Use of Force by Police Essay

Total Length: 680 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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Police use of force

There is no single globally accepted definition of use of force by police officers. The National Institute of Justice, which is a subsidiary of the Justice Department concurs with this. This leaves the approximately 18,000 police agencies in America with the leeway to formulate their own policies regarding the use of force. Some agencies may address the issue while some may not. The Justice Department has however provided a use-of-force continuum. This refers to a step-by-step manner in which the police officers can act in order to calm a situation. As such, a police officer can first present himself at the scene, resort to verbal warning if his mere presence is not enough, then use unarmed control, say grabbing the offender, proceed to use less harmful weapons such as tear gas and batons, and finally use excessive force (Vera, 2018).

This order of attack is quite important bearing in mind the excessive force police officers are known to apply. That is what they are taught during their training, to counter lethal force with lethal force. This is purportedly in a bid to save their lives. They actually spend lots of time learning how to use firearms.
The use of force does not necessarily mean the victim is murdered. Nevertheless, the use of force may at times lead to death or serious body injury, even permanent disability (Roufa, 2018).

The police officer may sometimes be compelled to apply force depending on what weapon the offender has in his possession. The officer may also weigh the magnitude of force used by the offender. There are instances where the offender may use excessive force with non-lethal weapons such as a knife or baseball bat, which all have a capability to take someone’s life. On top of possession of lethal weapons, the police must consider whether the offender had the intention and ability to cause great harm (Roufa, 2018).

The US Supreme Court has a number of times upheld the use of force. A good example is the 1989 Graham vs. Connor ruling. The judges ruled that the use of force is not bad if there’s a good reason to. And more so if another police officer in the same situation would react in similar manner. Clarence E. Cox III, the former president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, holds the view that….....

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Roufa, T. (2018, October 29). Here Are Some of the Facts About the Use of Force in Law Enforcement. Retrieved November 21, 2018, from

Vera, A. (2018, September 30). Should police use of force be regulated? The answer isn\'t simple, and that\'s a problem. Retrieved November 21, 2018, from
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