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Essay about Use of Force

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Use of force is a dilemma not only the United States has been fighting but it’s being fought all over the world. It’s something that is very hard to put down on paper and say this is what you need to do in every situation because you can’t because every situation is just a little bit different. All police officers that have a badge and a gun have the authority to use whatever force is necessary to uphold the law, but sometimes that same use of force the officer used to keep them safe is unjustified. I would definitely put this ethical issue at the top of the list for cops because they have to face it each and every day and it's inevitable in police work, and put their lives on the line every single day when somebody doesn’t comply with what they say or the law. In every case that I have read about or spoken with somebody in law enforcement, the officer has to make a split-second decision on what to do and choose which level of force to use whether that be his gun or pepper spray, and one slip up or misjudgment can cost you your badge, prison time, and most importantly it could cost you your life! Police work as everybody knows is extremely dangerous but nobody deserves to lose their life. According to FBI line of-duty deaths the Law enforcement officers killed and assaulted report shows that in 2018, a total of 106 officers were killed. (, 2018) Before somebody becomes a police officer they have to go through intense training and everything they learn is to keep themselves or other officers out of deadly situations. I feel as if everyone should know that if you resist an officer they will use whatever tactic or force they deem necessary to relieve the threat, and that’s what they are trained to do. Another one would be if you bring a threat upon an officer they will use whatever force they deem necessary to eliminate that particular threat even if that means pulling their firearm or hand-to-hand combat. And I think the news or social media are very quick to jump to the conclusion that the police shot an innocent citizen. But what social media doesn’t understand is that they have to make split-second decisions and so many factors come into play like if it’s in a dark hallway are reaching for something and you have to decide what to do in a blink of an eye.

I was very privileged to have got on with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for my internship I learned so much and they showed me more than I could remember. But I was lucky enough to go through their milo simulator and they ran me through simulation for about 5 hours, I went through everything from using pepper spray all the way u to shooting the threat, and the decisions you have to make are so fast and if you don’t act you will get killed. The Trooper that taught me everything said they have politicians come in that go through the same simulation s and he said every time one comes in they come out with a better understanding of what the officer goes through. Before my time with OHP got cut short by the coronavirus they played some videos intense videos that they show to their cadets when they go through the academy. In those videos, a police officer was akin to a felony stop out on a back road in a small county the guy steps out with a rifle of some sort and the officer ordered him to drop it very aggressively but that officer the month before got in trouble with his use of force and didn’t want to get into trouble again so he didn’t pull the trigger like he should of when he turned that gun toward him and he ended up getting killed by this old war vet with military training with the ability to shoot and move while doing it and that’s how he killed him. All because he was caught up in if I shoot this man is it ethical and do I want to go to jail? Makes your stomach roll when you hear his screams while getting shot. What I’m trying to say is this dilemma is something that will most likely not get fixed in a long time or ever for that fact.

Use of force over the years has gotten better especially from the 80s and 90s but there’s just no winning on the subject until the opposing side sees what the officer has to go through and the decisions they have to make.

After reading the Use of Force Policy, Guidelines and Procedures Handbook I had to ask myself a few questions, And we will start off with the guidelines for use of force useful. The guidelines for the use of force are very useful while reading the handbook over the use of force it covered just about everything you could think of and explained it very well and it also includes the law part of it as well so you know what you have to have to apply that use of force which is very helpful.

The second question I wanted to answer would is should the guidelines on the use of force be revised. No, they cover every aspect and every scenario you could think of for example did you know that there are six different types of subject resistance and for every different one you have a different way of handling it from the subject being compliant all the way up to assaultive resistance. I don’t think that the rules for use of force need to be revised at this time but possibly in the near future.

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The third and the biggest question is, is it followed? Well if you look to social media for this answer one would come to the conclusion that police are racist and a whole bunch of nonsense. The guidelines state that The reasonableness inquiry or an application of force3 is an objective one: the question is whether the officer’s/agent’s actions are objectively reasonable in light of the totality of facts and circumstances confronting him or her, without regard to underlying intent or motivation. This basically means did the officer or agent use, use of force correctly, or was he or she motivated by something else? I think the use of force is followed by all law enforcement to the best of their ability in that split-second decision that they’re faced to make whether stop that force with whatever they deem necessary at that time. When one officer or agent makes a wrong decision that they thought was a good one at the time puts a bad name on every agency across the country.

