Situations in which members of law enforcement have used measures of extreme force have been on a steady rise over the past few years. Cases and scenes of law enforcement officers using more force than what is thought to be required have been widely reported. In some of these instances, the use of force was the seemingly only option, but in others, law enforcement officers went overboard in use of force. Various legal bodies have been set up to vet and make sure certain arrests done by law enforcers were not done in an overly forceful manner. In their defense, law enforcers claim that most of the suspects that they apprehend are often psychologically disturbed and would do anything to avoid arrest including hurting the law enforcer. This topic, of use of force by police officers, has been discussed widely with equal support and opposition. This study will focus on the use of force by law enforcers, the common misconception attributed to the use of forceful measures by law enforcers, and cases that stood out in which police officers either used too much force or too little force.
1.1 Research Objectives
The research will be carried out with the aim of trying to unearth common misconceptions attributed to the use of extreme forceful measures by law enforcers. A deeper look into some specific scenarios where police officers are required to use more forceful measures and why they have to will be addressed in this paper.
- To determine the misconception placed on the use of forceful measures by police officers.
- To identify various scenarios where police use of force is inevitable.
- To identify the consequences that are associated with the overly use of forceful measures by law enforcers.
The research will help unearth the stereotypes attached to law enforcement officers’ brutality and use of force as they apprehend criminals and suspects.
2.0 Literature Review
Police officers dedicate their lives to serve the society at large, and they do this by placing themselves at the forefront of risky situations that require both bravery and calmness. Some of these situations are highly risky, and the individuals involved are often dangerous criminals with little or no humanity (Ariel et al., 2016). It is dictated by the law that one is innocent until proven guilty. This goes without saying that any person suspected of criminal activity should be treated as though he or she is innocent and that means being handled with all his human rights and rights as a citizen being put into consideration (Gilmore, Jackson & Monk, 2017).
It is also dictated that police officers should use the least possible amount of force when making any arrests. However, not all suspects want to go down the easy way, and some become extremely dangerous during arrests and put the law enforcement officers’ lives at risk (Kroll et al., 2014). This begs the question, when should law enforcement officers use forceful means as they deal with various emergency situations? There are three outlined instances where the use of police force is allowed. These are when the crime in question is severe such as murder and attempt suicide or when the suspect in question is deemed a threat to himself or herself and people around him or her. When the suspect is resisting arrest and is using extreme force in avoiding apprehension. (Marks, Howell & Shelly, 2016).
Various legal groups have set up to investigate instances where police are required to use force as the above three are very limited. The issues of police officers own human rights also form a big part of this discussion. Police to have their human rights just like any citizen. How can a balance of maintaining the police officers human rights and at the same time uphold the rule of the law when dealing with suspected criminal be met? This has got to be the most asked questions especially by the law enforcement officers themselves.
The society is in many cases prejudiced to side with the civilian forgetting that the law enforcer to have his or her rights as an individual and as a citizen (Mulvey & White, 2014). The various police training institutions take this as a main area of consideration when training the officers. They are first of all made aware of their rights, and then they are trained on the law enforcement regulations and the rights of suspects too. It is prudent to know that police officers are subjected to psychological and emotional situations daily, and this may lead to some experiencing psychological challenges. Use of forceful measures has in some cases been associated with mental imbalance in officers. Police departments have tried to counter this by making sure that there is always a psychologist in the department at all time, who the officers can see when faced with challenging psychological issues (Marks, Howell & Shelly, 2016). Those that are seen to be undergoing various emotional and psychological problems are put under qualified medical care providers and can only return to work once they are evaluated and deemed capable of going on with daily law enforcement activities. This has been attributed to a reduction in some cases where the use of force was inappropriate.
There have also been certain instances where police have been reported to have used forceful means and the situation required minimal or least force by the law enforcers. Some instances include during peaceful demonstrations where the anti-riot police officers sometimes use extreme brutal force while dispersing the crowd. Corporal beating has been cited and use of teaser guns where they were unnecessary (Pinedo et al., 2017). Also, some racially discriminative actions by some law enforcers have been reported with citing of police officers using forceful measures when dealing with citizens of a certain race who are stereotyped to be dangerous and violent.
2.1 Research questions/Hypothesis
- Should law enforcement officers use a lot of force when dealing with emergency situations?
- What are some of the misconceptions placed on the use of forceful measures by the police officers?
- How can a balance of maintaining the police officers human rights and at the same time uphold the rule of the law when dealing with suspected criminal be met?
- What are some of the consequences that are associated with the use of excessive force by the law enforcement officers?
- The use of excessive force by law enforcement officers increases the possibility of casualties and fatalities.
- Forceful measures by police officers are on some occasions essential in dealing with criminal issues that can end up having devastating effects on the community at large.
2.3 Conceptualization and operationalization of key terms or variables
- Law enforcement:-system of the society where members work in an organized way with the aim of instilling law and order.
- Excessive force:-going overboard in the administration of law
- Misconceptions:-an incorrect opinion based on faulty understanding
Some of the concepts that will be applicable in the research include administrative theory and the strategic management approach. According to the administrative theory, clear divisions of labor, setting up goals and visions and delegation of power can be instrumental in enhancing the performance of an organization and in this case, the law enforcement (Schlosser & Gahan, 2015). The strategic management framework, on the other hand, emphasizes on the objectives, tasks, and resources that may be instrumental in the life of a law enforcement officer. Both concepts will help to provide a deeper insight of the research questions in the study. Qualitative and survey research will be instrumental in measuring the concepts. Some of the levels of measurements that will factor in include interval, ordinal and nominal.
