It is very important for Police Officers to be held to the highest standard of accountability one could be held to. Police Officers are needed to defend the front lines of America and in order to accomplish the job, society must instill an overwhelming amount of trust into the Police, and with trust must come accountability.
With every profession there will be mistakes. We require important split- second decisions from our police officers so society should always look at every situation with an objective point of view understanding the motive before we begin to blame it on misconduct. With that said, Police Officers should always obey the law, after all they are the ones that enforce it, so they of all people should know when they are doing something wrong themselves.
With every profession comes a professional courtesy, this is an unwritten rule that most every police agency honors when dealing with off duty police officers for minor traffic related offenses such as; stop sign violations, speeding, etc. It basically means that when an off-duty police officer is stopped by another officer, he usually just lets him go depending on the offense. I do not believe that professional courtesy’s promote police officer accountability, in fact, when abused I think it does the opposite. Policemen begin to think that they are above the law and accountability goes “out the window”.
This practice is not always taken advantage of, and most of the police officers that I have encountered in my career are respectable, law-abiding citizens and take every step to ensure that they act in a manner consistent with the laws and policies of the jurisdiction for which they are employed.
Some people think that police officers should be held to a much higher standard than a regular citizen because of the position for which they are in they should most definitely know right from wrong. To an extent this may be true but, should the punishment be harsher for a police officer who has committed a crime? No. In every case, in every city and in every state, the punishment should always fit the crime regardless of societal status or profession.
In order for society to extend the level of trust it must have for police to effectively do their job, Police Officers, Chiefs, and City Officials in charge of Police must be held accountable for the actions of each and every officer. They must be willing to explain every step of the way the justification of each action their officers carried out and in extreme cases, each officer must stand ready to justify their actions to potentially as high up as the Supreme Court.