Police officers are faced every day with potentially violent situations which require a balanced level of interaction on their part. The level of interaction can range from simple verbal controls to the use of deadly force. It is because of this wide range of force application that officers must be well trained in what type of force to apply at the right time. If enough force is not applied than an officer may lose his life. If to much force is used an officer can and will be held legally responsible for his or her actions. In the criminal justice field all departments at all levels have some type of use of force standards that officers can be held accountable to. A certain set of rules and regulations must be established in order to ensure the rights of citizens and officers are being upheld.
For this paper I would like to briefly discuss the term use of force and how it applies in the criminal justice career field. I would like to specifically focus on two major cases which have greatly shaped the way the public views the police and the way in which they apply force.
Before discussing specific cases where use of force has been put into questions first it is important to discuss what exactly the use of force is. Defining the term use of force can be difficult. The International association of Chiefs of Police in a 2001 study called “Police Use of Force in America” defined the term as “The amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject." In the Air Force, the use of force is described as “force which is reasonably necessary in conformity with the statutes and constitution of the United States.”
Though the definitions come from completely different agencies and one is civilian while the other is military you can see that they are somewhat similar. The words differ however the general definition and meaning is the same.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that approximately .5% of the people who have...