Use of Excessive Force by Police

3657 words 15 pages
Use of Excessive Force by Police

Use of Excessive Force by Police Police officers are given a significant amount of discretion simply due to the nature of the job. Officers are faced with many threatening situations forcing them to react quickly, yet appropriately. They have the power to infringe upon any citizen’s rights to freedom and therefore they must use this power effectively. One major concern with the amount of discretion officers have is their power to decide when to use force or when to use lethal force. Manning (1997) argues that it is generally accepted that police should be allowed to use force. He also explains that there are an uncertain amount people who agree on as to what constitutes excessive force. The line
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By setting guidelines for these officers to follow, possibilities for misuse or abuse may be reduced.
According to the Center of Study of Ethics in the Professions (2003), force should only be used with restrictions and only after discussions, negotiations and persuasions have taken place and have been found ineffective. The use of force is inevitable sometimes, however, an officer must take all precautions when applying force. They must not inflict any pain that will cause for the inhumane treatment of any person. The decision to use force can be guided by the use of a continuum (McEwen, 1996). It cannot simply be seen as a black and white issue; basically an officer does not either kill a suspect or completely avoid physical contact. The continuum of force is the measurement of distinctive types of force used by police officers (Adamans, 1999). The minimal force can be used and described simple as handling someone too roughly. Maximum force can be described simply as the use of lethal force. Because of this, it is pertinent to value the use of force on a continuum due to its ambiguous nature. The measurement of this continuum of force was intended to reflect the official policies of the Phoenix police department and to address the issues of the misconception that there was either force or no force (Adams, 1999). Many people believe that there is no grey are to the use of force. The continuum of force measurement captures all of


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