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 Police are the only agency of government charged with accomplishing public purposes through force and coercion  The more that citizens voluntarily.

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Presentation on theme: " Police are the only agency of government charged with accomplishing public purposes through force and coercion  The more that citizens voluntarily."— Presentation transcript:


2  Police are the only agency of government charged with accomplishing public purposes through force and coercion  The more that citizens voluntarily comply with the police, the less the police need to use force and coercion  Police are the final recourse when civility and law observance break down  The more that citizens voluntarily comply with society’s expectations, the less they need the police  Persistent issues  Who decides what is a legitimate public purpose?  Who decides what “civility” means? What laws should be enforced?  Is there sufficient consensus? How much is enough?

3  Identify and arrest criminals  “Specific deterrence”  Deter crime through patrol and other means  “General deterrence”  Promote civility and order  Provide emergency services  Help those at risk of being victimized  Facilitate movement of traffic  Resolve conflicts  Promote a feeling of community security

4  Bill owns a loud dog. Jack is sick and tired of being woken up by the pooch. So Jack goes to the backyard, hooks up a water hose, sticks it over the fence and drenches Fido. Bill yells at Jack. They start calling each other names and challenging to fight. Mary, another neighbor, calls the cops.  Steve and Jane live in an apartment. They start arguing about money. It gets louder, turns into cussing, then pushing and shoving, then objects being thrown. Nancy, who lives in the apartment next door, calls the cops.

5  Conventional academic perspective  Police like to think of themselves as crime-fighters (robbery, burglary, etc.) but in fact they’re mostly peacekeepers (neighbor disputes, family fights)  The police crime-fighting role is vastly overstated; supposedly takes only 20 percent of an officer’s time  Most officer time is spent on peacekeeping and paperwork  Are “peacekeeping” and “crime fighting” fundamentally different?  Crime (Calif. Penal Code, sec. 15): A crime or public offense is an act committed or omitted in violation of a law...Calif. Penal Code, sec. 15  Disturbing the peace (415 P.C.) Assault (240 P.C.) Disturbing the peace (415 P.C.)Assault (240 P.C.)

6  February 22, 1994 – LAPD Officer Christy Hamilton, Devonshire Division February 22, 1994 – LAPD Officer Christy Hamilton, Devonshire Division  Officers Hamilton and others responded to a family disturbance with shots fired in a residential neighborhood. As she stood by her patrol car a 17-year old youth who had just murdered his father fired a.223 caliber assault rifle, striking officer Hamilton above her ballistic vest. The assailant committed suicide.

7  October 22, 1996 – LAPD Officer Mario Navidad, Wilshire Division October 22, 1996 – LAPD Officer Mario Navidad, Wilshire Division  Officer Navidad and his partner were flagged down by a convenience store clerk who said a young man walking down an alley had just stolen two six-packs of beer. As the officers approached in their vehicle the suspect pulled a.380 pistol and fired, striking officer Navidad, the passenger, multiple times in the chest, between the panels of his ballistic vest. The suspect was killed in an exchange of gunfire.

8  February 20, 2004 – LAPD Officer Ricardo Lizarraga, Newton Division Officer Lizarraga and his partner were flagged down by a battered woman who asked them to expel a boyfriend from her apartment. As officer Lizarraga entered the residence the male emerged with a pistol and started shooting, striking officer Lizarraga under his ballistic vest. The suspect, a gang member and convicted felon, escaped but was arrested several hours later. He hung himself in his jail cell the next day. February 20, 2004 – LAPD Officer Ricardo Lizarraga, Newton Division

9  Demographics  Community size, population density, urban/rural  Socioeconomic factors  Nature of police work  Legal, social and political constraints  Risk and uncertainty  Ready availability of firearms  Unrealistic expectations ▪ Crime and disorder are social problems with few fixed solutions  Departmental variables  Resources (personnel, training and equipment)  Leadership and oversight

10  Different social and political environments lead agencies to adopt different policing styles  Watchman Focus on order maintenance. Ignore minor infractions, less bothered by vice. Preference to resolve issues informally.  Legalistic Eager to invoke formal sanctions (arrests and citations). Disorderly persons viewed as a criminal threat. Reluctance to intervene when legal authority is unclear.  Service Blend of the above styles, with less emphasis on making arrests. Preference to resolve situations through conciliation and by making referrals to social service agencies.

