Officer Ima is not only capable, but also an experienced police officer. During her employment, she has become a member of a peculiar subculture that subscribes to ‘old school’ policing techniques. This has earned herself respect among her friends and enemies in equal measure. Such heroic stunts have not been well received by her supervisors. She responds to emergency calls without back up. Moreover, complains have also been lodged against her brutal nature, in the line of duty. She does not have respect for protocol and police procedure and only notifies her supervisors when she is confronted with a major incidence. In addition, she has trouble adjusting to the presence of a new supervisor. She regards the authorities as her enemies. Despite numerous disciplinary complains and concerns she has never been penalized for her actions. She recently went against the code of conduct of police officers by going beyond her jurisdiction. Not only did she tamper with crucial police evidence at the crime scene, but also lied about it in her report.
There are various situational problems that are presented in this case study. One significant problem is how to treat a capable, experienced and senior police officer who has become indiscipline. One of the cardinal requirements in police work is the trait of being discipline and respect for orders from superiors. However, officer Ima has throughout her 8-year old career demonstrated that she does not hold her superiors in high regard, and would regularly disobey them in the name of ‘old school’ policing. Another conundrum posed by the case study is how to react to an officer intentionally going outside her jurisdiction. Her excuse is that she wanted to render help to her colleagues, which was never requested in the first place. She deliberately interfered with a crime scene and lied to her supervisor about it.
Ima demonstrates a high level of indiscipline that cannot be tolerated in the police, which makes her a problematic employee. In most of the cases in which complaints have been lodged against her, she is reported to have committed those acts intentionally. Moreover, she puts herself and others at risk by not requesting for back up, which is extremely essential in case of a hostile ambush. In addition to this, she treats her colleagues unprofessionally and unethically. This amounts to incitement because it is meant to encourage them to play ‘the bravely card’ and ignore safety measures meant not only to protect them, but also innocent civilians who are victims of crime.
Police officers are employed in order to maintain law and order. It is, therefore, unacceptable to allow a police officer to contravene the law at their own convenience. In any democratic state, the rule of law reigns supreme. One of the key elements of the rule of law is equality before the law. In the case study, Officer Ima went against the law when she went beyond her jurisdiction. This is a serious offence and should be prosecuted. Moreover, interfering with a crime scene is also another serious offence. This is because it will make it hard, if not impossible, to track down the culprits who committed the crime. It is also an offence for an officer to lie about her work in the field.
Officer Ima has been so lucky to have evaded punishment during her 8 year old spell at the police department despite her numerous indiscipline complaints. However, she must face sanctions in the current scenario. The excuse that she is a ‘time bomb’ is not enough to let her escape liability. She should be suspended from police service with immediate effect. Moreover, she should also be charged with evidence tampering. This is because she deliberately held a gun that was used in a crime. The fact that she is an experienced and capable police officer should have informed her judgment that a gun at a crime scene is evidence. Apart from suspension and prosecution, she should also be forced to apologize to her colleagues whom she has been mistreating.
The justification for these harsh punishments is informed by the gravity of the offences she has committed. It is vital that as a supervisor, to send a signal to the rest of the officers that indiscipline, disobedience and other overt acts of insubordination will not be tolerated. Police officers should be beyond reproach. They should conduct their business in a professional manner and in accordance with the law. The misuse of office, arbitrary use of police power and abuse of human rights should not be traits of a competent officer. If this message is send throughout the department, it would deter an officer from acting improperly. Another significant justification for the harsh punishment is that it may help Officer Ima realize her mistakes and reform accordingly. If she continues like this, she might make a bigger mistake than this one. Punishment is required because despite numerous warning she has not reformed.
Gaines, L. K., & Worrall, J. L. (2011). Police Administration. New York: Cengage Learning.
Hess, K. M., & Orthmann, C. M. (2010). Police Operations: Theory and Practice. New York: Cengage Learning.
Villiers, P. (2009). Police and Policing: An Introduction. New York: Waterside Press.