The Police Subculture is a very unique system. What may be considered as acceptable behavior to the general population can be perceived as a sign of weakness within a law enforcement agency. On the other hand, what is considered as routine police work to a department can ultimately be unlawful and even violate a person’s civil rights.
The Police Subculture is a way of life for most of the law enforcement personnel throughout the world.
It is a way to deal with the pressures of the job while at the same time projecting a professional appearance as the enforcers of the written law. This lifestyle affects the men and women in blue in 2 different ways.
Throughout one’s career as a police officer, you are guaranteed that you will come across something that the public is not usually privy to such as a homicide crime scene or even a case that involves the abuse both physical and/or sexual against a child.
Most people would be scarred for life with situations like these, but as an officer you are expected to remain unaffected (Malmin, M. 2012). As a human being it is natural to feel emotional and having to keep all of that bottled up can really damage a person. Within the police subculture, you are seen as soft or weak if you do not maintain the invincible and head strong persona that your fellow officers radiate. The need for counseling or therapy can label you as unfit for duty and ultimately cost you your job (Malmin, M.
2012). Because of peer pressure like this, many officers keep quiet instead of speaking out about traumatic events.
Another aspect of the law enforcement lifestyle is wanting to do good for the world. This can be in the form of removing criminals from the street or solving crimes (Martinelli, T. 2006). Although this may have been your driving force in becoming an officer, actually accomplishing these goals can sometimes be hard. Falsifying reports, planting evidence and even lying in court to ensure that an offenders charges stick are forms of what is called “Noble Cause Corruption” (Martinelli, T. 2006). Doing whatever it takes to rid the world of criminals for the benefit of the greater good. It may seem harmless but it can have great ramifications. Not only is it illegal but it can result in the release of a violent criminal who deserves to be in jail. It can also bring about law suits against your agency for violation of due process laws and be grounds for termination (Martinelli, T. 2006). Corruption for a noble cause, if left undealt with can be a gateway to major corruption which can involve selling drugs or even murder.
While the Police Subculture can bring a sense of family and unity to a police force, it can have a devastating effect on the individual officer. While preventative measures can be established in order to deal with such consequences, I believe that total prevention of the problem is impossible. Policies can be implemented and training should be provided to help assist officers in making the right decision all the time. Working with a partner can also help cut down on corruption but there is no guarantee both parties incorruptible. Emotional outlets should be made readily available for psychological issues but corruption rests within the hands of each individual officer. It is up to them to decide how they want to act and who is affected by their actions.