Power is a noteworthy initiator of conflict, which may be better understood by evaluating situations where it is applied. Notwithstanding the existence or absence of intent, power is magnified in a moment of conflict. In a case of dispute, the problem is not whether to exhibit authority but instead how to execute it and counter competitors’ capability. Authority may be utilized in numerous methods that may be considered cooperative or intimidating, positive or disparaging or aware or insensible. For example, people are believed to exercise their authority when they attempt to satisfy their wants amid opposition. It is therefore essential to assess the people’s roles and positions in the power hierarchy. Moreover, additional elements such as gender and culture clarify how people react differently towards inequalities in power. The essay expounds on the thorny relation between law enforcement agents and citizens and assessing the roles of perceptions of authority. It also assesses approaches that may assist in resolving the challenge.
Factors and Conditions
In recent years, the US has experienced an increased antagonism and distrust amongst citizens and law enforcement agencies. The conflicts are known to reach extreme levels, such as the brutal murder of law enforcement offices. For instance, Dallas Police Ambush typifies the graveness of the matter. The event transpired while officers monitored the “BlackLivesMatter” protests, moments after the killing of two black men. Certainly, the conflict was attributed to racism and appeared to escalate the imbalance between law enforcement agents and the citizens. Numerous aspects ignite conflicts among both factions. In this case, the media is believed to play a vital role in influencing the public’s view on law enforcement. People tend to develop a negative attitude towards law enforcement after accessing news reports or obtaining destructive opinions from fellow citizens. Current media sources play a key role in broadcasting damaging information regarding law enforcers, thus increasing the level of distrust and conflicts among citizens.
Perceptions of Power
There is an underlying authoritative impression exhibited between each involved faction in every dynamic involving leadership and relationships. Based on a citizen’s perspective, police officers are individuals who misappropriate authority to harass citizens or reliable individuals. In certain instances, various towns may label the officers as evil and lazy, while others may consider them reliable and responsible. These forms of disparities instigate conflicts amongst citizens and officers, resulting in a loss of confidence and trust. Moreover, law enforcers are likely to slowly react to security concerns in regions they deem to be insulted. On the other hand, law enforcers perceive citizens as low-ranking persons in the community. This form of attitude used in conveying their intent often ignites disputes. This kind of strategy is used in establishing supremacy, believed to be important in executing their mandate. Ultimately, citizens’ view of enforcers as insolent ignites the conflicts.
The Relation Theory of Power
According to Jordan (2017), the relational theory of power states the start of a relationship among two factions may not define the dynamics of power; rather, they develop with the experience and period. In this case, the theory addresses the relations between the public and law enforcers. People derive their opinions on law enforcement based on various facets, such as media reports. It becomes challenging to eradicate the perceptions devoid of substantial incentives. Thus, the lack of honesty towards changing one’s view may hinder problem-solving among police officers and citizens. For example, an individual that may have encountered police cruelty marrying into a household of officers, it’s not certain that they may alter their attitude towards relatives. Failure to change perception is likely to instigate the fear of circumstances, such as wrongful detention or profiling.
Over the past decade, the relation between citizens and law enforcers has been comparatively debatable. Assessments of police-citizen disputes make the headlines of almost every conference, with most police leaders supporting force usage. In contrast, modern civil rights associations give precedence to disputing the usage of deadly force. Also, scholars commit an enormous volume of research to discourse the resentment between both factions. Transparency is amongst the noteworthy resolutions of curbing conflicts. According to Coleman Deutsch and Marcus (2014), law enforcers suppress reports pertaining to detentions. Society requires appropriate communication regarding each matter involving enforcement of the law. Citizens may also reinstate the trust in police, creating affirmative perceptions of power. However, to allow for more interaction, community policing is considered to be the ultimate solution.
Law enforcers are given the mandate to protect and serve citizens and, therefore, streamline their behavior to build confidence from citizens. Community policing denotes the philosophy where law enforcers cultivate partnerships and execute problem-solving systems to institute proactive mechanisms to address citizen security matters. Police officers adopt active duties to cooperate with society to solve the challenges promptly. Community policing upholds democracy, as people are allowed to partake in policing and shaping governance (Price, 2016). A policy approach eliminates the officers’ dominance as the solitary law enforcers, an incentive for people to invest in neighbourhood security. Certainly, the constructive partnership is vital as it presents positive outcomes for the community, thus refining their association with law enforcement.
Comprehending the different aspects that facilitate conflicts between the citizens and law enforcement will assist in understanding how the view of power promotes conflict circumstances. Integrating the relation theory of power-assisted in clarifying the perceptions of power and the impact on conflict resolution. Generally, community policing may be the best approach in solving conflicts among both factions.