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Police Interview Question – “An Officer Assaults a Suspect”!

October 7th, 2019 officer assaults a suspect

Officer Assaults a Suspect? What to do?

During the oral board exam, you will be asked questions that test the direction of your moral compass. Interviewers need to know where your loyalties lie, and how you may react to an unexpected situation that involves one of your colleagues.

Consider the following scenario:

You and an officer finally locate a suspect believed to be involved in crime. When found, the suspect is cooperative and allows officers to handcuff him. Despite this, your co-officer decides to assault the suspect – punching him three times in the side of his abdomen.

What should you do when an officer assaults a suspect? These types of questions are commonly asked. Some can be difficult. However, when you keep the following two criteria in mind, you cannot go wrong:

  • First, loyalty to the police department and law always comes first
  • Second, that you are honest

Put together, these two criteria should shape your answer.

If there is a conflict between an officer you know, and a suspect – however vile that suspect may be – you cannot be an accessory to a second crime. Watching your colleague commit a crime (assaulting a suspect) means you – as a police officer – need to act as the law demands.

No one person is above the law – and that includes law enforcement officers.

Of course, police officers can – where necessary – use force. However, they cannot and should not use that force in any other circumstances, even against the most villainous suspects they encounter. If a suspect is cooperating and is handcuffed, there is no excuse for punching or assaulting that suspect in any way.

The law deals with the suspect from that point.

Best Way to Answer the Question

The precise answer to this question depends on how the interviewer has phrased it – and the circumstances surrounding the assault.

However, your answer should always include the following details:

  • You would immediately protect the suspect from attack.
  • Quickly and safely place the suspect in the back of the squad car.
  • As soon as possible, you would inform your supervisor and make them aware of what has happened with the rogue officer.

Your interviewer may come back with a follow-up question:

Okay, fine – but imagine you know this police officer for 5 years and are on good terms with him. He’s never behaved like this before, and it seems like a one-time thing. Why would you destroy his career based on what has happened here?

This is re-stating the question in the hope you will compromise on your answer.

The correct answer is to re-state that it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, or how long you know that officer, it is never right to assault a suspect who is cooperating and has done nothing wrong other than the crime they have committed already.

It won’t come across well if you don’t know what to do if an officer assaults a suspect. You need to be fully prepared for not only this question but every other type of police interview question.

If you are already a registered member of Police Test Study Guide, you already have access to our complete oral board database, covering all of the most commonly asked questions/sample answers on how best to prepare. If you are not yet a member, register now.

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