Public safety is a significant part of every society life. To be happy, people need to feel safe. Moreover, safety s one of the stages in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. On the contrary, every individual has rights. I some cases, public safety and individual rights conflict with each other. This essay is aimed at researching the issue of relations between public safety and individual rights. The essay will be divided into four parts. In the first part, I will research the issue of statutory authorities and responsibilities of government officials, security personnel, and private citizens. The second part will be devoted to the issue of practices or laws relating to search, seizure, and surveillance by police, corrections, security personnel, and private citizens. In the third part of the essay, I will compare the laws relating to the use of force by police, corrections, and private security. The last part of the essay will be devoted to the issue of individual privacy rights and laws relating to policy, practice, and procedures. The last part of the essay will be devoted to my personal opinion on this issue.
Statutory authorities and responsibilities
Government officials, as well as security personnel should do their best to protect people from any harm. Public safety is a part of national secure presented in the form of protecting citizens from home and foreign dangers. Public safety is provided by laws and regulations. However, the danger is that some government officials, security personnel, as well as private citizens tend to violate their responsibilities, which can cause harm to anyone. Every government official, as well as the representative of security personnel should follow all the rules and regulations. The first task of security personnel is to protect citizens from any harm. A harm in this case means any action that may lead to unwanted consequences; in most cases, misdemeanors and felonies lead to such consequences. Moreover, government officials observe how citizens obey the law. On the other hand, citizens have statutory authorities and responsibilities, as well. The most significant obligation is to obey all the country’s laws and regulation. Moreover, every citizen should obey all the police regulations, authority orders and so on. However, I should say that in some cases, citizens’ obligations are too strict. The point is that sometimes police authorities tend to abuse their power.
Search, seizure, surveillance by police, corrections, security personnel, and private citizens
The fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America proclaim that
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Amendment prohibits arbitrary searches and arrests , and also requires that arrest warrants had been authorized by the base and the court. The amendment also says that the warrant should be clearly stated that it is the object of the search , and any other objects found by conducting a search , even if illegal , can not be removed and attached to the case .
Right of people to protect their persons, houses , papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be infringed . No Warrants shall issue , but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, in this order must contain a detailed description of the place to be searched, the persons or things to be seized. Amendment prohibits arbitrary searches and arrests , and also requires that arrest warrants had been authorized by the base and the court. The amendment also says that the warrant should be clearly stated that it is the object of the search , and any other objects found by conducting a search , even if illegal , can not be removed and attached to the case.
There have been many cases when the fourth Amendment was violated. In some cases, police officers tend to search and seizure people with doubtful appearance. The raising amount of drug selling and keeping cases gave the police officers a nice excuse for illegal searches. However, in such cases they violate the fourth Amendment. There is an unpleasant choice: to protect citizens’ security or to violate the main law of the country. Some police officers tend to violate the Constitution of the United States of America; some of them tend to ignore suspicious individuals. In my opinion, every police officer should have strong background to violate the fourth Amendment. Hence, to conduct searches police officers should have warrants.
Surveillance is a rather difficult issue. There is no single opinion regarding it. Edward Snowden has become the person number one in the modern justice system. Edward Snowden is an American technical assistant , a former CIA and U.S. National Security Agency . In early June 2013 Snowden gave newspapers The Guardian and The Washington Post NSA secret information concerning total surveillance of U.S. intelligence for information communications between citizens of many countries around the world, using existing information and communication networks , including information about the project PRISM, and also X-Keyscore and Tempora. According to the Pentagon report closed , Snowden stole 1.7 million secret files , most of the documents for the " vital operations of the U.S. Army , Navy , Marines and Air Force ." In this regard, the United States June 14, 2013 Snowden absentia were charged with espionage and stolen government property. U.S. authorities announced an international search. Snowden revelations triggered a heated debate ( both in the U.S. and in other countries) on the admissibility of mass covert surveillance , within state secrets and the balance between the protection of personal data and national security in the post- September 11, 2001.
Such action taken by the government of the United States of America prove that Edward Snowden stole only a small part of information. On the one hand, surveillance is the violation of human rights, as well as the violation of the Constitution of the United States of America. On the other hand, such measures can help to prevent terroristic acts in the country.
