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Use of Force Policy in New Jersey - Essay Example

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The fact that there are parameters defined in the policy by which the officers have to abide when using force means that there are less chances of officers crossing the line into being inhumane when using force…
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Use of Force Policy in New Jersey
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Download file to see previous pages It will then evaluate the policy by presenting the advantages and the disadvantages of the policy, and end by submitting some recommendations on the measures which can be used to improve the policy for the law enforcement officers. For the use of force in general, be it lethal or non-lethal, the policy states certain ground points that need to be followed by the police department.
These four points include the use of force only by authorized and certified police officials, the use of force only when appropriate and required, the appropriate and reasonable use of force both in intensity and type, and the use of force only to attain lawful or legal ends (Use of force, 2000). Furthermore, the policy defines these lawful ends, in general, as any of the following four situations: when the officer is confronted with resistance directed at himself or others; when there is application of force against the officer or a third party, which could be another officer or an innocent bystander; when there is a threat of damage to property; or when the officer needs to make other legal ends possible, such as making an arrest (Use of force, 2000). For the use of deadly force, the parameters are further defined. Deadly force can be used only when the officer believes the criminal will cause death or serious bodily harm to the officer or a third party and when there are no other methods of stopping him, or in cases of an escape of such a criminal who has been charged with causing serious bodily harm or killing someone, and who the officer has reasonable belief will cause such harm if he succeeds in escaping (Use of force, 2000). Again, deadly force should only be used if there are no other options available and no innocent bystanders are in the danger of being hurt (Use of force, 2000). In 2009 (Hester, 2010), the Attorney General, on the basis of the recommendations and findings of his advisory committee on the use of force policy (Use of force, 2000), introduced the concept and the use of non-lethal weapons or force in police action in the state of New Jersey. This policy concerned mainly with the use of stun guns by police officers (Hester, 2009), although others measures of non-lethal force such as the use of rubber bullets, baton, foam, pressurized water, and other such devices does constitute non-lethal force (Capstick, 2001). There are two versions of the policy; the original policy, issued in 2009, and a revised version, issued in 2010 (Hester, 2010). The revised version is currently in place (Hester, 2010). The use of non-lethal force does not replace the use of lethal force; it helps merely in reducing the number of incidents in which the police had to resort to lethal force in the absence of any alternative measures (Hester, 2009). Similarly, there are laws defining the use of such force just as there are for lethal force. The use of stun guns is the most common non-lethal force employed by the police (Hester, 2009). According to the old version of the policy, the police could only use this force against those deemed mentally ill or disturbed who were posing imminent danger either to themselves or to the public (Hester, 2010). Such people could be unarmed forcefully and arrested by the use of stun guns (Hester, 2010). The police had to take into account the opinion of an expert on the scene for such matters (Hester, 2010). Stun guns could not be used to forcefully make ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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