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Effects Of Police Officer Training Essay

2420 words - 10 pages

Effects of Inadequate Police Training
Robert F. Kersey
Liberty University

Effects of Inadequate Police Training

Citizens expect police officers to be ready to handle calls for service on their first tour of duty and the lack of training is no excuse. Law enforcement officers face delicate situations on a daily basis. These situations require immediate and appropriate responses from those who are sworn to protect and serve the communities in which they live. The men and women put their lives in jeopardy on a daily basis and sometimes have to make critical decisions in matters of seconds. Some of these decisions are the ...view middle of the document...

The most common approach taken by those suing police officers for misconduct is under federal law. According to CBS New York, the City of New York paid up to $964 million in payouts covering everything from, brutality cases to patrol-car wrecks to station house accidents. Some of the police officers in question have been sued again and again - including one officer at least seven times on excessive force and brutality claims. Some law firms have even made it their primary business to sue the city. The majority of those suing claim that their constitutional rights had been violated. Even though civil lawsuits are used most commonly, criminal sanctions which are available are rarely used. “In order to cope with the ever increasing challenge of society, having well trained personnel would be an absolute necessity”(Hess, 1958, p.76).

Police training has taken on a significant role in all police departments especially since the environment today is very litigious (Birzer, 2003). Ensuring that officers receive the best training is the most important task a department faces (McNamara, 2006). Training increases the officers’ chances of winning cases, gives them confidence on the street, and can save them and their cities from frivolous lawsuits. Training can also raise the level of confidence a community has in their police force. For this to happen the training must cover all recurring tasks the officer will face, not just on how they should catch criminals. The training needs to be oriented toward what police officers have to know in order to perform their job (Birzer, 2003). Most Police officers spend the majority of time on non-crime types of calls. Therefore, it is important they receive training in these humanistic or interpersonal areas as well (McNamara, 2006). The United States Supreme Court made it clear that training police personnel is a critical managerial responsibility with their ruling in Canton v. Ohio (1989). It benefits the officers more if training is interactive and participatory (Birzer, 2003).

Education is another area that is quickly becoming the focus of police departments when hiring new officers. Administrators acknowledge the need for their police officers to be not only well trained but also educated. Police departments have been increasing their minimum education requirements, which have risen from 10% in 1990 to 32% in 2000 (Maguire, E. R. & King, W. R. 2004). As a Naval Officer I have noticed that during tough economic times, training is usually the first budget item to be cut. The demand for highly educated and trained police officers is high. Whetstone (1993) has shown through a survey that training receives an average of 1.0% of a total agency’s budget with 15% of departments having budgeted no funds for training except at the recruit level. The main reason cited for this significant lack of training was a lack of money. There are a certain number of state mandated...

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