Use of Deadly Force by Authorities
Police department is a sector of government which has the task of maintaining order and peace and preventing crime. The police departments are obliged to use reasonable force when preventing crime even though there are special circumstances where the police departments may be allowed to use deadly force. Deadly force means kind of energy that may probably cause injury or harm to another person when used. According to Bittner (1970), a Police officer who is state’s agent is approved with exceptional powers to use deadly force under particular situations. Application of force may be as inconsequential as pushing or as significant as using fatal force. The police officers are expected to use reasonable force for the situation at hand.
Correspondingly, the police officers should resort to deadly force where there are no other legal means that can be used in the present scenario.
The police departments may use fatal force in the following circumstances. Primarily, the law provides that police officers “can use force to control of someone who refuses to liaise with them, even though there are lawful and concrete parameters” (Rostker et al., 2008). A police officer may perhaps use deadly force to stop people from undertaking illegal and/or dangerous things, or ones that threaten public order, or take people into custody to answer for criminal behavior. The police officers have a legal right to use force in certain situations to monitor individuals who would otherwise be imminent threats to the lives of blameless people or even themselves or who would rty to avoid responsibility. Markedly, there are no other probable methods of defending oneself or someone else from the forthcoming death, or severe injury police officers are legalized to fire somebody in that condition. As a last resort, firearms may be used by the New York Police Department officers.
In 1972, the Police Department of New York City established innovative and more restrictive guiding principles governing the use of deadly force. The restrictions legalized police officers to liberate their weapons only in defense of life and considerably restricted police freedom of choice to shoot at fleeing suspects. From the time when these restrictive guidelines were implemented, phenomenal change has been noted in New York City.
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New York Police Department is delegated with the duty to oversee the use of deadly force. Its roles are outlined in NYPD rules of the use of deadly force and the discharge of a firearm. To start with, it is a prohibition for a police officer to use deadly force against somebody else save the officer has a credible reason to to defend himself or another person present from impending death or grave bodily injury. Secondly, a police officer will not unnecessarily release his or her weapon if taking such action will threaten innocent people. In addition, a police officer shall not liberate his or her firearm once defending property. Moreover, a police officer shall not unfetter his or her firearm to calm down an absconding felon who grants no threat of imminent death or solemn physical injury to himself or another person present. Furthermore, a police officer shall not fire threatening shots. A police officer shall not unshackle his or her firearm to bid assistance with the exception of emergency circumstances in which somebody’s private wellbeing is endangered and if no other rational means is accessible. On the other hand, a police officer is not allowed to free his or her firearm at or from a moving motor vehicle unless fatal corporeal force is being used against another person present or the police officer by any means than a moving vehicle. Also, a police officer shall not free his or her weapon at a canine or any other animal except to take safety measures self to or another person from physical harm and as soon as there are no other sound means to eradicate the threat. In conclusion, a police officer shall not, under any conditions, cock a firearm. At all times, firearms must be fired double action (Rostker et al., 2008).
Hurley (2006) mentioned that the Firearms and Tactics which is a section of the NYPD Police Academy established a twelve-month report on firearms discharge for the previous eight years. The main resolution of the report was to classify patterns and possible hazards which permit the Department to assemble training courses and address contemporary conditions”.
Also, from January 2006, the Firearms and Tactics Section composed an advice-giving group whose duty is to assess shooting reports and gather information about tactical deficiencies. Hence qualifying for review of semi-annual re-qualification cycles, lectures, recruit training, and settings is used in the unconventional tactical firearms course. In 2005, the police officers had interaction with 43.5 million persons. “It was estimated that 1.6 percent people faced threats or force was employed against them in the course of their most recent contact. Since 2002, this rate 1.5 percent was relatively unchanged.” (Durose, Smith, and Langan, 2007). In New York City, during 2006 study of a further semi-million break, interrogation, and frolic report worksheets filed showed that police fired their armaments at suspects in about 0.5 percent of filed reports.
RAND is a non-profit research association founded in 1984. Its duty is to assist in improving decision-making and policy through research and analysis. It was deployed in the City of New York to highlight areas that required improvement and investigate on NYPD firearm training as well as assess firearms discharge review process used by the agency.
