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Positive and Negative Aspects of Policing in Our Society Today

on September 14 at 02:04 PM

It is well-known that the policemen have a very difficult job to fulfill in the society. Policemen have to face hard moral decisions every day. This job is not only about dealing with bad guys; it is also about providing peace in the society. Policemen have an unlimited power to use force as a means of crime prevention. However, the use of power sometimes violates the freedoms of a person, so the actions of the officers are excessive and inappropriate in certain cases. That is why the image of the police is different, and their actions are judged as both positive and negative ones

Over the career time, the average police officer sees the best and the worst of the humanity – it is a rule. They always have to act in the interests of the society, standing for calm and satisfactory lives of people. Unfortunately, the positive aspects of work of the police officers are seldom highlighted in the press. Mass media researches proved that bad news is more readable than positive messages. Moreover, there is a division of newscasts about the policing by the channel and the locality. National broadcast companies frequently dedicate their information to the FBI and seldom tell about the local departments. News in the smaller locations report less about crime-focused police actions but concentrate on service-oriented activities. National broadcast focuses on the crime and often pays more attention to the negative aspects of the officer’s work.

Positive Aspects of Policing

During the course of work, the police cooperate with many people, and this communication proceeds in different ways. The community relies on the officers in the cases of emergency and disorders. That is why the community policing strategies emerged.

Community policing has become a popular concept nowadays. It is the first positive aspect of policing. Community policing is a difficult term to understand, but it has well-written goals. It is about building trust and good attitude. Police officers have to make deeds in order to improve neighborhood conditions. Also, the police work together with the community in the prevention programs. In these programs they try to reduce the fear of crime and work on the common feeling of safety in the neighborhood. Another program is a public educational program. Police officers provide people with the necessary information on how to protect themselves, how to avoid being involved in illicit deeds, how to avoid becoming a victim of a crime. This program is focused on youth and adults. Neighborhood town meeting is the police initiative on identifying the problems in a certain group and fixing them. Weed and seed programs approach the crime prevention, when the community helps the police to fight the spread of light drugs in the town.

Communication with children is also an important part of policemen's work. It is notable that often parents use the image of a policeman as a force to influence their children. That is why children are afraid of police officers and have no connection with them. On a local basis, officers start special programs on interaction with the youngest citizens of the neighborhood. For example, Kentucky State Police launched a Safety Town Program in the mid-august. It gives police officers a possibility to cooperate with children, to build a friendship with them, and to gain the children’s trust. They are teaching the youngest representatives of the society about the major traffic rules. Police officers interact with children through the game and tell them about the different colors of the signs and light-signals, and also teach kids how to cross the road. The main aim of the program is to give children the understanding that a police officer will always be there to help, and there is nothing to be afraid of.

Interaction with the society is highly important to every policeman, but still there is the duty of the officers, and they do heroic actions almost every day. They are saving people’s lives in different situations, sometimes putting their lives in danger. A couple of days ago, in Little Rock, a police officer Kimberly Maxwell saved a life of a young mother of the one-year-old child Reyonda Smith. The woman went unconscious and was not breathing, when Maxwell heard the scream calling the rescue service. Officer Maxwell was near that place in the car, carrying the suspect to the jail. Her reaction was simultaneous. She had locked the suspect in the car and ran to the car of Reyonda, where she gave the needed help. She literally brought the young mother back from the other world. Reyonda told in the aftermath that she felt sick and parked the car. Then she remembers nothing, until the moment when Kimberly Maxwell was doing compressions on her chest, and everyone on the street was screaming. Now Reyonda is safe, and she cannot measure the gratefulness for the actions of the police officer. If officer Maxwell did not happen to be around, no one knows what ending will this situation have. The heroic deeds of the police officers are among the most positive aspects of policing. Every day they are saving lives, protecting children, and helping the community to lead a stable life.

Negative Policing Aspects

On the contrary, there are a lot of negative news in the field about the actions of the police authorities and officers. The National Police Commission worked on the definition of the negative behavior of the policemen, and defined it as a force that has a punitive role in the society. For the majority of the population, the word “punitive” is a synonym for “negative”.

Many actions of the police officers can be judged in a negative way. One of the most widespread and well-known is an arrogant and sometimes even rude style of communication. People argue that policemen are overreacting; they use inappropriate words that can influence the suspect and the society. The police have the unlimited power and often use it to the full. Some policemen often act the way they want, and as a result, they can hurt the regular citizens. This type of behavior costs a lot of money in the city’s budget and badly influences the image of the police officer in the society. As an example, in 2012, New York City paid out $185.6 million for claims in the fiscal year 2011.

Another negative aspect of policing is the relationships with journalists and violating their rights. In 2013, there was an incident between the police of Washington and the journalists. During the mass demonstrations, journalists were arrested by the police. These actions escalated a conflict, because, according to the reporters and photographers, they were also doing their job. It was important to highlight the current news in the media, but the police infringed that right of the journalists. This case is well-known because of the reporter Tim Funk, who was arrested while doing his report. Sometimes, when it is chaos in the streets, there is the possibility of misunderstanding and some blundering arrests. However, in the case of Tim Funk, there was no chaos. He was doing his job, wearing an ID card. Nevertheless, he was detained. If it had been a single case, then it would not have had any diffusion in the media. But, according to the data, there were a lot of journalists who were arrested while doing their job in the recent years. It became possible because these activities violated the First Amendment, together with the right of a free press to gather and to spread information. This misunderstanding is giving a lot of problems both for journalists and police officers. Policemen have to recognize the rights of mass media and to cooperate with them, then this negative aspect can be knocked over.

Still, police officers often exaggerate their duties. That is the third negative aspect of policing nowadays. Policemen often can do anything while committing justice. This can bring about the sad circumstances. In 2014, another negative situation took place in New York. Eric Garner was killed by an officer on Staten Island. It was an unfortunate accident, but still there is no possibility to turn the time back and fix everything. Garner was caught by the policemen when he was distributing loose cigarettes. He was pinned to the ground by the officer. Eric Gardner was an asthmatic and he cried that he could not breathe, but the policemen never believed him. The special issue in this case is a different skin color of the officer and the suspect. Garner was an Afro-American, when the policemen had the white color of the skin. This accident renewed the complaints about the tactics of the police officers.

Police play a significant role in the life of society. With the rising crime rates and very complex diverse society, the traditional model of the policing needs some revision. But still, it is vital to understand that, despite the actions of the police officers are sometimes too tough, some policemen are far from being polite, they still remain the bodyguards in the society. They are the hired fists, batons, and guns of the regular citizens. They receive their pay for the dirty work of protecting the calm and silent life of the neighborhood. Police officers are doing the work that the other people are afraid to do, sometimes risking their lives for the good of the society. The problem is that everyone wants police to take care of bad guys and to keep them away from cars, children, houses, and shops, but no one wants to see the process. When police officers conduct something negative, it is more widely spread and spoken about than the positive news. It is easier to judge for a single mistake done, but never to praise for the good deeds. Every mistake proves that the officers are people, just like everyone else, and they just have more powers. However, beyond the powers, they have the strength and courage that the average representatives of the society do not have. These are the main features that distinguish policemen from the others. Every individual can hate the work done by the police, but when an accident occurs, policemen will be the first to receive a SOS call.

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