When the police act, they must be seen to act

Answering questions on what it takes for a police officer to be seen as impartial and a public servant to be judged as unbiased, a top police official in the US has said. 

The police act is not about a police state, it is about ensuring that the public sees officers as impartial.

In the same way that a judge or an attorney should be seen not to favor their client, police officers need to be considered fair, said Chief Joseph Clancy, who heads the police department in the Chicago area.

Chief Clancy told the New York Times in an interview that the police need to work with the community to ensure that they have the right skills and knowledge to protect and serve.

“It’s important to have those kinds of tools available to us to keep us safe, to protect our community and to serve those people who need to get to work,” he said.

In response to questions about how he defines fairness, Chief Clancy said that it is a quality that police officers must have, that they should be judged by the people they serve.

“They must be judged on their honesty, integrity and professionalism,” he added.

Chief Clancy’s comments are the latest in a long string of criticism of the way police officers have been treated.

In January, the US Justice Department launched an investigation into the way the police are policed in America, with a focus on whether the police have a legal right to use deadly force against suspects who have engaged in violent behaviour. 

In May, a US appeals court ruled that the use of force against an unarmed black man in Cleveland in August 2016 was justified, ruling that officers had no right to kill him.

The decision came as President Donald Trump signed a controversial executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against people based on their race.

In January, President Trump announced he was ordering the Justice Department to investigate whether law enforcement officers use excessive force and whether the federal government has a legal obligation to provide police with body cameras, body armor and other equipment.