In a response to the article “The Media, the Public, and the Law Enforcement Community: Correcting Misperceptions” by By Colonel Michael Tooley, Jeffrey Linkenbach, Brian J. Lande, and Gary M. Lande, this essay tries understand and add a personal opinion to the facts and suggestions revealed in the article.
Keywords: Misperception, misconception, citizens, media
Political Science; Response Paper
This essay is response to the article “The Media, the Public, and the Law Enforcement Community: Correcting Misperceptions” by By Colonel Michael Tooley, Jeffrey Linkenbach, Brian J. Lande, and Gary M. Lande. The article brings into light the common misconceptions that emerge in the mind of the people, especially the policemen about the way law keepers are perceived by the society they work for. The article deals with the misrepresentation of police officers by the media and how it affects or does not affect the common people’s outlook towards policemen. The article gives evidence of existence of such misperception through research and suggests ways in which negative misperceptions may be removed. This essay identifies that such misperceptions exist in the policing bodies and discusses how this article paints only a preliminary picture of how perspective of policing bodies may be changed.
The article tries to assert that Policemen believe that their presence is not taken as a positive sign by the common people. The example of two different police officers from isolated areas sharing similar views about people supports this fact. However, one must not forget that a widely accepted fact may not be true at all (Buker & Wiecko, 2007).
One other fact mentioned in the article that strongly supports the idea of misperception of public opinion present in police and their families is that they fairly remain secluded from the citizens they serve. People with similar occupations tend to form close knit societies (Brough, 2005). However, this structure impediments the possibility of any form positive feedback from the people to the policemen.
The media plays an important role in building a perspective of any situation. However, it is difficult even for media to depict an unbiased scenario with little information (Dwivedi & Pandey, 2013). Because of the sheer lack of information from both ends, and because there is no direct feedback from a wider sample of citizens, policemen who are at the receiving end of the media’s review will always be lead to believe that their actions will only spawn negative responses from the people (Tooley, Linkenbach, & Lande, 2009). But one must understand that sensationalism is only a part presenting a story and not the complete story itself.
In a general opinion, public opinion must be undertaken time and again to help policemen find out what exactly goes in the mind of the people they serve. For example, a statistic in the article claims that nearly eighty percent of citizens feel safer with a policeman around. However, such information is not relayed to officers, nor to the staff assisting them in civic laws, leaving a gap for doubt.
The need of the hour is to build a more harmonious relationship between citizens and police men. The first move, as described by the article, should be to remove a constantly accepted negative perception amongst fellow policemen. Officers must discourage disseminating information that supports the idea of a negative perception of police in the eyes of the people. Examples must be given to policemen both on and off field where citizens provide a positive feedback to their efforts towards maintaining law and order. Apart from this there must be social practice to make people aware of the lengthy procedures that law makers and police departments must follow in order to maintain law and order.
Brough, P. (2005). A comparative investigation of the predictor of work-related psychological well-being within police, fire and ambulance workers. New Zealand Journal of Psychology. 34(2), 127-134
Buker, H. & Wiecko, F. (2007). Are causes of police stress global? Testing the effects of common police stressors on the Turkish National Police. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, 30(2), 291-309.
Dwivedi, P.K., Pandey, I. (August, 2013). “Role of Media in Social Awareness”. International Journal of Humanities & Sciences. Vol. 1 (01). ISBN 978-93-83006-16-8 page 67-70.
Tooley, M., Linkenbach, J., Lande, G.M., (2009). The Media, the Public, and the Law Enforcement Community: Correcting Misperceptions. The Police Chief, vol. LXXVI, no. 6, June 2009.