Police officers have every right to use force, whether it is to defend bystanders from a robbery, a suspect who is likewise armed with a dangerous weapon, or for their defense. “Law Enforcement in the 21st Century”, authored by Grant and Terry, emphasizes that policing in the US has become multi-jurisdictional and complex. Therefore, law enforcers are faced with various challenges, among them is to protect their lives and that of the public, prompting the need to use force in some instances.
The public fails to recognize that police officers are human beings with families to return to at the end of each shift. These people have children, parents, and friends who care about them and want them to return home safely. Officers took an oath to protect and serve the people in their communities. There are portions of every state or city where no one would dare to travel at night owing to excessive crime, drug-related criminality, or robbery. In this scenario, I would have no choice but to use fatal force if I were a police officer entering such a violent and toxic environment with my squad. Civilians who are gang members and carry illegal firearms have been seen in areas renowned for narcotics, killings, and robberies. Generally, law enforcers are here to protect and serve, and they should have the authority to use lethal force when confronted with life-threatening situations.
While force may be necessary to compel compliance, it should always be the officer’s final resort. The use of force continuum is a five-level paradigm that describes a subject’s style of resistance and the appropriate response required by law enforcement (Grant & Terry, 2016). The approach’s primary goal is for the enforcers to obtain compliance from a non-compliant individual by employing the minor restrictive force response possible. As a result, it can be considered necessary when no other fairly effective option existed and the level of force used was reasonable to achieve the intended legitimate goal. In essence, it is critical to examine the totality of conditions and apply the right level of force due to this. The first level, no resistance or compliance, is critical because it determines what happens next. In most cases, the presence of law enforcement will deter criminal activity or diffuse a situation. The subject will obey any lawful direction and will not oppose. However, non-compliance will demand the use of force or the summoning of reinforcement.
“Law Enforcement in the 21st Century” reflects the various obstacles policing has experienced in recent months and years. The authors’ views are based on current topics such as police use of force, community relations, and gun control (Grant & Terry, 2016). They discussed police discretion and how it may be used for good, including less-lethal force. Officers should never pre-judge a person without first thinking about it; yet, they will either protect themselves without hesitation or always presume the suspect has their best interests. For instance, if a criminal is not armed with another gun but decides to assault an officer with another weapon, the officer may shoot the suspect in the legs rather than shoot to kill. Additionally, law enforcers should request assistance before approaching or drawing their firearm on a wanted person for tickets or other offenses.
In brief, Law enforcement officers have various issues, one of which is ensuring their own and the public’s safety, which sometimes necessitates force. The seemingly daunting challenge of discovering and apprehending an ever-present stream of drug traffickers, illegal immigrants, mass shooters, and robbers has been faced by many police officers. Hence, some of these situations require a violent response to prevent the problem from escalating.
Grant, H. B., & Terry, K. J. (2016). Law enforcement in the 21st century. Pearson.