The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics – Is the code enough?

The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics – Is the code enough?. Ethics:


  1. Current Thinking:

  1. Professionalization

1)       The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics – Is the code enough?


2)       “One of the marks of a true profession is the inherent need for making value judgments and for exercising discretion based upon professional competence.  To deny that discretion is exercised gives support to those citizens who maintain that the job of a security officer is a simple one, that it requires little judgment, and that it is not worthy of professional status” (Saunders).


  1. Stress:


1)       “The Job”


2)       Grave human decisions made in a split second that may affect people’s lives forever.


3)       Officer survival/suicide.


  1. Critical nature of the consequences of enforcement action.


1)       Misconduct and corruption scandals.


2)       Civil suits.


3)       Citizens can lose liberty and life.


4)       Loss of confidence by the public.


  1. Role of the Police Officer:


1)       Crime fighter.


2)       Social worker.


3)       Order maintenance.


4)       Agent of his employer.


5)       Role of conflict.


6)       Discretion.


  1. Police Officers:


1)       Attitudes.


2)       Two important dimensions for police officers:


  1. a) An understanding of human condition and human suffering – he is able to empathize and communicate effectively with all kinds of people.


  1. b) A moral equanimity about using force for just ends.


3)       Types of behavior:


  1. a) Professional – order maintenance, full service.


  1. b) Reciprocator – social worker.


  1. c) Enforcer – strict enforcement.


  1. d) Avoider – retired on duty.


  1. Current Ethical Issues:


  1. Equal application of the law/rules to all classes of people.


  1. Honesty and truthfulness.


  1. Gratuities.


  1. Loyalty and personal integrity.


  1. Use of force.


  1. Questions to Ask Yourself in Ethical Dilemmas:


  1. What alternatives are there?


  1. What are the consequences of the alternatives?


  1. What solution would do the most good?


  1. Is the solution legal?


  1. Is the solution morally right?


  1. How to Reinforce Ethics in Your Agency:


  1. Talk about it – This is one of the best ways to reinforce ethical boundaries and behavior.


1)       Basic training.


2)       Fellow employees.


3)       Supervisors.


4)       Field Training Officers.


  1. Education – May enhance the understanding of the human condition, the government, and man in society. Encourage continuing education and provide opportunities and logistical support for employees to further their education.


  1. Training – Both in classroom/basic training and field training programs.


  1. Select and train both field training officers and first line supervisors who are capable of providing proper guidance to officers and employees in ethical matters.


The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics – Is the code enough?

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