Law Enforcement: Excessive Force and Misconduct
Stakeholders in Law Enforcement are those who are affected by the Criminal Justice System both internally and externally. The internal stakeholders in Law Enforcement include the Criminal Justice System itself such as police officers, judges, probation officers, parole officers, correctional officers, lawyers, court personnel and other individuals who work in law enforcement (www.study.com).
Internal stakeholders are the people responsible for upholding the law and their interpretation of it. However, there are also people who are suspected of committing a crime, tried and convicted who are also considered internal stakeholders. All of these stakeholders are connected and intertwined by one another and impact each other. To properly fight crime, apprehend offenders, and treat offenders each stakeholder must do their job (www.study.com).
External stakeholders in Law Enforcement can be considered the public in which the Criminal Justice system protects and serves and can also include those who are affected by the system as well. The external stakeholders in Criminal Justice can be described as elected officials such as the media, groups who serve victims of crime, businesses, families, schools and the public in general. In some form or another everyone is impacted by the Criminal Justice system. A person who has been a victim of a crime is considered to be someone who has been impacted. Media outlets who report information on crimes are also considered to be impacted as well as their audience. Impact of the Criminal Justice system ranges from the offenders to the people in society who have been impacted (www.study.com).
Building trust in Law Enforcement by way of dedicated service is an example of influencing a situation in a positive light. Due to the recent stories of misconduct within law enforcement, the media has gone full force in shedding light to multiple viewers as it relates to unfortunate incidents between society and law enforcement. When the media chooses to hone in on more negative incidents than positive, it begins to create a false sense and sometimes unfair perception of the criminal justice system. Incidents that are foreseen as unjust often lead to a misplace of trust by people within the community. Although rebuilding the trust of the community can be difficult it is possible. Building trust takes a lot of work and effort.
It is imperative for Law Enforcement to gain the trust of the public, as this should be the number one focus to build the gap between policing and members of the community who have displaced their trust in effective policing. Law enforcement agencies across the United States have begun taking measures to mend relationships with the communities that they serve. Officers have embarked on specialized training, community outreach programs and have begun recognizing the importance of internal affairs and the accountability within the department.
A poll taken by external stakeholders (the community) titled “Do you Trust Police officers to be Fair and Just” taken between the timeframe of December 29, 2014, and January 9, 2015 stated that 53.1% of the population agreed that they are able to trust Law Enforcement while 27.6% disagree and another 19.3% are unsure (www.firescience.org). I feel that internal stakeholders have a lot of damage repair to do within the community. More light needs to be shined on the police officers who go above and beyond to repair and restore broken communities. If the public can regain the trust of Law Enforcement, this will help society in a great way. Police officers need the support of the community to solve crimes. People on the scene need to feel as if they can come to the police in confidence as informants. Many cases rely on eye witness testimonies.
Eyewitnesses play an extremely important role in the legal system, as these testimonies often help internal stakeholders prosecute criminals. There are other instances where the court is left to solely rely on an eyewitnesses account due to lack of any other evidence (www.firescience.org). For the reasons above trust within the community is needed. Law Enforcement and community members need to work together to create a safer environment for us all. Both stakeholders have something to gain, and I feel that trust on behalf of both parties will be the solution to our divided nation. Officers also need to entrust the community and connect with community leaders to move forward.
Motivation will have to come on behalf of both internal stakeholders and external stakeholders. I feel that the people who should come forward to start the movement are the leaders of the communities who have been impacted the most by unfortunate police misconduct. Another solution to the problem is to hold law enforcement officers accountable for acts of misconduct as this is the only way to make the people believe in the process. Internal stakeholders will have to empathize a little more with the community, and community members will also have to empathize with law enforcement officers. Each side needs to understand the other’s perspective.
Many people in Law Enforcement truly uphold all standards and integrity as it relates to doing good within the community. Unfortunately, the bad apples seem to have gotten more media coverage than officers who have sought out to do good by the people of our nation. We as people need to see police officers in a more positive light. As a child we were taught that police officer are the “good guys,” and while I still believe that there are more good cops than bad, it’s no secret that the bad cops have placed fear in a large percentage of the country.
In 2016 a Pew Research Center survey found that African Americans are less than half as likely to trust the police as their white counterparts. When asked if police officers treat ethnic groups equally, 75 percent of white people said “cops do an excellent or good job in this area,” while just 35 percent of African American’s said the same thing. Also 75 percent of White American’s felt police officers do an excellent job as it relates to using the right amount of force for each situation while 33 percent of black people felt the same. Other statistics show that police are failing to protect residents in black communities. In 2015, black people made up of about 13 percent of the population in 2015, and half of those reported as murder victims (www.vox.com). Racial Bias is something that will need to be addressed while repairing the broken trust within the community.
More interactions with the community, community meetings, neighborhood watch programs, and justice is the way to capture the hearts and trust of the many American’s who now fear the police or no longer trust them to do the job that they were hired to do. The fewer people against the police force the better for us all. Finding people who are willing to put their lives on the line is a huge commitment, and it takes a lot of dedication. I fear that with the most recent outpours of rage as it relates to the unfortunate deaths of many may deter people from becoming police officers out of fear. In my opinion, the solution is to show and prove. Everyone prefers actions over long speeches and false promises.
(n.d.). Retrieved from https://study.com/academy/lesson/identifying-criminal-justice-stakeholders.html
Lopez. (2017, September 01). American policing is broken. Here’s how to fix it. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/29/12989428/police-shooting-race-crime
Writers, S. (2019, April 26). Building Trust in Law Enforcement. Retrieved from https://www.firescience.org/building-trust-in-law-enforcement/