Police Realities

724 Words 3 Pages
“Myths” are described as narratives or stories that are drawn from a society and symbolizes its ideology, morality, values, and beliefs. There are many myths in policing that influence an officer’s decision. In this paper, only myths related to neighborhoods are discussed. One of the biggest myth or belief is the idea that policing is a dangerous occupation. In reality, Waddington (1999), argues that police work is nothing if not boring and only a few encounters involve the use of force. Yet, police officers continue to glorify and exaggerate war stories and violence. This is associated with the myth of crime fighting image and the celebration of masculinity, which is in part emphasized by police culture. In fact, most research demonstrate …show more content…
This has an impact on an officer’s decision in such a way that officers assigned to work in neighborhoods with high disorder and high crime become cynical, often view questionable behavior as normal and view some victims as “deserving it” because in their perspective, the victims are often themselves criminals (Phillips & Sobol, 2010). This including workload, is what Klinger suggested explain the variation in vigor in relation to an officer’s decision to arrest, issue a citation, or do nothing. Thus, Klinger’s ecological theory helps explain how the use of formal authority by police is influenced by the characteristics of the neighborhood. As previously mentioned, police officers often group areas. Smith, Novak, Frank, and Lowenkamp (2005) stated that police group these areas within cities into easily easily recognizable and understandable categories. As a result, these conceptualization of work places provide officers with a short hand for decision making within these neighborhood (Smith et. al., 2005). Consequently, when an officer responds to a call in a neighborhood marked as dangerous or anti-police, the officer is more likely to use force and or accept the use of force by another officer. This is so because unnecessary force may be considered a normal feature of their work environment (Phillips & Sobol, …show more content…
al., 2005; Terril, 2002). Additionally, officers may rely on force because they view force as an effective means to control those in need of control, in other words, the poor, minorities and the young (Terril, 2002). Terril also argues that the application of punishment by legal agents, in this case, the police, can be explained in terms of various types of social space in which the subjects of control are located. For instance, the greater the social distance between the police and the citizen results in a greater likelihood of use of force by police. Social distance not only influence the use of force by police but also impacts type and level of services provided. Smith et. al. stated that the police may be more likely to work with citizens and engage in community service activities, such as, block watch and community organizing in neighborhoods with less social distance and neighborhoods that are characterized as supportive of the police. This relates back to cynicism or the notion that officers believe there is nothing else that can be done about the problems in the beat or neighborhood (Phillips & Sobol,

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