The history of policing can be traced back to the beginning of time. When looking at the subject of police work there is a large culture and history that follows along with it. There are many topics that can be analyzed when identifying, and describing the elements and the significances that are associated with policing. A large element of the police job that plays a large factor in the work and attributes to the policing culture is the amount of stress that an office will face while performing on the job. Another part of the job that plays a large part in the culture of policing can be found when one examines how women and ethnic minorities have achieved equality in law enforcement. Finally, policing culture can be analyzed when looking at the internal and external mechanisms that influence and control police discretion. Police culture continues to puzzle the average citizen; not belonging to “the brotherhood.” Police officers command a certain respect simply by donning the uniform and carrying a badge. The police culture provides many benefits to individuals who belong to this private organization. Officers of the law have their own social circle that only persons with a badge and uniform are allowed to be a member of. Also, it has been shown that police officers have difficulty in relationships with family members, friends, and personal relationships with significant others. Police officers maintain strong bonds of loyalty and a code of silence amongst each other; showing a form of solidarity that is seldom ever shared with the rest of society. This bond is sacred to fellow officers, believing that no one else can understand a police officer; the emotional, psychological, and physical tolls that they encounter on a daily basis. The rest of society underestimates the amount of stress that accompanies the love and hate relationship that police have with everyone outside of the force. Both harmful and helpful to Officers, stress plays an important role in the effectiveness of a police officer both on and off duty. Police officers face several types of stress while on the job. The most common stressors come from internal and external factors. Eustress is a common type of stress that is normal and good, even considering the nature of the job of police officers. Distress is behavior outside of the normal range and is harmful to police over a long period of time. Within the department, internal stress factors include officers facing long hours, constant shift changes, issues of pay, lack of promotions, and excessive paperwork. Some external stressors include overly critical media coverage of police activities and investigations, lack of community support, overly lenient courts, and an ineffective criminal justice system.
The significance of stress in policing is an important factor when it comes to officers performing their duties to the fullest. Stress can cause serious health issues if it becomes too much and is not taken care of. The culture for women and ethnic in minorities has changed drastically over time. They now have a more predominant role in police work and are found in higher percentages of sworn officers. Discretion is a key aspect in policing. There are many internal and external mechanisms that influence and control police discretion.
Police discretion is defined as the ability of an officer to personally make decisions in deciding who will be charged with a crime and how they will be punished for it. When using discretion, police can choose whether to let go, arrest, issue a warning, or give another type of verbal reprimand to the offender. Although police discretion is a key component to policing, it is a power that should not be abused. There are many internal and external mechanisms that control police discretion. The seriousness of a crime, the attitude