Essay On Police Subculture
The police subculture refers to the common aspects such as attitudes and behavior that tend to be universal among the police. Just as any other subculture, the police subcultures influence the beliefs, values and worldviews among themselves. The police subculture views the public as hostile, untruthful, and often violent. However, the culture tends to keep this view secret and offer mutual support and unity among them. The police have an unpredictable work environment that often require a lot of sharing information that generate close ties among themselves and mutual dependency (“The police Culture,” n.d).
As noted above, the close ties among the police create a suitable environment for coming up with an informal code of conduct. The professional code of ethics suffers as the police officers shift their allegiance from working for the goodness of the community to working for first, their welfare, and later for the society.
There are some aspects that tend to fuel the police subculture that alienates them from the main society they serve. First, they have easily identifiable uniforms, badges or names, as well as well branded vehicles to distinguish them from the rest. Secondly, they have universal characteristics, rewards, difficulties, etc., which the public may not know. Thirdly, these aspects of the police lead the community to rise against the police who tend to oppose them as they strive to enforce the law (Ortmeier, P. J., & Meese, 2009). When one officer breaks the law, the other officer cover him or her since it is a matter of time before they also need such protection. Due to this, the public feels that the police do not do their work properly and hence disrespect them, accuse them of discrimination and racial and religious profiling, among other ills. The police oversight bodies as any other bodies also seek to protect their members since if it has very many officers either sacked due to misconduct or punished the bodies lose credibility. A combination of these factors impedes the proper enforcement of the laws.
What can the criminal justice leaders do to reduce unethical behavior among the police? The leaders can ensure that all the police and other officers receive an adequate ethical education. The moral education would help the officers to make the right decision(s) basing on the situation(s) they face. The need for moral education arises since the situations the justice officers face are unique, isolated and requires an entirely different approach from the previous ones. In this respects, the immediate decision that the officers make has profound effects on their professionalism and the reputation of the whole service providers.
Moreover, the criminal justice officer needs to ensure that the police have the right knowledge to persuade people through proper communication mechanism. Communication breakdown can cause catastrophic results in the event of enforcing the laws. Therefore, it is upon the police and other law enforcers to make their demands well-known to the people they engage with and within the shortest time possible. Delayed communication or prolonged arguments tend to increase the rage either on the side of the police of the suspect that may lead to unwanted results or unethical actions. Proper communication skills can eliminate such occurrences.
Lastly, protecting unethical officer fuels more violations of the ethics. A proper mechanism of punishment that is severe enough to deter unethical behaviors is essential. Although the laws allow individual officers to take responsibility for their actions in the courts, the oversight bodies do not need to wait until court battles begin. There is a need for proper public action so as to build a positive reputation in the society. On top of that, the public needs education on the implementation of the laws so as not to trigger unethical behavior from the law enforcers.
Ortmeier, P. J., & Meese III, E. (2009). Leadership, ethics, and policing: Challenges for the 21st century (2nd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
The police Culture. ( n.d). Retrieved on April 24, 2015 from http://www.sagepub.com/upm- data/38432_4.pdf