11  Police Issues Police Issues  LASD Lt. Bill Evans’ memo about Biola college student caught with illegal knife  “Are you really going to put a felony on this guy? Here is a kid that could have been planning on going into the military, being a cop or fireman....”  Police experts divided.  President of Police Foundation thought that “taking the individual into account” opens department to charge of bias  Merrick Bobb asked “what if the same kid was a black student with long dreadlocks at Dorsey High?”  Policies governing discretion lack detail because facts are often lacking or too ambiguous or politically incorrect to articulate or put into writing  Are there benefits to taking official action when someone is caught with an illegal knife?

12  Seriousness of an offense, harm committed  Mandates to arrest (e.g., spousal abuse)  Presence of weapons, criminal record, suspect attitude  Immediately available resources (e.g., partner, backup)  Workload  Department policy (formal)  Accepted practices (informal)  Presence and attitude of supervisors  Peer expectations  Community and citizen pressures  Presence and attitudes of victims and witnesses

13  Personality characteristics  Training and experience  Knowledge, skills and abilities  Political views, moral codes  Physical factors  Strength and endurance  Ability in unarmed combat  Psychological factors  Decision-making abilities  Self-control  Aggressiveness  Tolerance for risk

14  Recruits learn caution at the academy  Police work can be dangerous  Stories of officers hurt and killed  Patrol work teaches powerful lessons  Reality  altruistic, “helping” orientation  Badge + gun ¹ compliance  Almost anyone can prove dangerous  Justice not always possible  Constant exposure to the unpleasant aspects of human nature  Some consequences  Pre-existing characteristics  environment of policing  Shortcuts to decision-making: profiling, the “symbolic assailant”  Territoriality, solidarity, code of silence

15  Blog post Blog post  In El Monte, police tried to pull over a vehicle containing three gang members  The driver, a parolee-at-large took off. After a wild pursuit, he crashed the vehicle into a parked car and fled on foot.  He was quickly corralled in a rear yard and lay down on the grass, proned out  For no clear reason, the first police officer to approach severely kicked him in the head  The officer would later say that the suspect alarmed him by turning his head in the officer’s direction  The officer was heavily criticized by use of force experts. But the D.A. declined to prosecute him for assault.  Question: what drove the officer to take that action?

16  Police Issues Police Issues  Cambridge (MA) admin sergeant on his way to the station jumps on a possible residential burglary call  9-1-1- caller told the dispatcher about two males, one possibly Hispanic, and that one seemed to force his way into the residence  The sergeant met with the caller. His report will later say that she told him there were two black males with backpacks. She will deny it.  There was no burglary. After identifying himself, the resident, a black Harvard professor, challenged the sergeant’s reason for being there. He then followed him outside and kept yelling.  The sergeant arrested the homeowner for disorderly conduct. Prosecutors quickly dismissed the charges.  A report on the incident laid blame on both

17  Many service occupations have similar career tracks  Medical student  intern  physician  Certain personality types are drawn to certain occupations  Interaction between individual characteristics and the workplace environment can...  Threaten helping orientation  Cause cynicism  Provoke “us versus them” attitude  Exaggerate occupational solidarity, resulting in a code of silence

18 Article: “Police Culture and Coercion”, Criminology, 41:4, 2003

19  Based on article: policing styles differ  Indianapolis: impersonal “traditional” approach  St. Petersburg: personalized “community” approach  Why?  Police decided?  Ruling class decided?  Community determined?  Consider differences between communities  Demographics  Crime  Police coverage  Consider effects of these differences  Officer backup / number on scene  Response time  Pressures to move on (calls waiting)  Opportunity for investigation & crime solving  Always remember: individual officer styles do vary

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