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Reply to these two discussions with one reference each

by | Nov 10, 2022 | Criminal Justice | 0 comments


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Moka Saito
According to the National Institute of Justice (2020), law enforcement must use force in the specific circumstance of self-defense and the defense of others. One of the biggest factors to understand is context and time because situations can be similar but never the same. The National Institute of Justice (2020) states that “situational awareness is essential” because law enforcement is trained to determine the course of action based on their judgment. From news media, unnecessary use of force for arrests is often highlighted. The National Institute of Justice (2011) also provides less lethal alternatives for law enforcement or other federal agencies to use, such as chemicals like pepper spray, physical barriers, and equipment to distract people. In week 1, I also mentioned using tasers, which are under the category of conducted energy devices, and it is considered less-lethal devices along with stun guns (National Institute of Justice, 2011).
From UCLA (n.d.), under the section “policy”, reasonable officers are allowed to utilize force to control specific situations and they are forced to make split-second decisions. The factors they have listed are subjective, type of weapons, time, certain circumstances, behaviors of the individual being confronted, the experience of the officer, and potential risk. One other step that law enforcement can take is defining or redefining terms that can be considered excessive force. UCLA (n.d,), under the section “definition”, defines phrases used in the policy. Keeping in mind that not every circumstance can be predictable by law enforcement, they can only focus on being prepared. Some of the points that overlapped from the articles that I referenced down below and have read from this week are, to reduce crime each department should train recruits to prepare such as when using discretion the officer should be able to provide justifiably and be able to provide evidence or reasonable answers to why they use that power (National Institute of Justice, 2020; National Institute of Justice, 1999).
Jamie Shiflett
Using force is a necessary part of a police officers job, that may not be something that is easy to understand for most people, but most people don’t understand this job because they don’t do it. There are factors that play into use of force that are not always taken into account by the general public who Monday morning quarterback body camera footage displayed in the news. One thing to consider is the full video is never shown to the public, they often do not get the back story or full picture of what led up to the use of force. Another thing to consider is the size of the suspect and the size of the officer. The general public and media will look at a use of force and say that it was excessive, but if the suspect is a male who is tall and heavy and the officer is a small female, she will need to use other means to subdue the suspect. It is often unknown if the suspect is under the influence of drugs and if so what type. Certain types of drugs give people strength they normally would not have and are unaffected by being pepper sprayed, tased, or even shot. The media and general public does not take these things into account when passing judgement on a situation. I think the use of force should be allowed, but should be on case by case basis, because every situation is different.
I am not immune to the fact that there are officers who use excessive force, however I do not believe that every use of force is excessive, and there are jurisdictions that pay out frivolous law suits to suspects who claim they are victims of excessive force when they in fact were not, to avoid legal fees. In my opinion, the officers who use excessive force do so out of anger, and or lack of training. Every jurisdiction should have quarterly in-service training for use of force training, law review, policy changes, and discuss how officers can protect themselves from being charged or sued. I think there is another aspect to use of force that should be considered. A lot of officers are so afraid to use any force at all because they are being unfairly charged, sued, and reprimanded that they will not do anything at all. In the last few years I have seen this happen more often and now some of those officers are being charged for not using force. I do believe there are many situations where they will be charged for doing something and charged for doing nothing. No one calls the police because they are having a good day, they are calling because they have a problem they can not solve themselves, or because someone’s life is in immediate danger. Naturally, policing is not all sunshine and rainbows, there are going to be parts of it that the media and public doesn’t like, but they also need to understand that those parts they are uncomfortable with someone still has to do. It’s unfair to judge a situation based on limited information for a job you don’t do.


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