The study in police culture started many decades ago in the United States and the United Kingdom. The study offered a wealth of material through observation and analysis that contributed to the formation of theories of police culture. In this study, the focus will be on analyzing police culture that will include the significance of stress in policing. It will also analyze the culture for women and ethnic minorities in policing and how they can achieve equality in law enforcement. In addition to examining the culture we will describe the internal and external mechanisms that control police discretion. Police Culture Analysis
* Police culture is extremely complex. There are two main perspectives on police culture, the traditional view and the new perspective. The traditional view paints a negative view of police culture. The simulation states “the popular view of a police officer is a strong, tall, white male” (University of Phoenix, 2012). According to William Wesley’s research police subculture emphasizes secrecy, solidarity, and violence. The solidarity of this population is strong enough that a code of silence was developed.
Because of the high frequency of violence they are exposed to, police officers are extremely suspicious. Although they may be suspicious of all people, police officers continue to be the primary responders. * The new perspective paints a more favorable view of police culture. Despite the secret nature of this population, police officers continue to help people and serve the community (Walker & Katz, 2011). Despite any possible stereotypes police officers may have, they still serve and protect individuals in need.
According to Herbert’s Dimensions of Police Subculture policing is a culture that lives by the law, controlled, active, safe, competent, and morally good. * * Significance of stress in policing * According to author Douglas Page, “policing is psychologically stressful work, filled with danger, high demands, human misery, and exposure to death” (Page, 2010). Every day officer’s go to work with the knowledge that they may be expected to shoot, be shot at, and to use force to defend themselves or another person. As first responders, officers are continually exposed to he negative side of society. The stress of policing places the officer’s health at risk. Because of the type of stress police officers go through they are twice as likely to commit suicide as to be killed by an assailant (Page, 2010). * Coping with Stress * According to Walker and Katz (2011) the police department itself is a major source of stress. Many officers ignore their stress issues. However, others cope by getting assigned to an easier job. Troubled officers either rely on the support of their fellow officers or internalized their problems.
The officers who usually internalized their problem led to alcohol abuse, mental illness, or even suicide. Today, many police departments have programs where officers could cope with their job stress and personal problems. EAP is an employee assistance program in which officers could seek help and get advice and help from a professional. Everything is confidential; however, many officers decide not to seek the help because they have the “macho” image that police officers could handle anything and everything.