According to Ortmeier (2006), the police officer must possess the following skills and qualities such as proper attitude, integrity, leadership, judgment, communications, human relations, cognitive skills or knowledge and technical skills in order for him to be able to function effectively in the modern society. The police officer must possess the proper attitude in order to gain community support and efficiently carry-out the objectives of the agency. Police attitude is vital to be able to solve the problems he is confronted with in a proactive manner, and not driven by selfish motivations. He must be a peace-maker and encourage cooperative relationships while on duty having a sense of values and goals (Ortmeier, 2006). He must possess a strong ethical standard in terms of trust to be able to gain public’s belief that he is fair, credible and act with restraint. The police officer must be able to exercise sensible judgment using his own discretion. He must be able to have a solid foundation of what is morally right and wrong to avoid wrong decisions motivated by corruption. It is also important to consider the characteristic and personal behavior of each officer as part of the recruitment and selection process since it may affect the informal police decision-making process as they carry out their daily functions. Since police officers encounter ethical dilemmas, they face difficult challenges which demand the use of firm discretion or judgment.
According Dempsey and Forst (2011), police corruption shall be in the form of taking of gratuities, accepting bribes, theft and internal corruption. The level of discretion that the police officers should use will be dependent on the flexibility of the authority given to them by their departments. They are given the freedom to make minor decisions be able to respond effectively to any given situation such as maintaining peace and order tasks and while performing arrests (Brooks, 2010). However, there are instances when the police officer has to make split-making decisions due to the emergency situations.
The communications skill of every police officer is crucial because he is required to submit oral and written reports. Human relations is a vital component in the function of policing because the police officer should be able to practice community relations to the general public. The unity and cooperation between the police officer and the public will be equivalent to better cooperation in terms of reporting crimes, resources and information given to the police by the people (Ortmeier, 2006). Finally, the police officer must possess technical skills that shall include defense tactics, weapons and procedures, first response techniques and arrest techniques.
It is a mandatory requirement for every police officer to finish college education. It was revealed police who completed a college degree were significantly less authoritarian and practice more flexible reasoning compared to those officers who were not able to finish a college degree. It is necessary that there must be a proper selection and training of potential officers to assess if they possess the required skills and education to be able to perform community policing and problem-oriented policing. Focus must be given on the manner or methods to be used in the performance of the assigned tasks, how to solve problems, communication skills and interpersonal skills, social awareness and how the officer’s participation in community awareness (Dempsey and Forst, 2011).
Brooks, L. W. “Police Discretionary Behavior: A Study of Style,” in Dunham, R.G. and Alpert,
G.P. (2010), Critical Issues in Policing, 6th ed. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.
Chappell, A. T., Lanza-Kaduce, L. and Johnston, D.H. “ Police Training:
Changes and Challenges,” in Dunham, R.G. and Alpert, G.P. (2010), Critical Issues
in Policing, 6th ed. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.
Dempsey, J.S. and Forst, L.S. (2011). Introduction to Policing. New York: Cengage.
Ortmeier, P. J. (2006). Introduction to law enforcement and criminal justice, 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.