Citizens and Law Enforcement: Communication and Perceptions of their Relationship Maria Caterwauled Beloit College Abstract This project will look into the communication between citizens, and citizens and their authorities. The authorities that I will mostly focus on will be police officers, anyone who is executing the law over citizens on a daily basis, and determine whether their actions are necessary or in need of revision. The video ‘bike lanes’ was where I started off, an example of a citizen expressing his indifference towards a policy and those who are enforcing it.
The citizens opinion was not recognized by the police, therefore he showed examples of how the ‘law’ was extremely contradictory to follow. Another example I may put into use will be the US-Davis pepper spray incident. This occurred during a large protest, the students refused to move off of the property therefore the authority believed it would be appropriate to douse the non-violent protestors with pepper spray. The relations between citizens and their police authorities are reflective of our country as a whole. The media often draws attention to these situations from a subjective point of view.
Many people will tend to respond and form their own opinions, but what actions are being done to improve the lack of correspondence between citizens, the law and their authorities? Communication and Perceptions on their Relationship As an American citizen, you are to abide to the law or face the consequences. Laws are meant to be clear-cut, serve a purpose and be beneficial to the community as a whole. Law enforcement officials are meant to serve the purpose of protecting our individual liberties and at the same time enforcing the laws that have been set out over time to protect citizens.
Each locality has their own local police department, the police officers are meant to upkeep the local laws and are sworn to preserve and protect. (US Department of Justice) Police officers do not have the freedom to do whatever they wish, they must follow a certain set of guidelines and laws in order to perform their Job correctly. However, each community or even each individual may have their own perception of their local department based on how well they interact with each other. It is each law enforcement officer’s duty to perform their Job with honesty and integrity.
Although their duties may be difficult to perform, their exact duties are easy to follow. But, often as citizens we see our authorities being shed in a negative light through the media. If the media wasn’t so vital to our society, would we be aware of the injustices that occur on a usual basis? Look up “police” on Google and you will find multiple examples of the ways in which we perceive the police to be abusing their power. There are the miniscule examples where only a right or two are intrigued upon, but then there are the large-scale situations where the rights tot many are being violated.
For example, there is a short video called “bike lanes” on Youth. A citizen receives a ticket for not riding his bicycle in the bike lane and he communicates his anger with the police. The police didn’t empathic with how inconvenient it may be to ride in the bike lanes and gave the man the ticket anyway. ‘says. The man interpreted this situation through media, so it brought the publics attention to the situation, but did it change any policies of the New York City police department? Of course, this occurrence in particular is small one the scale of what has happened throughout our history.
Police brutality is a common occurrence during protests that are intended to be peaceful. In 2011 during an Occupy movement protest at US Davis campus, the University police had asked the protesters to leave, but they refused to which led to a police officer pepper spraying the students. (Tibia, 2011) This event had gained a large amount of attention by the media, people who were there posted videos of the occurrence, and it even had become an Internet meme. Of course, this was only one incidence.
Police brutality was often used during the Occupy Movement, although we have the right to protest, f we are trespassing officers take whatever action they may find necessary. My purpose in writing all of this is not to bash or put the blame on either party, rather examine the relationship between the two. Most citizens purely wish that the law enforcement officers keep them safe and protect their individual liberties, without intervening with their daily lives. Each community has their own unique relationship and opinion of their local police department.
From personal experience, Vive realized that as soon as one officer misbehaves the whole department will be redirected. In my hometown, the local chief of police was cited for urinating on a public building. If the department had control over the media, they would not have had this information released to the public because it conveys a negative image of them as a whole. If something that small can affect the community’s opinion, why do these officers continuously perform actions that will lead to discontinuity with citizens?
We have realized that police operate with class action, it is found to be likely that low-class citizens more often come in contact with officers. Through this, you are more likely to be in agreement with the legitimacy of officers depending on where you are in the social ladder (Ire, 2012. ) Once a citizen realizes this, they realize the true corruption that can be found in our system. Maybe in difficult situations, the law enforcers are not the ones to blame, rather the ones that create the law itself. There are many mindsets that are institutionalized, due to suspicion from stereotypes.
For example, it is much more common for a police to perform a stop- and-search on a person of color rather than of not. This leaves certain groups to feel suppressed and no longer safe within their own community. In return, this makes us question if officers are genuinely on our side, or working against creating a healthy community (Power, 2011 . ) DISCUSSION So how do we go about connecting citizens and Law Enforcement Officers, making sure that communication between both parties becomes clear? It is a process that requires much research and effort from both sides.
Chiefs need to maintain continuous dialogue between citizens and actively listen to their perceptions tot the agency is adhering to established standards (Building trust, 2008) The community needs to also be Just as involved in their own reflective ways. Police leaders need to commit to engaging their community and responding to their needs. They also need to establish a set of values and consistently practice these, clearly stating these making them known to everyone within the department and community (Principles of good policing, 2003. We all need to realize though that not all problems will be solved to everyone’s satisfaction, it is nearly impossible. Also, while we are solving rent issues it is inevitable that new ones will constantly surface. We need to realize that we are all citizens of this country and in order to prevent complete corruption we have to collaborate together, instead of working against each other. Everyone’s interests need to be secured, instead of the interest of a few. Overt brutality and disrespect towards one another is not going to solve any issues.