It has been discussed in many public circles whether or not the N.Y.P.D. should or should not be monitored by the Justice Department. Many feel that some of the recent cases of brutality and corruption have warranted some sort of intervention by the Government. I believe that we should be opposed to a federal monitor. To be constantly watched over by a body such as the Justice Department, would be demoralizing to all of the officers. As we know, police moral in the N.Y.P.D has not always been at a high level as it is, and with a monitor, law enforcement will suffer. If the cops feel that each move they make, each risk they take every time they go out on patrol is being watched, they will become hesitant to make that move. They will just do their eight hours of duty, driving around their patrol cars, because they would be too afraid to make a mistake. We sometimes forget that police officers are humans too. We sometimes expect them to be superheroes, and forget that they too are human beings. They will make mistakes. Within the department, there will be good cops and bad cops, just as in society, there are good people and there are bad people.
Police misconduct is and will be a very important factor in our society now, and for many years to come. In our city, the presence of police in our neighborhoods, on our streets, affects the way we think. If you see an increase of police in the streets, you could assume one of two things; either, "I do not feel safe seeing these cops" or that you do feel safe seeing them. Those who support the former are right to have these reservations of the New York Police Department. When you turn on the news and constantly hear of reports of police brutality and corruption, you should have every right to fear for your life. Those who we believe are there to protect us, are out there beating people, whether they did something wrong or not, getting their kicks from it. Is this the way that the police should be perceived? Definitely not. When someone sees an officer in uniform, they should feel that he is out there doing an honest job, not using his powers to assault citizens.
The most common forms of alleged ill treatment are repeated kicks or punches by officers using fists, batons, guns, and police radios, sometimes while the person was already handcuffed or restrained in another way. In several cases, people have died after being restrained by police officers. Many cops practice this form of assault because they do not have faith in the justice system, that they are being paid to represent. Once they have arrested someone, they quickly assume that he or she will be back out on the street in a few hours, doing the same thing that put them in handcuffs in the first place. When this theory is assumed, the officers figure that they might as well teach a lesson to that individual, because our system is a revolving door. You break the law; you deserve to be beaten. The same can be said when talking about corruption. Many cops who participate in this practice do it either to make some extra money, to help their struggling paychecks, and they enjoy taking advantage of a system that gives them an almost absolute power on the streets.
Fortunately, for our society, most cops do not have this mentality. Most cops are hard working people, who want to do something fulfilling for their communities. However, as the old saying goes, it only takes one rotten apple to spoil the bunch. As soon as a cop gets out of hand in this regard, and the public knows it, it reflects on, not just that officer, that precinct, but on the department as a whole. For the police to be an effective force, in the eyes of the public, they need to clean up their image. The police in our city need a no tolerance stand on against police brutality and corruption. It needs to be known to the public that the N.Y.P.D WILL NOT tolerate any behavior of this sort. However this alone will not end the problem. The key is education within the department. To accomplish the task of putting an end to police misconduct, it needs to start with education at the lowest level. At the academy level, is where cops learn what they need to know to be cops. What they need is intense training, through videos, seminars, and then when these young officers get out on the street, intense on the job supervision. This will let them know that big brother is watching, without having a federal monitor. As we see crime come to a rise, we may see an increase in police brutality, because it might be a way out. We can put a stop to this though, by educating the officers who will lead our system into the next millennium. The new millennium will bring about many new changes with in police departments across the nation. They will have to come from the officers coming out of the academy who will filter through the system and put an end to police misconduct.