Another point I want to make is that has so much debate and we kind of touched on it during class and in my internship, we talked about it as well. In the video you had us watch where there was a guy on PCP who wasn’t following orders the cop had drug recognition training and realized what he was on, she ended up giving him direct orders to stop and show her his hands he did no comply what so ever, to cut the story short he reaches for the door handle of the car and she pulled the trigger but she also had another cop right next to her with no deadly for which was a taser, so you are probably saying well why didn’t they agree on to just let him taser him and that’s the end of the story, That’s where it gets tricky and I know in class I had a different opinion on this than you. She got something called auditory exclusion where you don’t hear anything that going on around you and she also got tunnel vision most likely, now I am not saying just because you get these things doesn’t make it right for you to choose the wrong use of force in whatever situation you are in. But, where I stand on this point is that if he got into that car there are a few things that could of happen, he could have grabbed a weapon, or he could get into the car and that alone is considered a deadly weapon, especially under the circumstances of him being on drugs. And she ended up not going to jail so technically she didn’t do anything wrong, but, if you look at the ethical side of her choice of use of force there are people that would say that what she did was not ethical at all and there is the side that’s going to say it was and each side has thigs to back it up on. Which makes did he or she use the right use of force there are always going to be two sides to each story or case. Which makes this ethical dilemma on the use of force so hard to understand.

Lastly, I’m going to state my opinion on the use of force. Firstly, I’m going to go over something that some people might find very controversial. Sometimes it might depend on the officer's mood that day. If the officer might be having some wife problems or family trouble or they might be about money because well being a police officer will not get you rich. All of these things could be brought to the job and possibly taken out on somebody that is resisting arrest and they could take a little bit of anger by putting them to the ground a little harder than they normally would, or giving a ticket for going a couple over. But in my opinion that’s the farthest I think it would go in a cop's mind I never in a million years thought that troubles at home would make or result in an officer pulling his firearm and discharging it for not the right reason. When I say for the right reason I mean the officer was in immediately or someone else was and that’s why he or she discharged their firearm.

Secondly, I’m going to talk about my opinion on how social media perceives the use of force from their perspective and the police officers' side and what I think about it. Social media and the news loves to blow stories out of the water when they think the police use of force was too harsh r they killed someone because of their actions. For example, when a young kid or teenager gets shot by the police and they don’t listen to commands and they start reaching for stuff in their ants or jackets and its dark and you pull a phone out at three AM in the police officer mind the thinks he just pulled a gun and they end up getting shot. Then social media steps in and the headline say police shoot an unarmed teenager, but in my opinion, you have to put yourself into the officer's shoes because like what we talked about in class their initial action will always be faster than our reaction, And that can cause the officer to lose his or her life but, it doesn’t give them the right to shoot at every little thing they find scary.

Use of force in my opinion is very simple the police officer or any form of law enforcement gives you a command to do something you literally just need to listen and comply, people who fight police over stupid things are always the ones that get arrested or they end up getting put on the ground or they have to use another form of force like a taser or lethal force. As long as you’re not doing anything wrong or have any warrants I promise the police won’t make something up to arrest you on and no unnecessary use of force will be used but they don’t understand the logic behind it they just want to argue everything the police does.

The use of force has been around for a really long time ever since police departments started and the use of force policies have been evolving ever since. Where I think it will go in the future will depend on where you live and I think that because some states like ours have different laws than say New York because we can open and conceal carry as long you are over the age of 21 and have no felonies. Meaning in Oklahoma the police officer might have to skip the other non-lethal uses of force and draw his weapon because you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. In New York, if you don’t have a license it’s a misdemeanor and if you carry one without a license it’s a felony. So most people in New York unless they’re a criminal are not going to have a gun on them so the officer can take action the way he feels necessary, that’s most likely not going to lead to lethal force.

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