Understanding police culture in the US

POLICE CULTURE IN THE US

Culture can be defined as the acceptable way of thoughts, beliefs, and behavior among and by members of a group.

In the U.S., the motto “Protect and Serve” is not just a lame one. Most people who join the force do it out of their love to help people and not as a career. This shows how police officers are dedicated to their work and are willing to work beyond man hours just to ensure peace and security prevails. Police training is designed to strip the individual of his previous status and make a police officer.

Once the individual wears the police uniform, they assume a state of power and authority that goes with the uniform. The police uniform, badge and gun are universal symbols of power and authority. They create a difference between them and the general public. There is an “us vs. them” mentality which insulates the police from the rest of the society. The police are the good guys whereas the rest of the public are potentially the bad guy.

Trust among police officers is paramount and they have created a spirit of brotherhood where morals are instilled and work ethics upheld. There are various ranks in the police department where the top most in the hierarchy is regarded the boss and assigns cases as well as duties to officers. Suspension of officers after misconduct is also done by the senior officers where the police badge and gun is returned for a certain period of time.

It is no secret that many police departments have issues with racism, homophobia and sexism. Women as well as homosexuals are still fighting to get a space into the “club”. Reports of sexual harassment either by seniors or colleagues have also been reported.

Despite the fact that the department has faced allegations of corruption, a commendable job has been witnessed in the past years and continues to be seen as time goes by.