Laws relating to use of force by police, corrections and private security
“Law enforcement officers are authorized to use force in specified circumstances, are trained in the use of force, and typically face numerous circumstances during their careers when use of force is appropriate — for example, in making some arrests, restraining unruly combatants, or controlling a disruptive demonstration.” (Reno, 1999)
The point is that most people have fear to address to police department and file a case against such police officers. They think that other police officers will refuse to take a complaint, because they will try to protect their comrades. The constitution of the United States of America states that every individual has the right to be protected by law. If someone abuses one’s power, he or she should be punished. The police authority abuse does not mean only taking bribes or covering criminals. According to the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting project report, there are many cases, such as drugs or closing an investigation, when police officers may abuse their power. (Packman., 2010)
Laws relating to use of force by the police are rather controversial. On the one hand, a police officer is allowed to search and seizure any suspicious person. Moreover, laws allow police to use force in case of resisting an officer. However, as it has been already mentioned above, some police officers tend to overuse their authorities.
Corrections tend to overuse authorities, as well. Officers in jails tend to physically harm prisoners. There are no laws regulating superintendent’s power use. Every jail superintendent is enforced by law to use physical power in case of escape, for self-defense or to prevent a rebel among prisoners. Although, there are regulations, that prohibit jail superintendents to overuse physical force, not every superintendent follows them. The point is that in some case it is rather difficult to distinguish when a superintendent overused physical power or a prisoner was too aggressive.
Individual privacy rights and laws relating to policy, practice, and procedures
Individual privacy rights were stated and outlined for the first time in the Privacy Act 1988. The point is that the Act outlined the main principles of personal security:
“you must be told why your personal information is being collected and whether it can be given to anyone else; your personal information can only be collected for a lawful purpose; you have the right to see what information is held about you and have it corrected if it is incorrect, out of date or incomplete (the Freedom of Information Act 1982 also covers this); you have the right to have your personal information stored securely and protected from unauthorized access or misuse; you have the right to know how your personal information will be used; if you believe your privacy has been infringed you can make a complaint to the department” (Privacy Act, 1988)
However, the point is that nowadays not all principles are followed. It has been already mentioned that the Agency of National Security has created special surveillance programs. Hence, such programs violate not only the Constitution of the United States of America, but the Privacy Act, as well. To disclose such information, authorities should get either permission from information owner or a warrant. However, such law is not always observed.
Scientist do not have a single opinion on this issue. My thought are controversial, as well. On the one hand, every citizen understands the importance of such programs as PRISM. They help avoid terroristic acts, as well as more horrible crimes against humanity. On the other hand, the ANS has information on every citizen in the world. Private information is called private, because people do not want to share it. Moreover, such information can be a dangerous weapon in hands of criminals. I should admit that one of the kinds of overusing the power by policemen is blackmailing. The point is that a police officer has access to confidential information. In some cases, such information can be used against citizens. Hence, the government of the United States of America and authorities of the Agency of National Security should realize that information can be dangerous in some cases. There is no single solution of this problem. I have already mentioned that surveillance is the violation of the United States of America Constitution, as well as the Privacy Act. However, such programs as PRISM should not be canceled, because they have saved many lives. I suggest that the Agency of National Security should monitor only suspicious people.
This essay was aimed at researching the issue of relations between public safety and individual rights. This issue if rather controversial, and there is no single opinion about it. On the one hand, citizens should feel safe in the country. On the other hand, some measures of achieving this goal violate the Constitution of the United States of America. In this essay, I have researched the issue from different points of view, and come to the conclusion that sides should arrive at agreement. In my opinion, the ANS should reduce the number of people observed. I suggested to observe only those who are suspicious. Moreover, such programs as PRISM should become more secret, so no one has access to such data. I have already suggested that police officers can violate their rights and overuse not only physical power, but means of getting information they have. Citizens of every country should feel safe, but should not sacrifice their personal life.
Constitution of the United States of America. retrieved from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html
n.a. (1988) Privacy Act. Retrieved from http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2007C00615
Packman D (2010) 2010 Q2 NPMSRP National Police Misconduct Statistical Report. Retrieved from http://www.policemisconduct.net/2010-q2-npmsrp-national-police-misconduct-statistical-report/