RAND report recommends that the annual recruits should be reduced so as to allow adequate training and aim at better structuring. Principally, the NYPD Police Academy trains just about 4,000 recruits on average every year. There are two classes each composing of about 2,000 recruits. It will be necessary to intensely down-size the recruits’ classes and start the training in each two weeks. Through such a new structure, the agency will be able to utilize its resources economically and proficiently. As well the recruits acquire the privilege of personalized attention due to close connections with the instructor in the small classes. Collectively reducing on large class training is less efficient to the recruits.
Similarly, the RAND report recommends for supplementary training to focus on compound skills of policing. This training involves preparation of the police officers for the contextually situations that they encounter daily in policing activities, for example, the stopover, enquiry, and frisk workshop. Hence, all the police recruits will be in a position to participate in different scenarios rather than watch other recruits performing their duties. Correspondingly, it includes the recruits in real and legal positions.
In the RAND report, it is additionally commended that the NYPD modifies training to reduce reflexive shooting scenarios, a situation whereby a stimulus is incorporated to alert the police officers to cues that may not be dependable and impart them that such cues could generate unwanted responses. So as to end these unintentional discharges, entirely firearm-safety training, which takes in the training of NYPD, highlights the necessity of one’s finger to grip outside the trigger guard save once shooting the weapon. For constables to evade depraved practices in handling their weapons, there is the need of imposing this simple safety principle even more than it is in the present day in all firearm training. It will take account of target practice, simulator training, and tactical house training. As soon as an officer puts a finger on the trigger in the workouts preceding to aiming the weapon, for example, at the low-ready position, the instructor ought to distract the exercise making sure that proper firearm safety habits are being advanced.
The police officers ought to consistently use appropriate means of making decision to evade unsuitable actions through the shortcut ways. It means that before using any deadly force on suspects, the police officers are required to decide on other legal alternatives. The NYPD has a duty to certify that the police officers undertaking training pass through the mandatory, one-day refresher course at range to confirm that every police officer is encompassed in the training and is capable of learning how to make different decisions in different set-ups.
It is suggested to comprehensively implement video stimulators and laptop computers while dealing with more scenario-based training. Likewise, RAND report acclaims that individual simulation workstations on laptop computers may be widely used. However, this might result in partial utility in circumstances where motor skill improvement is not at issue. For example, recruits who have an inordinate logic of policy awareness and understanding may be trained by the use of simulation workstations.
The RAND report certifies that technology should be unlimitedly used by the police officers instead of improving applied understanding about why, when, and where NYPD officers employ deadly force.
The NYPD is required to use less-than-lethal standoff weapons which are a better alternative than using the deadly weapons to injure the citizens. The New York City patrol officers more often than not have a right to use OC spray that is the only less-than-lethal standoff weapon. In New York City, the police officers are authorized to use their armaments while preventing violent crimes in progress, following hidden or absconding suspects who committed violent crimes, and when in a skirmish with recognized fierce criminals or persons purported to have committed delinquencies adjudicated by lengthy sentences, for instance, drug trafficking, serving warrants on armed robbers, or making felony.
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The Department of New York Police was similarly suggested to use CEDs due to their efficacy in reducing the chances of using the deadly force. “In the City of New York, the superintendents and specified tactical units are sanctioned to use CEDs” (Rostker at el, 2008). At the same time, CEDs should not be used improperly.
The NYPD has a duty to pay consideration to the firings involving police officers having an average annual CPI point of 3.1 to ensure that they try everything suitable before discharging their firearms. Despite the statistics that the NYPD already observes the officers exceeding a career total of 20 CPI points, this analysis recommends that the close observing of officers with an excessive accumulation rate of CPI points might be necessary.
NYPD is recommended to guarantee that holsters used by equally plainclothes and patrol officers have the following characteristics, namely, dependability, safety, and serviceability.
In conclusion, if the police officers profoundly abide by the recommendations given by the RAND Corporation, the cases of firing deadly weapons and using deadly force will considerably reduce.