Police culture is a code of ethics that every police department follows. Ethics being defined as “the study of what constitutes good and/or bad conduct”. There is also subcultures within the cultures. Those subcultures emphasize loyalty and group solidarity.
We all know that lying is wrong, we are taught this at an early age but often times we hear stories as we did in the video posted for the week of police lying for personal gains.
Police culture can sway police discretion in arrests in positive ways and negative ways. In a negative culture a corrupt subculture could be just as the video described. Officers arrest a drug dealer who has a minimal amount of cash on his person then takes the dealer to his residences to “search his home” without a warrant only to “take into evidence” a rather large sum of money that never makes it back to the station. The dealer isn’t going to complain, he’s a dealer.
The ethical value of this is wrong and unacceptable. Society does not accept this as “ok”.
In an arrest where the discretion used is ethical is every other situation that we in society see. The arrests that are made for we sex traffickers are apprehended or when a string of home robberies have been committed and the robber is apprehended.
Officer discretion can be politically motivated. In today’s society our government is advocating for our officers, supporting them in all of work efforts, providing funding for equipment to better provide the officers with the ability to serve and protect. This discretion can also be a positive or negative. Positive political motivation are examples I’ve already listed however negative political motivation are the things movies are made of but are likely all too true.
For police officers, their culture is a lot different than that of an ordinary civilian. For instance, police officers are trained to think and operate different than someone who works in office. Police culture is often seen as brutal, and corrupt. An article in the Justice Quartley states that, “police leaders and criminal-justice commentators tend to endorse the notion that police culture is monolithic and characterized by a number of undesirable attitudes widely across the occupation. In fact, the President’s Task on 21st Century Policing recently proposed that the way to build trust and legitimacy, in order to mend the fractured relationship with the public, is to change the police culture. In urging a shift in the police culture from a role as “warriors” to that of “guardians.” (Paoline III & Gau, 2018. p.671.)
Police officers also use discretion when it comes to arresting criminals, which can vary from situation. Discretion defined by the Salem press is, “the flexibility allowed the police and the courts to make decisions such as whether to arrest and prosecute individuals and the severity of sentences to be imposed. (Shaw, 2014.) I do think when officers act out of line, and the public has a negative opinion of them, then how the public sees police culture can change. I do think if discretion is used how it is supposed to, then the police culture won’t change. It is hard not to say discretion is not politically motivated, especially with all the evidence showing officers mistreating citizens based on the color of their skin. The media also twists things up and shows only one side of the story, which leads the reader to believe something that is not true.