Impact of the media on public perceptions of law enforcement officers

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Impact of the media on public perceptions of law enforcement officers

The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration. Navigation Mass Media and Law Enforcement: A Time for Reflection by Edward J.

Tully, January The relationship between law enforcement agencies and the print and electronic media fluctuates between mutual hostility and admiration.

Social media’s impact on the perception of police officers |

Historically, the admiration cycle between the two professions is short lived! The purpose of this article is to provide some observations on the impact the mass media is having on our culture and our profession. Perhaps these observations and suggestions will be further discussed, which may lead to some modification in our relationship with the mass media that could serve the department's and public's best interest.

Overview In the last fifty years, the impact that the mass media has had on our culture has been overwhelming! Upon reflection, the influence of advertising, motion pictures, television, radio, newspapers, books, and magazines have, in my opinion, replaced families, schools, and religion as the primary influence in our lives.

Whether or not the overall influence of the mass media has been good or bad is a question which will, eventually, be better answered by philosophers, theologians, and historians.

However from my point of view, while acknowledging the mass media has made many tremendous contributions to our culture, there is more than enough evidence to conclude overall that their influence has not been all that healthy! I would not argue that the mass media has conspired to achieve the prominent role they have in our daily lives.

A conspiracy requires logical, thoughtful thinking and a desire to work together to achieve a common goal. These intellectual qualities are not found in great abundance in any particular segment of the mass media. On the contrary, the two driving forces of mass media are the rather pedestrian traits of competition and profit.

Thus, the primary motivation for a large percentage of these type of organizations is to find ways to tell a story in a compelling and accurate way, or to take the easier way out by debunking traditional values and institutions, reveling in the exposed clay feet of public figures, or seeking a controversial aspect in every story, or social issue, as a means to achieve an audience.

This leads to either greater recognition or profits. These characteristics--profit and influence--are the two fundamental objectives of the mass media industry.

Impact of the media on public perceptions of law enforcement officers

These goals are not inherently evil. They only lead to evil consequence when the rules of law and common decency are ignored. If profit is your only objective, and all other rules and consequences are ignored, then there is no barrier to the generation of evil consequence, whether intended or not!

For example, the producers of pornography intend for their product to have evil consequences. Unfettered by either law, or decency, these producers rely on the fact that trash sells.

On the other hand, a movie director who creates a scene in which the star is smoking a cigarette is probably not intending to promote smoking by children per se, rather the director may be trying to achieve a certain degree of realism. However, the unintended consequence of the scene may be that young children think smoking is cool, which by the way, does not qualify as an evil consequence, just a stupid one.

In this environment where no one is held responsible for the consequences of images that may influence other people to do evil acts, it is not surprising that some segments of the mass media have decided to appeal to the darker side of human nature in order to make a profit.

This doesn't require a great deal of talent, genius, or hard work to accomplish! The argument that mass media, or the arts, is merely a mirror reflection of society falls considerably short as an attempt to justify the scarcity of noble intentions by some of the people in this industry.

While convenient to blame the media for all our current social ills we must, in all honesty, place a larger portion of the blame on ourselves--the consumer! We are the ones who buy the tickets, the newspapers, the magazines, and support the advertisers. We are the ones who watch television, listen to the radio, see the movies or watch advertisements, and thereafter, allow ourselves or our children's behavior to be influenced by what was seen or heard!

We are the ones whose behaviors, however influenced, often lead to violence, misery, and degradation. What is most important in relation to this article is that law enforcement exists in a culture that is heavily influenced by a very complex, often disturbing, yet influential mass media industry.

It is very important that law enforcement officers understand the impact of the media on our job for the following reasons: First, we see first hand the violence, degradation, and lack of ethical behavior by people as a consequence of the mass media influence.

Second, at times our own egregious actions arise from what officers see on television or in the movies. Third, law enforcement agencies occasionally offer technical, and other support, to movie and television crews to produce a product that glorifies those character traits to which we should be adamantly opposed.

Fourth, we must understand that the work of law enforcement--enforcing the law and all of the ramifications of doing so--has become a primary source of news on television and the subject of countless television series and movies.

Most of the time what we see from the entertainment industry is an over-glorification of law enforcement work. Most of the television news and print media stories about law enforcement are factual, positive reports about actions that we have taken in the community.

And from time to time some of these stories are critical of the department.

Justice and Public Safety

Law enforcement needs to acknowledge that some criticism is occasionally justified.The Impact of Social Media on the Police Organization and the Challenges the Police will face in this Digital Era How social media is changing law enforcement. IACP Net SM – serving law enforcement leaders since Command Answers® is a registered service mark of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

. Those of us in law enforcement wish the same thing. The very last thing any officer wants to do is take the life of another person. Everyone misses a loved one when they are gone. Public perceptions of police misconduct and discrimination: Examining the impact of media consumption. the purpose of this research study was to address the gap by testing the impact of media consumption on public attitudes toward the police.

Media coverage of police influences public perception - IACP Net

Street cops and public perceptions of law enforcement. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA (). 10 things that fuel negative police image among the public “Police must secure the willing cooperation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the.

Media accounts of police misconduct also influence perceptions of the police, but less so than personal interactions. Frequent exposure to media reports of police abuse or corruption is a strong predictor of perceptions of misconduct and supports the belief that it is common.

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