There’s no denying that police officers’ jobs are among the toughest jobs in the country. But there is a tremendous level of responsibility that comes with wearing the badge. That responsibility includes carrying out duties in a reasonable manner that is in accordance with guidelines set forth by their own departments. When those guidelines are violated, trust is lost.
A recent report by Bloomberg News, however, tells us that trust is not the only thing lost when police confront citizens in an unseemly manner. Taxpayer money – lots of taxpayer money – is also lost.
According to the report, $35 million(!) is being spent by the New York Police Department to instruct its 22,000 patrol officers on various new techniques for street encounters with civilians. Nationwide, the report found that police training in 23 of the 25 largest cities has increased by about 17 percent since 2013.
What’s Causing All This?
It seems as though hardly a week goes by without a report of an officer misbehaving. So what’s causing all this? Some possible explanations include:
- Inconsistent standards for what constitutes brutality
- Minimal consequences for misconduct
- The targeting of minorities
- Increasing militarization of police forces with equipment designed for foreign battlefields rather than U.S. streets
- Failure of other officers to act as witnesses against their peers
Does the Camera Really See All?
One action item that will hopefully help to stem the number of cases involving police misconduct is a one-year pilot program mandated by the federal government to test cameras in five precincts with the highest number of reported street patrol encounters. While these cameras can be essential is providing documentation of disputed encounters between officers and citizens, it is actually up to the officer to remember to activate the camera when approaching a situation.
If you feel that you’ve experienced police negligence or brutality, we’d like to speak with you about your options. Contact the Fitzgerald Law Firm today for a free consultation.