University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Title "Principled Policing: Warrior Cops and Guardian Officers"
Date 2016
Author Seth W. Stoughton
Author Institution University of South Carolina School of Law
Author Role Faculty
External Link
Abstract This article contends that a more fundamental reform is necessary: the core principles of policing need to be adjusted to change how officers view their job and their relationship with the community. Law enforcement has long taken great pride in its adherence to a Warrior ethos, which emphasizes honor, duty, resolve, and a willingness to engage in righteous violence. Warrior rhetoric has infused modern policing, shaping how officers perceive their role and informing the way they approach and interact with the public. It has promoted a self-image of officers as soldiers on the front lines in the never-ending battle to preserve order and civilization against the forces of chaos and criminality, and it is believed to both ensure effective law enforcement and increase safety. In too many communities, however, the principles that have grown out of Warrior policing have proven counterproductive, contributing to a distrustful, adversarial, and sometimes aggressive approach to policing that has undermined good police-community relations and exposed officers and civilians alike to unnecessary risk. Today, law enforcement is reaping what the Warrior culture has sown. Policing in the United States is in crisis. Public confidence in policing is at its lowest point since 1993, when four Los Angeles Police Department ("LAPD") officers were prosecuted in federal court, after a state court acquittal, for the beating of Rodney King. Twenty-three years later, a bare majority of Americans report confidence in the police, and an unprecedented number of people report no or very little confidence in policing.
Source Wake Forest L. Rev.
Citation 51 Wake Forest L. Rev. 611-676

This Resource Relates To
case L.A. County Sheriff's Department (Kolts Report and Implementation) (PN-CA-0001)

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