The population that will be sampled includes police officers and those victims that have at one point in time been subjected to excessive force from the law enforcement agencies. Samples of more than 50 will be used to enhance the accuracy of the outcomes in the research process. The participants will be randomly picked individual in the various police enforcement departments. Also, some selected victims of police brutality and use of forceful measures will be chosen. There will be 100 law enforcement officers’ participants 50 male and 50 female. Of these sample size, a majority will be picked from the various police departments around the country. An additional 50 victims that have been at the forefront of police use of forceful measures will be picked at random. The specified sampling technique that will be applicable in the research study will be simple random sampling. In the method, each member of a subset of the population has an equal opportunity of being selected. The reason for using the specified sampling technique is because of its simplicity and accuracy. It is also flexible and eliminates errors that may occur during the sampling process. By allowing equality in the selection of the subsets, the technique also eradicates instances of bias.
The main method that is going to be used in this research will be quantitative methodology. This will be quite useful as a comparison will be drawn between an independent variable and a dependent variable. In our case, this will be journals that have clear stories of police brutality and use of forceful measures. Content analysis of several scholarly materials that will be used such as journals, articles, books, newspapers will also be conducted. The main technique that will be used in the collection of data for the research will be questionnaires.
Questionnaires will form the main tool of conducting this research. It is a research instrument that entails a list of questionnaires that participants are supposed to answer. They will be designed in such a way that they will address all the research questions. The questionnaire will be open-ended and will contain two sections. The first section will contain open-ended questions on what the participants think about forceful measures used by the police. The second section will contain questions on the specific individual has experienced an instance where forceful measures were necessary and why they were necessary. The participants will then be requested to write a short paragraph of how they think the use of force by police officers can be managed and cases of use of force where the situation required least use of force can be minimized.
Participants will be selected randomly in order to provide the most accurate results possible. Law enforcement participants will be picked from the numerous police departments around the country. Proper instructions and explanation of the aim of the test will be discussed with the participant before he or she answers the questionnaire. The questionnaires will be collected soon after the participants finish filling in their feedback. Scholarly material that is going to be used in the research will be solely on the influence of fashion magazine and media on body image and not any other aspect that does not for the statement of research.
The results obtained from the research will be used to analyze the common misconceptions associated with law enforcement officers use force. Further, the expected outcome will play an important role in establishing the impact of forceful police measures to the general public image of law enforcement agencies (Mulvey & White, 2014). The results will also be quite beneficial in gauging the extent of awareness of the different instances that law enforcers are required to use forceful measures when dealing with criminal activities. Finally, the results will be used as a guiding framework to any individuals willing to know the extent to which police officers can use forceful measures and also where they are required to use the least forceful measures. They will also learn what is expected of suspects once a warrant of arrest is issued by an individual and what measures can the individual take to ensure he or she does not put himself or herself in a situation that will constitute forceful measure by the law enforcers.
Questionnaires will be essential for the research study because of various reasons. First and foremost, using the research method, it will be easy for the researcher to reach a large section of the respondents and will also get speedy results. The use of questionnaires is cost-efficient and can cover all the aspects of the topic (Stillman, 2005). Apparently, this implies that the results derived from the research method will address all the research questions. Analysis of information provided from the questionnaires is easy and may provide the researchers with additional information on the topic under review. Other than being inexpensive and flexible, the method is also a practical way of gathering data, and it eliminates instances of biases from the respondents (Bryman, 2016).
4.1 Research ethics
Approval from the IRB will be vital for the research study because of its dealing with human subjects. A green light from the IRB will make it easy for the researcher to directly engage with victims of police brutality and ask them to undergo biochemical laboratory tests with the aim of identifying any internal injuries on the individuals. The law enforcement officers, on the other hand, will undergo a polygraph test to assess the accuracy of information that they will provide regarding the use of excessive force on the civilians (Resnik, 2017). The researcher will ensure that the confidentiality of the information provided by the respondents is maintained. Apparently, this will be made possible by ensuring that all the questionnaires from the respondents are placed in sealed envelopes that will only be opened by the researcher. As a part of research ethics, the researcher will also refrain from personal questions that may deter the concentration levels of the respondent thus leading to cases of bias (Espejo, 2010). All the questionnaires, as a part of the ethical research code that will not be posted within the set period, will not be accepted by the researcher.
5.0 Proposed statistical analysis
Regression models will be used for the statistical analysis of data. Standard deviation will be performed on the provided data followed by multiple regressions with the aim of identifying the relationships and correlations between the provided variables. On the extreme, it will also be essential for the researcher to use statistical software such as SPSS in a quick analysis of data. The results that are derived from the statistical assessment will provide an overview of the consistency of the variables, correlation of the dependent and independent variables and the level of significance (Bryman, 2016). Conducting a statistical analysis will help in strengthening the research study.
Reported cases of the use of excessive force by the law enforcement officers have over the years been on the rise, and the trend is worrying. Some of those victims of the police brutality have turned out to be innocent or mistaken identity. Various human rights bodies have come out guns blazing, criticizing the law enforcement agencies for going overboard in maintaining law and order. However, the police officers in most countries argue that some instances such as when their lives are in danger, and emergency cases call for the use of excessive force. The use of tear gas and corporal beatings on groups of peaceful demonstrators is an example of the law enforcement officers’ use of force on innocent civilians. The study will try to address the misconceptions placed on the police brutality, identification of various scenarios where police use force and consequences associated with the use of force by police. The research designed will be attained through the use of scholarly articles and books on law enforcement as well as relying on the findings from the questionnaires.