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A protocol is defined as a particular set of rules and guidelines that control communication between separate entities. It is usually an agreed upon format for task performance. For example, the law enforcement has a particular mourning band protocol, which requires a solid black band fitted around the badge of one’s agency. The width of the band as well as it placement is also strictly defined.
Furthermore, there is a list of occasions for which the law enforcement officer must wear the mourning band, such as the death of an active law enforcement officer, Memorial Day, as well as other occasions in which it is appropriate (Officer Down Memorial Page, n.d., para, 2). Therefore, protocol outlines the main aspects of how a particular task is to be performed; the violation of the protocol, especially in law enforcement, is not acceptable.
Protocol Practice in Relation to Civilians
One of the basic protocols law enforcement performs in relation to civil citizens is the protocol for arrest. The police officer has a right to perform an arrest if he or she personally observed the crime, if there is an issued arrest warrant, and if the probable cause points out directly at the suspect. The unified rule for arrest is linked to the fact that feelings or suspicions cannot lead a law enforcement officer to arrest someone while the specific rules of what should be done in the course of the arrest differ in various jurisdictions. When it comes to civil citizens, the law enforcement must not treat the arrestee with force, cruelty or threat in cases where the situation allows them to. Minimum force should be used for protection while the main task is bringing the suspected individual into custody (FindLaw, 2013, p. 1).
Miranda Rights is a crucial aspect of police arrest protocol. After arresting a suspect, a law enforcement officer must follow the protocol for Miranda Rights and say the following: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you” (Miranda Rights, n.d., para. 1). The protocol also requires an officer to make sure that the custodee understands the rights and in cases when he or she does not speak English, the rights are to be translated.
In interactions with civil citizens, the law enforcement has protocols for each specific case – domestic abuse, interactions with children, armed criminals, sexual abuse, crime victims, and other cases.
Police misconduct, when it comes to not following the standards procedures outlined by the protocol, potentially puts the civil rights of citizens in danger. For example, with the 1890’s militarization of the law enforcement, there has been an increased number of incidents related to law enforcement violence against civil citizens, leading to the creation of a large gap between the government and the public. Therefore, despite the protocols for armed violence being clear in terms of the officers’ duties and responsibilities, the human factor can play a negative role in police-civilians interactions, leading to some unwanted consequences. Police misconduct includes but is not limited to uncalled for acts of violence against civil citizens, it also involves coercion, corruption, forced arrest, malicious prosecution, failure to intervene, as well as others.
Thus, protocols for the interactions between the law enforcement and civil citizens is defined but still needs improvements due to a large number of police misconduct cases. The role of the police is to protect the civil population; therefore, any uncalled for violent acts and other cases of misconduct are to be thoroughly reviewed in order to make adjustments in existing protocols and prevent such actions from occurring int the future.
Law Enforcement and the Military
When discussing the protocol for interactions between the military and the law enforcement, it is, first of all, important to mention the similarities and differences of these establishment. The two are similar in that both legally bear arms; however, there is a major difference in the way the arms are used. While the police use arms in order to enforce the law and capture the perpetrator, military forces use arms to shoot an enemy (armed conflict) or serve in the role of the police to help capture a very dangerous foreign perpetrator if the law enforcement is unable to.
Training is also different. While the police are trained in peacemaking, the military is trained to combat first. The last difference is the target of the police and the military. The police target the domestic civilian population while the military targets its forces at combatants and foreign populations (Canas, 2015, para. 3). Thus, the police are responsible for enforcing the law through controlling the population while the military is responsible for borders enforcement.
While the protocol for law enforcement-civilians interactions is used to manage everyday issues related directly to the public, police-military interactions are quite rare. However, with the increased frequency of natural disasters as well as armed conflicts, there is a need for a larger number of actors in order to manage the crisis situations. Furthermore, the assistance of the military forces has proven to be quite effective in some specific situations, especially natural disasters. For example, during the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the military forces in conjunction with civil law enforcement played an integral role (Civil-military relations in humanitarian crises, n.d., p. 2).
Due to the fact that the military forces are situated in a manner that allows them to react quickly to any type of crisis, their interactions with the civil police forces can bring significant benefits to issue resolutions. Police together with the military forces can implement the primary steps for crisis elimination when the government is unable or unwilling to protect its citizens beyond the humanitarian actors’ involvement.
An example of effective collaboration between the military forces and the civilian law enforcement is presented in the Australian Army’s Future Land Warfare Report, which assessed the future operations on land until 2035 (Morrison, 2014, para. 1). The interactions between the Australian military forces and the police are not new; furthermore, the police were involved in security management, outposts garrison, as well as augmenting the operations of land combat. This example shows that in the situations of crisis the protocol for interactions between the army and the police relates to working cooperatively towards achieving a common goal of reaching stability in an area as well as protecting the lives of civilians.
The discussion of relationships between the civil law enforcement agencies and the military force in the United States should not occur without mentioning the Posse Comitatus Act, signed in 1878, aimed at limiting the government rights in using the military for enforcing the domestic laws in the country (Doyle, 2012, p. 1). Thus, the interaction between the military and the civilian law enforcement cannot be regarded as a tool for enforcing domestic policies within the country and is only applicable in cases of extreme crisis.
Cooperation between the military and the law enforcement is applicable in cases of humanitarian intervention in order to establish peace in a region. However, such cooperation occurs between the law enforcement of the country struggling with instability and the peacemaking military forces of another country that offered help in establishing peace. In some cases the police forces can be opposed to the actions implemented by the military, escalating the conflict even further.
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To conclude, there is a tremendous difference in the way the police practices the protocol in the interaction with the civil population and the military. In a case of civil citizens, a protocol is used to guide the basic principles of arrest, dealing with specific situations such as domestic violence or robberies. Therefore, a protocol is a tool that helps the police enforcing the law and lawfully capturing citizens that violated it.
The interactions between the military and the police predominantly occur in a crisis setting that requires as many actors as possible in order to protect the civil population from possible negative consequences. The protocol for police-military interactions is not clearly defined since their cooperation occurs in exceptional instances where an immediate reaction is needed; thus, the protocol for conduct is determined in the course of the operation and depends on the nature and the severity of the crisis.
Canas, J. (2015). What is the difference between the police and the military?
FindLaw. (2013). What procedures must the police follow while making an arrest?
Miranda Rights. (n.d.)
Morrison, D. (2014). Future Land Warfare Report.
Officer Down Memorial Page. (n.d.). Mourning band protocol.