How Police Culture Affects the Way Police Departments View and Utilize Deadly Force Policies Under the Fourth Amendment

Police are an important part of our criminal justice system. When people begin to lose faith and trust in the police, chaos inevitably erupts. Although we are not at a breaking point yet, recent controversies and examinations of police departments have found that there are disparities in police use-of-force strategies that allow some police officers to get away with using excessive force. Police departments are reluctant to share their policies for fear of judgment, and some citizens are beginning to lose trust in law enforcement. One of the major reasons for this problem is the lack of clear regulations and guidelines from Congress and the Supreme Court. Congress has been reluctant to step in and create some baseline uniform policies, and the Supreme Court has provided vague guidelines that give police departments a lot of leeway to do as they please. Police departments across the country have been under intense scrutiny, and many of these departments have attempted to come up with new policies in response to perceived problems. Some of these policies show signs of progress while others are yet untested. This Note examines three major U.S. police departments that have recently shifted their use- of-force policies and reviews some of the strengths and weaknesses in those policies under the Fourth Amendment. This Note focuses on deadly use of force, but it also has ramifications for general use-of-force policies.