Week 2 Journal

All questions are worth 20 points:

  1. Is being both a crime fighter and a public servant too much to ask of the police? Does society need to choose what they want police to be, or are both reasonable to expect? Be sure to explain your answer, providing examples as needed.
  2. Discuss the use of Tasers by police as they relate to Use of Force. In your discussion be sure to address the following questions:
  3. What are the advantages of a taser over other use of force options?
  4. Does the public have the right to expect “safe” measures when resisting arrest?
  5. Provide an example(s) where police use of a taser resulted in horrific pain, trauma, or death. Do you believe that the taser should have been used in this situation, why or why not?
  6. Discuss the concept of Good Samaritan Laws? If one witnesses a person in need of help, should they be obligated to help? What if a person was an off-duty first responder? Please use at least one case example in your discussion.
  7. Given what you have read this week, how does the media representation of courtrooms and law enforcement differ from reality? Would you argue that media representations support a consensus, conflict, or pluralistic view of law enforcement? If you could make changes involving how the media represents courtrooms and law enforcement; what changes might you suggest?
  8. You are a district attorney prosecuting a burglary case. The defendant is willing to plead guilty in return for a sentence of probation, and you believe that this is a fair punishment because your evidence may not support a conviction. However, the victims are upset and want to see the offender receive prison time. The victims insist that you try the case. What should you do and why?




  1. Is being both a crime fighter and a public servant too much to ask of the police? Does society need to choose what they want police to be, or are both reasonable to expect?

Being both a crime fighter and a public servant is a complex and challenging role for the police. While it is reasonable to expect law enforcement to fulfill both aspects to some extent, the balance between these roles is critical. Police officers are tasked with maintaining law and order while also serving and protecting their communities.

However, the issue arises when the lines between these roles become blurred. If law enforcement focuses solely on crime-fighting, it may lead to aggressive policing tactics and strained relationships with the community they serve. Conversely, prioritizing only public service may compromise their ability to effectively combat crime and protect citizens.

Ideally, society should seek a balanced approach. Police departments should emphasize community-oriented policing, building positive relationships with the public while actively addressing crime. This approach can lead to more effective crime reduction and improved community trust.

Example: A police department implements community policing strategies, where officers engage with residents, attend community events, and address issues of concern to the community. This leads to a decline in crime rates as the residents feel more comfortable reporting crimes and cooperating with the police.

  1. Discuss the use of Tasers by police as they relate to Use of Force.

a. Advantages of a Taser over other use of force options: Tasers are considered a less lethal alternative compared to firearms and other use of force options. They can incapacitate a person temporarily without causing severe injury or death in most cases. Tasers are particularly useful when dealing with individuals who pose a threat but are not armed with deadly weapons.

b. Public expectation of “safe” measures when resisting arrest: The public generally expects law enforcement to use reasonable and proportional force when apprehending suspects. This includes using “safe” measures to restrain individuals without causing unnecessary harm. However, it’s important to note that the definition of “safe” measures can vary depending on the situation and the level of resistance encountered.

c. Example of police use of a Taser resulting in horrific pain, trauma, or death: There have been instances where the use of Tasers by police resulted in tragic outcomes, including deaths. In some cases, Tasers were used on individuals with underlying health conditions or in situations where the use of a Taser was arguably excessive.

In such cases, it’s crucial for law enforcement to follow strict guidelines and protocols on the use of force. Proper training and clear policies on Taser usage can help minimize the risk of unnecessary harm or fatalities.

Example: A police officer uses a Taser on an unarmed individual who is displaying signs of mental distress and does not present an immediate threat to others. The individual goes into cardiac arrest and dies as a result of the Taser deployment. This incident raises questions about the appropriateness of using a Taser in such situations.

  1. Discuss the concept of Good Samaritan Laws.

Good Samaritan Laws are legal protections that encourage individuals to provide assistance to others in emergency situations without fear of being sued for unintentional harm or negligence during their attempt to help.

a. Obligation to help: Good Samaritan Laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but they generally do not impose a legal duty on bystanders to help someone in need. However, these laws offer legal protection to those who voluntarily choose to assist in emergencies.

b. Off-duty first responder: Off-duty first responders, such as police officers or medical professionals, may face higher expectations when providing aid due to their training and expertise. While they may not have a legal obligation to intervene, their professional ethics might encourage them to do so.

Example: A nurse witnesses a car accident and rushes to the scene to provide medical assistance to the injured individuals. Despite her best efforts, one of the injured parties experiences complications and requires further medical treatment. Thanks to Good Samaritan Laws, the nurse is protected from legal liability if her actions were deemed reasonable and within the scope of her training.

  1. Media representation of courtrooms and law enforcement compared to reality.

Media representations of courtrooms and law enforcement often differ from reality. These portrayals can influence public perceptions and attitudes towards the criminal justice system and law enforcement.

a. Consensus, conflict, or pluralistic view of law enforcement: Media representations tend to oversimplify complex legal processes and often highlight dramatic and high-profile cases. As a result, the portrayal may support a conflict view of law enforcement, emphasizing clashes between police and the public or focusing on instances of police misconduct. At the same time, media can also present a consensus view, portraying law enforcement as heroic figures upholding justice.

b. Changes in media representation: To improve media representations, various changes could be suggested:

  • Promote balanced reporting that includes positive interactions between law enforcement and the community.
  • Offer more in-depth coverage of the legal system to showcase its complexities and challenges.
  • Encourage accurate portrayals of police procedures and legal processes, avoiding sensationalism.
  • Include diverse perspectives and voices in media representations to reflect the realities of society.
  1. A district attorney prosecuting a burglary case and the victims’ desire for prison time.

As a district attorney, your primary responsibility is to uphold justice and seek a fair resolution in criminal cases. If you believe that the evidence may not support a conviction, offering a plea deal with probation might be a reasonable option.

However, it’s essential to consider the victims’ feelings and concerns. While their desire for prison time is understandable, the decision ultimately lies with the prosecutor, who must weigh the evidence, the likelihood of conviction, and the best interests of justice.

Possible approach:

  1. Communicate with the victims: Listen to the victims’ concerns and explain the reasons for considering a plea deal with probation. Emphasize that the decision aims to ensure a fair outcome and that a conviction may not be guaranteed based on the available evidence.
  2. Evaluate the evidence: Review the evidence and consult with law enforcement to assess the strength of the case. If there are significant doubts about securing a conviction, a plea deal might be a reasonable and pragmatic option.
  3. Consider alternatives: If the victims are insistent on a trial, explore potential alternatives, such as presenting a plea agreement with some prison time or exploring restorative justice options that address the victims’ needs and seek accountability from the offender.
  4. Seek victim input: Engage in a conversation with the victims about the potential outcomes and involve them in the decision-making process. Their input can be valuable, and they may be more receptive to alternatives if they feel heard and considered.
  5. Prioritize justice: Ultimately, prioritize the pursuit of justice and the fair application of the law. Base the decision on legal considerations and the overall impact on the community.

Remember, each case is unique, and the district attorney’s decision should be based on a careful examination of all relevant factors.

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