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Essayon Dirty Harry Problem relative to Police Officer Roles and Functions

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    1) What are the implications of the “Dirty Harry Problem” relative to community expectations of police officer roles and functions? How does this issue relate the role of balancing individual and societal rights? “When and to what extent does the morally good end warrant or justify an ethically, politically, or legally dangerous means for its achievement?” This is the question posed by Carl Klockars about the ever growing Dirty Harry problem in society. This has become a focus of mass media and even a source of profit. The name itself comes from a Hollywood movie staring Clint Eastwood. If you believe the movies then the answer is never, for as long as the bad guy gets what he deserves then the means didn’t matter. But at some point a line must be drawn (Klockars, 1980). There may be some situations when it may be necessary to must step off the position of power and leadership, and use the “Dirty Harry” technique. Klockars describes the “dirty victim standard” as meaning that all persons encountered by police officers in situation of enforcement, such as a traffic stop, must be considered guilty. The officer must take that stand in order to protect themselves. If the Officer finds nothing the person is merely innocent this time. However, this assumption doesn’t justify using dirty means. Only when an Officer knows guilt exists should dirty means come into effect. Then again, if the Officer knows a person is truly guilty there are ways to bring the evidence to light. This does become a serious problem when there area time constraints as in the movie “Dirty Harry” (TPLE class notes, 2007) (Klokars, 1980). There must be limits to these means, officers must adhere to the Law as well or the legal system becomes redundant. The “dir.

    . .ization of police and criminals. While this equalization is better achieved through legal and just means, from time to time that may need to be broken. The use of violence to gain something should not be condoned as a routine occurrence. It is not a reliable method of gaining the truth. However, it should also be understood that sometimes there is no other choice but to do what must be done. Unwarranted use of violence does not warrant or justify an ethically, politically, or legally dangerous means for obtaining information. This could escalate out of control and create many miscarriages of justice (Klockars, 1980). REFERENCES Klockars, Carl. B. 1980. The Dirty Harry Problem. The Annals of American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 452: 33-48. TPLE class notes. 2007 Criminal Justice course Theory and Philosophy of Law Enforcement. Winter Quarter.

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