Public Perception of the Police Essay


The public perception of police use of force, as a form of brutality, in contemporary policing remains a delicate subject for law enforcement agencies around the country. Regularly, police departments around the United States deal with allegations of excessive force. Whether justified or not, pictures of police using power continue to pique the public’s interest in the United States. However, community perceptions of police use of force situations are frequently distorted by a media frenzy that misinterpretations and propaganda methods. These approaches erode the police’s authority and erode the community’s faith in the police force. As a result, of these few high-profile police use of force instances, the public’s opinion of police use of force episodes remains hostile and violent.


There are several media outlets, and each one may represent the police differently. Therefore, this research will use various media sources, including the internet, newspaper articles, and television newscasts. If the media, as the independent variable, reported events accurately to the public, as the dependent variable, the people’s impression of police use of force would not be harmful and biased (Correia et al., 2016). The public regards the police as crooked, inept, and unjust. Police officers’ self-perceptions were also found to be unfavorable, with officers feeling overworked, underappreciated, and victims of political manipulation.

Policing might be a thankless job, but it’s also an honorable one. They are in the public glare all the time because of their training and jobs that require them to “defend and serve” their communities. All of their actions are seen by those standing by and watching them do their jobs. Like in any other industry, some policemen should not be performing their jobs. Such cops bring a poor name to the genuinely decent and committed officers who work so hard to provide for the needs of the public they serve.

Some of the most noticeable differences between police officers and the general public are born out of the perspectives on the deaths of individuals who are members of the black community. They frequently involve the various encounters with police officers that have occurred in previous years and the various protests that have sprung up as a result of these multiple events. Approximately 67 percent of police officers and 39 percent of the general public believe that encounters with deadly police officers are isolated rather than combined incidents (Correia et al., 2016). This caused the fatal encounters to be signs of a more significant problem between the black community and police officers.

For racial progress to occur, the issue must be moved about. As the subject goes around, more inequalities are natural, frequently involving members of the general public and law enforcement personnel from all races (Correia et al., 2016). The police officers and members of the public were asked if the country has granted the black community the same equal rights as the white community. Less than 30% of black police officers stated that the necessary steps had been taken to ensure that the rights of both communities were equal.

A majority of Americans feel that they are aware of and capable of understanding the dangers and obstacles that police officers encounter. They believe that they comprehend those risks and challenges quite clearly in return. Even though most police officers think that the general public is not fully aware of the many difficulties that they come into deal with daily in their duties, by accident. Some of these differing viewpoints and beliefs may have been impacted by popular drama television episodes that frequently feature shootouts between police officers and unarmed citizens. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, more than half of all Americans believe that police officers tend to discharge their service firearms while they are actively on duty.

There is a considerable disagreement about whether or not adjustments are required to attain better racial equality to reach every police department in the country. Overall, police officers believe that the government has made more sensible reforms essential to provide the black population with the same rights that the rest of the country enjoys as the general public (Worrall, 2019). In contrast, half of the population believes that the country still has to make more significant reforms to attain racial equality. With ongoing underlying problems between both groups engaged and a more substantial racial gap inside the police department in America, there is a constant underlying disagreement between both populations.

There is a loss in public trust in the police as a result of an increase in crime. It is common knowledge that if there are more crimes, the police are not doing their jobs properly. People are more likely to distrust the competence of police officers as a result of this (Correia et al., 2016). Many complaints against policing stem from charges of suspected cover-ups, which have mainly been applied to racial and ethnic accusations and, to a lesser extent, economic class, and social standing.

The public’s perception of the police as a whole is tainted as a result of these problems on a daily basis. The media has an essential role to play in influencing the public’s unfavorable view of the police (Worrall, 2019). In spite of the reality that police officers are merely human beings who make errors, they prefer to focus on the negative aspects of circumstances. Viewers and readers get a negative picture of law enforcement officials since this is the only problem that the media covers. The idea that police officers are aggressive in their approach is something else that has received a lot of media attention recently.

When the police have used excessive force, and in some cases in an unreasonable manner, there have been instances where this has occurred. As a result, despite what the media would have them believe, these instances are extremely unusual and do not occur as regularly as the media would have them believe. If the authorities think they are in imminent danger, they will give the offender every opportunity to surrender before resorting to force. Perhaps many more individuals would have a better impression of law enforcement if the media focused more on their positive contributions to society (Worrall, 2019).

