Roles Of A Police Officer Research Paper Sample
Question No. 1
There are many roles that a police officer takes in society, but the most important one is that of a community leader in public safety. A community leader in public safety (Haley and Bohm 2014, p. 185) is one who the public sees and presumes as the ultimate authority that ensures that the streets are safe to walk in especially at night, that their children can play and frolic around in public parks, go to and come home from school unscathed and that their right to the privacy of their homes are respected. This police role is the bond that holds together and enforces civility, lawfulness and security in the society people live in. Without that leadership, people are left on their own to fend for themselves. However, individuals have their own agenda in life, pursue their own interests and approach things from different perspectives – it will be virtually a world where people are a law unto themselves. Eventually, without the police, society will be dominated by people or groups who have the means to assert themselves over others, either because they have the number or they have weapons. Without the police, there will be anarchy, conflict, instability and a general atmosphere of risk and danger.
The community leadership in safety is the very reason why despite advances in communication technology, patrol remains to be and is considered the backbone of policing (Haley and Bohm 2014, p. 181). Patrol establishes police presence in the community and makes response time to peace disruption incidences shorter thereby further reinforcing the leadership in safety role of the police. The leadership role in safety is also the reason why community policing strategy is now becoming a standard police strategy placing police officers right within communities, establishing rapport with and soliciting collaboration from members of the community. The role of community leadership in safety has always been the primary traditional role of the police and the very reason why policing is invented in the first place.
Question No. 2
Haley and Bohm (2014) broadly categorized police roles into four: community leadership in safety; holding broad discretion; ability to solve, on a short-term basis, sociological and technological problems, and; serving under dangerous situations (p. 185). The first two and the last categories are understandable, but the third is rather vague. Presumably, the term ‘sociological’ referred to problems relating to relationships of people with one another and ‘technological’ to any problems associated with any of the technologies, such as communication. I don’t think that this is a primary role for the police. The mending of relationships between persons should be merely an incidental result of the successful conduct of police functions and not their primary function. There are other individuals or entities more equipped to handle these matters. Similarly, solving technological problems should not additionally burden the police.
All other roles discussed in the book, however, are part and parcel of being a police officer and keeper of peace. Aside from community leadership in safety, a police officer is a figure of authority that holds a broad discretion. This is necessary to successfully conduct his or her functions. For example, in investigating a crime a police officer must choose a lead from among many that he or she thinks will most likely lead to the resolution of the crime. This broad discretion is also applied in other aspects of policing, such as detective work, traffic control, drug enforcement, and anti-terrorism (Module 6: Policing: Roles, Styles and Functions 2015). However, discretion must always be tempered by reasonableness; otherwise, a police officer will be exposed to charges of abuse of power or police brutality. Similarly, working under dangerous environment comes with the territory. Suspects sometimes resist arrests placing police officers’ lives in danger especially when the former are armed, which is why police officers have to take precautionary measures such as body frisking.
Haley, K. and Bohm, R. (2014). Introduction to Criminal Justice. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Module 6: Policing: Roles, Styles and Functions (2015).