of suspects, criminals, and other civilians by the police. As a consequence, it undermines social trust in police forces and degrades the morale among the officers. Moreover, the basic Christian guidelines oppose violence and murder, which is why the code of police action should be changed. One of the most beneficial options in this sense is the introduction of technologies restraining the perspective of application of force and decreasing the cases of murder at the same time. Among such devices, one can name video-audio recorders and various non-lethal weapon substitutes. The analysis of recent technologies demonstrates that it is possible to reduce the number of murders caused by police officers in case the recently discovered non-lethal weapons are introduced. The outcomes of this policy would be positive for the people and the state, increasing its moral strength through justified non-lethal police operations.
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