Rio Salado University
13 Nov 2019
Imagine being on a job where you have to put your life on the line every day to protect and serve and being scared yet still having to show some kind of courage to gain control of dangerous situations that arise in the communities that you swore to protect and serve. Every move you make is being watched, recorded and critiqued yet you must find a way to maintain peace. Sometimes being the strongest in the group makes you the weakest. Officers deal with so much stress on the job that they often turn to suicide, or they take their frustrations out on citizens. Over the years Police enforcement has not been that popular amongst all communities including with the minority group due to the history of continuous police brutality. This has caused an emotional outrage amongst communities all over the country. There is a need for re-training the officers to deal with various situations, like dealing with the elderly and mentally ill. As a community we must come together and start to restore peace and trust between the community and law enforcement.
When law enforcement is assisting our community and answering small and big crime calls it is important that the police are not only protecting our community but making sure that they are following rules and guidelines that keeps everyone safe. Civil tactic training for law enforcement can effectively and safely show officers how to complete duties, such as a basic traffic stop without the situation turning violent, or deadly. Others understand that it is very important for law enforcement to be faithful police subculture. But yet there could be more room for revision of that subculture surrounding the way police enforcement views our society. Not only is this necessary but essential to the livelihood of everyone.
The purpose of this essay is to help our readers understand the background history of police subculture as well as provide stories of the people we have lost in the past, where the officer should have protected, but instead they destroyed lives. In this essay I will provide a few ways on how the subculture could be revised so therefore it poses no negative effects towards are officers and keeps our community a safer place. After this reading, I hope the reader can also find some ways to keep their community safe. I hope my findings encourages someone to want to make a change and restore faith and trust between the community and police enforcement.
Being African American in America as well as a woman, I fear law enforcement from seeing stories on the news. Even though I do not engage in illegal activities. I rather not come in contact with law enforcement due to the fear that they have instilled in me and the African American community. Ive witnessed police brutality with my own eyes within my own community whether its walking to the gas station or simply just being at a friendly gathering that gets a little too loud. If I ever was to come into contact with law enforcement, I will comply, but I won't feel like my life is valued.
Police brutality has affected many communities, but however over years the social group that has taken the worst toll on minorities. In August of 2014, LAPD officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas seen 25-year-old Ezell Ford walking in a known gang area. It was reported ford seen Villegas and Sharlton and kept moving and couched between some bushes to do what they believed was dispose of his drugs. Wampler had recently arrested Ford on Marijuana charges back in 2008, But the officer stated he didn't recognize the suspect until they approached Ford. The officers claimed the reason for the stop was a "investigative" Stop. The officers claimed that Ford was concealing his hands, so officers believed Ford had a weapon. Furthermore, when the officers approached Ford then they stated Ford attacked the lead officer and tried to remove his handgun, so the officers tussled with Ford. The officers claimed they opened fire due to Ford being on top of one the officers while reaching for the officer's weapon. After Ford's death along with many others in the bay area, the community decided enough was an enough. Ford's death was very senseless, and officers weren't qualified to deal with Ford, due to him having a mental illness. Ford's family stated that Ford was on medication for depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. What I found quite puzzling in this incident was that if the officers have arrested Ford in the past on drug charges why weren't they aware of his past mental issues? It isn't a surprise that law enforcement isn't trained well enough to deal with mentally ill people and elderly.
The requirements and process to become a police officer is quite strenuous and stressful. However, there still may be room for improvement in this process to help identify other underlying emotional issues within the candidates like a psychiatric evaluation and on-gong therapy. Every law enforcement agency has their own specific system of hiring. Therefore, this could pose issues later down the line as far as not noticing the smaller underlying issues such as a stressful employment process and background. A psychological exam should be conducted and should be continued to be conducted during the officer's career as well as after. We have to remember that the candidates are human like everyone else with feelings and a past of stress.Occupational stress is stress caused to an individual while they are completing their job duties. Police officers deal with this kind of stress on a daily basis because their jobs can be very dangerous and very unpredictive.
