One thing about being a member of the police service is that ethical, as well as legal, issues always come up involving the use of force. What is reasonable and what is not reasonable force? That is the question officers face daily. The levels of force options are well defined yet ambiguous at the same time.
The Bushido Code can help solve this dilemma.
Those in the military who wish to become non-military law enforcement officers must redefine their “Rules of Engagement” to comply with what applies to daily life as a street cop in the United States.
The decision to use any force, whether it be empty hands, impact weapons, electronic control devices, chemical weapons, or firearms, involves a great deal of pre-planning. Once the proverbial “S**T hits the fan” there is not time to think, only to act. Developing proper psycho-motor skills (usually incorrectly defined as muscle memory) is vastly important, but along with the requisite physical skills is the ability to know when to apply what technique or weapon during what set of circumstances. Following a warrior’s code of conduct can help.
The Bushidō code is typified by seven virtues:
•Rectitude (義 gi?) Police officers must conform to the truth and follow it to the end.
•Courage (勇 yū?) Police officers must face fear and act in spite of it.
•Benevolence (仁 jin?) Police officers must have the disposition to do good.
•Respect (礼 rei?) Police officers must respect the public as well as himself or herself.
•Honesty (誠 makoto?) Police officers must always act honestly in every situation.
•Honor (名誉 meiyo?) Police officers practice an honorable profession and they must behave accordingly.
•Loyalty (忠義 chūgi?) Police officers must be loyal to their agencies as well as their communties who trust them to do what is right.
So, there is much more to serving on America’s streets than most people realize. Police officers must be able to act rapidly and without hesitation, just as military personnel must do as well. Decisions cannot always wait but must be made immediately.
By following the Bushido Code, police officers can live an honorable life while serving the public. Most importantly, police officers must survive the streets and go home at the end of the shift. Remember “If not me, then who?” Stay Safe!