Police officers are vested with an enormous amount of power over individuals in society. This is evidenced by the weapons they carry and the badge that they wear or possess. For an officer it is sometimes difficult to understand that the power vested in them by the state is not their’s to wield however their whim may dictate. On the other hand, when a police officer makes a routine inquiry, we must all understand that an officer does have the responsibility of maintaining certain order and security within our society and as members of society we should be respectful and responsive.
Problems arise when a real or perceived lack of courtesy on the part of a police officer is interpreted as a demonstration of disrespect toward the individual being approached by that officer. Or conversely, a word, comment or question by an individual being stopped by the officer is deemed by the officer as insufficiently responsive . All too often the exchange of just a few words escalates into a major confrontation and the consequences lead to improper actions by the police officer in response to what the police officer views as disrespect toward himself, personally. Arrests that, under normal circumstances would not take place, now occur. All too often, inappropriate physical force is also applied by the police officer. This is compounded by the fact that what was clearly an unjustified arrest is usually “covered up” by the leveling of false or improper charges. The “victim” is now incarcerated, may suffer physical injury, and is burdened with facing criminal charges in court.