The lengthy application process contributes stress to the candidates unaware of the strenuous process causing the police academy to have a lower employment rate. Police subculture prevents the officers from reaching out for help with ways to cope with struggles. Most officers turn to suicide because the subculture wants them to always remain strong and show no signs of weakness. This is where a wellness program should be implemented in the departments and officers shouldn't have to fear being punished or denied a promotion due to needing therapy after traumatic incidents that occur in their lives. (Norwood 5)
The purpose of police subculture is to create a support unity amongst the fellow officers using unity and teamwork. This unity has caused a separation between them(police) and us (citizen). This mentality has its pros and cons. On the negative side it can lead to "Some values and behaviors that deviate from what can be considered acceptable in modern society." (Unknown Par 1). Officers are always making quick decisions which can cause for them to not always think clearly when proceeding with their duties. Unfortunately, the views of police officers from the public is abusive and untrustworthy. With the trust between the community and police officers gone this could open up a threat to the police officers and cause them to act out in a certain way due to the views and values set into them through the subculture. The culture has caused officers to believe that some citizens are an issue and poses a threat due to gender or skin color, even religious backgrounds.
The trust can be restored between officers and the community by having more community outreach programs that involve the police giving back more to the community by helping school and volunteering and donating to community group funds that keep our community safe and free of violence and crime. Having the police more involved with the community creates a trust barrier. We have to realize that police are just like us, they just hold a badge. Occupational stress on our police enforcement will decrease by keeping police officers healthy mentally and keeping officers involved with the community increases the respect between the community and law enforcement.
We can keep a relationship between the two words is by joining them together. Officers should donate to more school programs that keeps children getting the knowledge they need to be successful citizens. The programs police could be involved with is drug, alcohol and crime prevention all over the communities. They can travel to schools and talk to the children about not making those decisions. Officers can also attend career fairs and advertise how good working in the police enforcement really is but speaking to the community the officers can show that they accept equality. When civil and community leaders come together, they can teach the community that law enforcement aren't bad guys and they can show us how to be good citizens and work with law enforcement to keep the community crime and drug free.
Police subculture has been put in place since back before the 1900's. The subculture was just another "brotherhood" for the police officers. When you are trained in law enforcement, they teach you to always have your sisters and brothers back, no matter what happens. The subculture also input into officer's heads that their community is against them so they should be against the community. This kind of cult can be very stressful for officers at times, officers are taught that the community is trustworthy, and they were taught that minorities are the biggest threat. "This toxic environment inhibits wellness training and therapeutic intervention despite officers' routine exposure to debilitating, traumatic incidents of stress. It promotes secrecy, distrust, and duplicity. In the long run, the toll of this culture" (Malmin Par 11).
"When political turmoil, poverty, crime, and social injustice lead to civil unrest that challenges the very pillars of democracy, society asks the police to intervene to restore order, protect lives, and safeguard property. No other profession requires its employees to make complex legal and moral decisions that impact the lives of others quite like policing. Officers must chase criminals; expose themselves repeatedly to danger; and show compassion, kindness, courtesy, and respect to citizens. Yet, at the same time, they must possess the capacity to lawfully take someone's life under the most stressful conditions, often in a split-second decision." (Malmin 1)
Police brutality rates could drop tremendously if we as a community worked on restoring the trust with our police departments. Subculture begins when the personnel goes to apply for a position within the police academies. It is that districts duty to make sure we are providing all tools necessary to our policemen so they are able to affectively complete their duties and be able to get help when they are enduring occupational stress that could lead later to unnecessary force during their next encounter with a citizen. Police subculture should be revised to lower occupational stress on our officers and lower the chances of brutality brought on by overwhelmed and scared cops, there should be an outreach program in place for all officers so issues can be dealt with before they become a bigger issue. Civil leaders must come together and teach the community that cops aren't bad guys. But on the other hand, police must retrain the way that they handle situations.