There appears to be a schism among the general people when it comes to police enforcement. The use of force is acceptable in certain people’s daily lives. In addition, half of the public believes that police personnel should be prohibited from using any type of force, especially when it is tied to race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. When the country was immersed in a tumultuous time of conflict and civil rights fights, some believed that media bias developed.

Even if police officers are doing everything they can to safeguard the public, it would be much simpler for them to accomplish their job if their constituents supported and backed them. When the authorities need to take control of a person or a group, there are several scenarios. This may be physically and emotionally exhausting for both the police and the individual or group of individuals they are trying to manage (Worrall, 2019).

Even if everyone despises the concept of acknowledging this, it is the truth. The universalistic approach to police conduct may be viewed from three different angles. The social environment in which police officers are hired and educated is critical from a sociological point of view. The police personality is examined from a psychological standpoint. An officer’s workplace personality tends to be more conservative, authoritative, and distrustful. Individuals with a couple of these qualities already in place are drawn to law enforcement jobs. Integrity, honesty, sensitivity, leadership, and exceptional communication skills are among the qualities of a Special Constable.

There are some people who feel that if they offend a police officer, they will be arrested. People’s belief is dependent on what they see on television, whether it’s a movie or a news channel. Regardless of whether or not they deserve it, they will be punished for their actions, regardless of how wrong they were. Nobody deserves to be trampled on the head in most situations. To say that terrible officer are not chosen by the police would be an understatement. For new cops who are eager to serve the public, it is feasible that they will watch their most highly regarded boss being beaten up. Giving something to someone who plainly does not deserve it, and then doing the same thing yourself is conceivable.

The public is scared of incidents like this one, which is why excellent officers have a terrible reputation. According to reports, the event with the girl ranks as high as the Rodney King beating and Abner Louima’s assault. According to Maguire and Johnson (2017), law enforcement has to do a lot of digging to figure out why they did what they did. That is not always the case, and the public’s already damaged. Cops must do all in their power to educate the public about stuff they did not already know. Perhaps the public’s distrust of law enforcement could be reduced if it knew more about what officers do in the shadows of the bureaucracy (Worrall, 2019). Individuals do indeed have legitimate concerns about what they hear on the news or read in the media. However, many reports are overblown, which can cause individuals to be too concerned for no good reason.

When it comes to policing and racism, there are some cases where race plays a role in investigating a specific crime. A criminal gang under investigation for a variety of offenses is one such illustration. Only specific members of that particular criminal family are allowed to join, and those members are all of the same ethnicity. Someone like a serial killer or a rapist might also serve as an example (Worrall, 2019).

They will conduct their investigation based on the witness’s description if they have an eyewitness. As a result, authorities must be on the lookout for anyone who meets the description of the alleged perpetrator. That is not racist, even though some people still claim it is. In the event of an emergency, it is comforting to know that someone is there to help. Even if no one agrees that the cops are not shady, everyone should agree that it is pleasant to know that someone is there to help.

For the general population to be aware of available assistance is critical. When the public hears that a fellow cop was treated with respect by a police officer, things might get out of hand. As a general rule, most individuals disagree that police personnel should not be penalized for crimes committed by civilians. In the end, the general populace is enraged and thinks the cops would not be there for them when they need them. Law enforcement must remember that if they let an officer get away with a crime, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, a civilian who commits the same crime would expect the same treatment.


As long as historically disadvantaged populations are disproportionately afflicted by police violence, police brutality will be primarily aimed at males. The criminal justice system’s reaction to victims of police violence will continue to be disproportionately focused on men. Mixed-methods research may be performed to understand better the impact of police brutality on sexual and gender minority communities. Future research, which should include subsamples of transgender and no binary people, is also necessary to better understand public attitudes about the police and their associations with exposure to police brutality. A larger sample of people who have been sexually assaulted by police officers, as well as mixed methods research, are required to understand better how sexual victimization and perceptions of police legitimacy. This also involves satisfaction with police performance, are assessed in the context of sexual victimization and sexual victimization.


Correia, M. E., Reisig, M. D., & Lovrich, N. P. (2016). Public perceptions of state police: An analysis of individual-level and contextual variables. Journal of Criminal Justice, 24(1), 17–28. Web.

Maguire, E. R., & Johnson, D. (2017). Measuring Public Perceptions of the Police. ResearchGate; Emerald. Web.

Worrall, J. L. (2019). Public perceptions of police efficacy and image: The “fuzziness” of support for the police. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 24(1), 47–66. Web.

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DemoEssays. "Public Perception of the Police Essay." December 24, 2022.