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Police Roles and the Media

In the media, police officers are portrayed in two ways, as the hero or the villain. Some media outlets will bend the truth to make the story more interesting. I scanned the internet for some examples of this and this article is the result.

In the media, police officers are often portrayed in various ways and in various roles. Those roles can vary from crime fighter, corrupt vigilante, social servant, superhero, genius, order maintainer, crime preventer. These images are accurate, somewhat accurate, completely inaccurate or complete lies.

In this article, four roles will be looked at crime fighter, social servant, order maintainer and crime preventer. Each role will be defined or explained and one example of the role will be shown from a media newspaper source. The media story will then be evaluated to see whether the story depicts real police officers at work or a media image.

Crime Fighter

A crime fighter can be described a man or woman who fights crimes. Police officers are seen as crime fighters as they capture and arrest those responsible for committing crimes, therefore fighting crime.

In an article by Tom Alex and Jeff Eckhoff titled Police: 2 killed in deadly Iowa standoff, police are called to the scene when a man shot two women and barricaded himself inside his house with three small children.

The standoff ended when stun grenades were thrown into the house, the man was arrested and the three children were carried to safety. The two women killed were the man’s common-law wife and an eye-witness who was driving by at the time the man killed his wife in front of their home.

The article had a few lines in it that gave the reader the wrong idea and it starts with the title, which gives the idea that police killed two shooters. Another direct quote from the article that is questionable is where the reporters say the police were being sketchy about the 911 call that brought the police to the scene to begin with. That gives the idea that police were keeping something from the press. Does this article give an accurate view of police work or a media enhanced view? Both. Here are a few quoted lines from the article (Alex and Eckhoff, 2008) that showed an enhanced view of the actions by the police:

  1. ”two hour standoff that ended when police used stun grenades to get inside and apprehend subject.”
  2. ”officers evacuated a handful of neighbors and surrounded the house, then began negotiations via telephone with the man inside.”
  3. “Police have not determined what sparked the gunfire, or the relationship between the victims and suspect.”

The number three quoted line has two problems, one it lies because earlier in the article it said the victims were the suspects common-law wife and an innocent bystander, the police knew that and relayed that information to the press.

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User Comments
  1. ladybaby

    On April 16, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    I have had far more experiences with police being the ones who create situations, than prevent them. Just because they wear a badge does not make them honest and committed to upholding the law. The law keeps us in check, but who keeps the law in check?

  2. Leonardo da Vinci E.

    On October 30, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Please join me in requesting all communities that they require their officers to address the public as “citizen”. The psychological event which happens when they have to do that will aid both the police and society.

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