New Jersey State Troopers - Research Paper Example

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New Jersey State Trooper Name: Institution: Police officers have greater power over individual citizens under the law when it comes to security matters. Modern democracy commits to an accountable and reliable police service. However, the reactions that come to some individuals on police conduct are a wonder what they have done wrong this time…
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New Jersey Trooper Police officers have greater power over individual citizens under the law when it comes to security matters. Modern democracy commits to an accountable and reliable police service. However, the reactions that come to some individuals on police conduct are a wonder what they have done wrong this time. Police officers command authority, and they exercise their duties promptly irrespective of whether an individual respects or dislikes the authority. After all, they are just doing their job. Therefore, the public must be aware that challenging this authority has its consequences. Policing involves decision-making. Decisions such as stopping, arresting, searching and even questioning is considered as an infringement of liberty. Arresting, searching and stopping people do not go down well with the citizens, both for those who have and have not been involve in a police encounter. The public’s perception on the negative conducts of police officers is strengthened with the allegations on media reports suggesting that the officers are racial, corrupt and violent. These types of behaviors have negative effects on the citizens’ life, because they do not feel comfortable near or when in the company of police officers. This paper, therefore, describes the rights and conducts of New Jersey State Troopers. Discretion is all about having to choose in respect to the situation, for instance, in reference to the police work discretion is the ability to have a choice (Bechtel, 2005). New Jersey troopers are expected to exercise discretion in all of the decision-making they take. For example, the issue of taking or not taking petty offenders to the court can be decided upon either by issuing out written warnings to the offenders or communicating to them verbally (Bechtel, 2005). However, there are some situations where discretion should be applied with a lot of cautiousness. For example, domestic violence is a sensitive area where troopers have tried to be more understanding, and tried to look for professional help. Instead of just arresting the accused, they have tried to use alternatives means such as mediation, social referrals, counseling, and cool-off periods since domestic violence is viewed as more of a private matter than a public issue (Fuentes, 2006). Most of the time, there is a thin line separating cases such as drug abuse, homelessness and boredom from mental illness. Therefore, discretion must always be exercised, and the need to check an individual’s mental health before locking them up is advisable. In addition, social, public facilities should be provided to keep the boredom in check, as well as drug abuse among the youths and adults (Fuentes, 2006). Rational decision-making is always reserved for the superiors. Most decisions are made based on the knowledge available, experience in dealing with such a situation, and the expertise. However, every trooper has his or her personal method of making decisions especially when going about his or her duty as a law enforcer. In addition, the lower the rank the more discretion is practiced. This is because; most of the crimes take place at the lowest level (O'Rourke, 2012). Discretion in police does not stop at the arrest, but it involves much more including warnings for lesser offences or instant fines, which is done as per the set norms that bound discretion to ensure it is put to recommendable use (O'Rourke, 2012). Patrol officers are one of the police force who practice discretion more than any other section of the police force. The decision they make is influenced by the situation necessary to conduct high-speed chase, when to stop, and when to question a suspect (ANON, 2009). Moreover, the decision made also depends on the urgency and necessity of making an arrest without being accused of racial or other forms of unnecessary arrests. Racial arrest is where an officer regularly stops, questions and arrest one group of people in a community based on their racial background (ANON, 2009). Abuse of power is one of the many malpractices facing the police sector. Policing malpractices are greater to the society as it has to the individual involved. This is because it has a direct impact on the social life of the citizens it seeks to serve. The degree of power invested in an officer is significant that, if abused, will lead to disgruntle among its citizens (Royster, 2010). For example, regular screening of members of a particular community can lead to discriminatory suspicions. Therefore, adequate policing is more of fairness than justice is. It is designed to bring confidence to citizens, and not instill fear amongst the public (Royster, 2010). One of the most significant problems facing the police service includes discrimination. In this context, decisions made are discriminatory to an individual, a group, or a certain community. It can also be base on race, gender or influence (Royster, 2010). Another problem includes poor personnel management. This can be seen in a situation where fewer or more personnel are deployed to a certain area based on the race of the population majority. Positive decision making, such as a proper exercise of professional judgment, is one of the best form of discretion that police officers should apply at any point when making a decision. This is because positive decision-making is guided by well-known work ethics. Effective use of scarce resources such as counseling also helps in improving decision-making process that leads to a positive outcome (O'Rourke, 2012). Another form of positive decision-making is individualized justice. This ensures that the elements of discrimination such as racial arrest are eliminated from the community, since justice is served to the individual involved, and not an individual’s racial background such as race (ANON, 2008). Some of the situational factors that may influence decision-making include the seriousness of the crime reported and the relationship between the suspect and the victim. For example, a murder case is not treated with more urgency than a case of speed driving. The stronger the evidence, the more likely a person will be locked in, and even denied bail for that case. Hence, evidence strength is more vital than other factors (Bumgarner, 2004). This is because evidence influences the decision made by the courts. In the context of domestic matters, the link between the victim and the suspect is of significance. Police always seek help from social workers rather than just arresting the accused. A victim’s characters can also influence decision-making. A victim of unscrupulous character is likely to have decisions going against him, or her as oppose to a victim precipitating compelling characters (ANON, 2008). An individual’s racial background is one of the factors that should not be underestimated within a given society, since it has the power to influence decision made by police officers. For example, a black is more likely to be remanded for flaunting a traffic rule than a white. Genders also have the power to influence decisions: male victims are more likely to be taken seriously by a male officer than a female victim is (Bumgarner, 2004). In conclusion, it is necessary to realize that the decision taken by any state trooper has a social influence on society. In addition, there is also a need to employ professional judgment, which can enhance successful discretion. This is only possible when strong policies are put in place, and adhered too to the latter. References ANON. (2008). New Jersey State Police Department - Performance Evaluation Manual. Abstract Database, 26. ANON. (2009). New Jersey - State Police - Internal Investigation Manual. Abstract Database, 30. Bechtel H. K. (2005). State police in the United States: a socio-historical analysis. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group. Bumgarner J. B. (2004). Profiling and criminal justice in America: a reference handbook. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. Fuentes J. R. (2006). Practical Guide to Intelligence-led Policing. NEW JERSEY STATE POLICE, 6-14. O'Rourke J. (2012). New Jersey State Troopers, 1961-2011: Remembering the Fallen. London: The History Press. Royster B. (2010). A Qualitative Study of the New Jersey State Police Promotion Policy. New York: Lambert Academic Publishing. Read More
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