Every year there is numerous report of abuse of power by law enforcement. Abuse of power is the improper use of authority by someone who has that authority because he or she holds a public office (Abuse of Power, n.d.). Officers take an oath to uphold the law, serve, and protect the citizens. Lately, all that have been shown in the media are headlines about officers abusing their powers. Police brutality and misconduct have been going on since the beginning of time. Back in the day, people only heard of police misconduct but never seen it in the news. New technology today such as dash cameras, camera phones, and video cameras has made it possible for the public to see how law enforcement abuses their powers. Although there are actual footages of police brutality, majority of the officers never get punished. The story of Memphis police officer Darrell Mallone and dispatcher Jenny Rice are a great example of abuse of power.
In Memphis, Tennessee, Michael Montgomery was driving when he saw two guys on a motorcycle weaving in and out of traffic. He pulled up beside the two guys at stop light and told them, if they did not stop he would call the police. One on the guys on the motorcycle identified himself as a police officer and showed his gun to Mr. Montgomery. Mr. Montgomery immediately calls 9-1-1 and reported the incident. Later that day, Mr. Montgomery got a threaten phone call advising him to watch his back. The caller also told Mr. Montgomery, if he is seen in Memphis that he would mess him up. The officer was identified as Darrel Malone.
Officer Malone called the 9-1-1 operator Jenny Rice and retrieved Mr. Montgomery personal information. Officer Malone and the 9-1-1 operator were both put on paid leave for further investigation. If the incident is found to be true, then Officer Malone will face severe disciplinary actions for abuse of powers and so will the 9-1-1 operator for violation of procedure.
The same Memphis Officer was involved in a similar incident prior to the one with Mr. Montgomery. Another man accused Officers Malone of abusing his power. Leo Veasley states that Officer Malone is a bully with a badge. Mr. Veasley was pulled over and given a driving ticket by Officer Malone. Veasley claimed that Officer Malone got verbal, pulled out a stick, and threaten to hit him in the face. Veasley had to go to court months later, that when he got officer badge number and reported him to the Memphis Police Department internal affairs. Veasley accusations came a day after the incident between Officer Malone and Mr. Montgomery. After Veasley had reported Officer Malone, then he began to harass Veasley. Officer Malone drove by Vealsey home numerous of times a day, leaving tickets on his car, and shining a spotlight into his home.
Memphis Police Department claimed that Veasley never filed a complaint with internal affairs. They stated that he only filed a complaint with a workstation at the precinct level. Officials claimed to have called Veasley several times to do a follow-up on the case but got no response. Since Veasley never returned the phone calls, the case was dropped. Veasley states that he never received a follow-up call. It appears that Officers Montgomery is a ticking time bomb. If nothing is done to stop him, he could seriously hurt someone. If the accusation against Officer Malone is true then he acted very unethical in both cases and should be punished. Although, Officer Malone makes the department look bad for his unethical behavior, it was an individual act.
Preventing police corruption completely may never be done. However, there are ways to decrease police corruption. There are a few things that can be implemented such as better training, annual in-service ethics training, and incentive program. If these ideas were implemented before hand, the two incidents involving Officer Malone may not have happened.
In training, officer with good character and personalities should be hired. Although it is hard to predict what officer will become corrupt after giving so much power. The only thing that the department can do is pray that majority of the officers will be honest and do their job. Once a year, every officer should be required to attend ethics training. The department should make sure ethics is being promoted on the job after an officer is hired. Ethics training will teach them that certain things they may be doing is unethical. Also incentive programs will help prevent police misconduct. Rewarding officers for a job well done every now shows that they are appreciated. Giving a bonus for being an outstanding and honest officer may encourage other officers to do same.
Police Officers are given an enormous amount of power. There are a few officers that abuse their powers for personal gain. Because of all the police misconduct stories that are shown in the media, people do not trust law enforcement. If the three methods that were outlined are followed, it will help prevent the abuse of power. Also holding officers accountable and changing the way they are punished will help prevent corruption. If these ideas were implemented in the beginning, Officer Malone would not have been a bully with a badge.
Abuse of Power. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Abuse+of+Power Managing Criminal Justice Organizations. An Introduction to Theory and Practice, Second
Edition Chapter 12: Future Issues in Criminal Justice Management ISBN: 9781437734898 Authors: Richard R.E. Kania , Richards P. Davis Copyright © Elsevier – Science & Technology (2012) Memphis Police Officer Serve Abuse of Police. (2012, October 29). Retrieved from http://www.copblock.org/23012/memphis-police-officer-severe-abuse-of-power/