Use of Force in Law Enforcement Essay

Use of Force in Law Enforcement Essay

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When a law enforcement officer uses force on a subject it will be classified into one of three main categories which are, justifiable, excessive, and deadly force. The authority for law enforcement officers to use force comes from the United States Constitution (case law), state statutes, and department policy. Law enforcement use of force is very important because it involves the patrolman on the street, the corrections officer in jails and prisons, and the courts where excessive use of force cases are held.
Often times while attempting to make an arrest, a law enforcement officer will have to use the appropriate use of force to make the arrest. In some instances the appropriate use of force for some officers will be as simple as the officer physically escorting the subject away from the area and placing him or her in handcuffs. For others it will be a more serious use of force classified as deadly force and it will involve the officer discharging their firearm at the subject to protect their life or the life of another.
Some news programs portray law enforcement officers as constantly using force on subjects. The Rodney King case in 1991 received worldwide attention when news programs showed a video of King being hit repeatedly by Los Angeles police officers using batons. More recently the news videos about police use of force have involved the police and the occupy Wall Street protesters. If society based their opinion on police use of force just by what they have seen on the news they would assume that the majority of law enforcement officers are using force, however, statics show that “Among all calls for service, force was used by the police less than 1 percent of the time, according to a study examining police us...


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... courts that the amount of force that they used was justified. Some officers may not be able to prove their actions were justified and they can be found guilty of excessive force and can be held liable for civil and criminal charges. The courts have also become involved in police use of force by passing case laws that apply to all law enforcement officers across the nation.



Works Cited

Cole, G. F., & Smith, C. E. (2010). The american system of criminal justice. (12th ed.). Wadsworth Pub Co.
Fla. Stat. § 776.05 (2011)
Fla. Stat. § 776.06 (2011)
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 1989
Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213 1983
International Assoc of Chiefs of Police. (2001). National Institute of Justice. Retrieved 12 6, 2011, from Statistics on the Use of Force: https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=197636
Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 1985


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