Police Ethics Values

Updated May 12, 2022

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Police Ethics Values essay

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Police ethics refers to a system of moral values that are generally accepted as professional standards in policing. In policing, ethics include values such as dedication, honesty, loyalty and courage. As a police officer, one is held to a higher standard than the public is. A police officer takes an oath to protect and serve (Dugger, 2018). Ethics is doing the right thing. For example, a police officer is expected to stop and help a stranded motorist or have reasonable suspicion of a violation before initiating a traffic stop, but these things do not always happen.

It is important to realize that police ethics are separate from the police department’s written rules and regulations. However, ethical behavior would include following any written rules, formal regulations and laws. Things like stealing evidence or falsifying a report would be against the department’s specific rules and also against the law.

When considering unethical behavior, an officer’s personal ethics are important, too. Police officers are expected to display moral behavior at all times. If one questions an officer’s personal ethics, then one questions his or her decision-making skills. If one questions an officer’s personal decision-making, then we question that officer’s professional decision-making, and people in society no longer has trust and respect for our police. Police integrity declines.

The potential ethical issues that arise with community policing are that they become close to the community and can lead to corruption and misconduct with personal relationships. There could be a struggle of power. The citizens may not be concerned with the well-being of the community. Some people are involved in community policing for the wrong reasons. It can lead to an individual using his or her authority in order to fulfill his or her personal gains. It could also encourage community watch personnel to throw their weight around and get away with it (Lombardo, 2018).

Another unique ethical problem that community policing can pose is that it can create deviance. Without crimes in the community, there is no need for this type of action. In some cases, crime is considered manufactured (Lombardo, 2018). This is where crimes that can be handled without the help of the police become the standard for getting community policing.

Sometimes, people find it unnecessary to have police presence in the community. This is like having someone looking for something that is not there. For example, looking for a citizen that has been suspected of DWI violation or guilty of it. For this reason, it has been considered unnecessary and unconstitutional for some, which might not also work for other people.

Police misconduct is impropriety of office, not misuse of authority (O’Connor, 2005). It is wrongdoing, the appearance of wrongdoing, or puzzling behavior that violates standards usually set down in departmental policies and procedures. The employee may not be aware of this. Misconduct is bad because the public able to speculate and draw conclusions about the profession of policing.

Police are often involved in undercover work which involves taking on false identities and creating crime. They are allowed to make false promises to hostage takers and kidnappers. Police may provide false information to the media and are trained to be deceptive at interviewing and interrogation. Police stretch the truth to protect loved ones and crime victims. They often invade privacy using surveillance and other technological approaches. Police fighting the drug problem may come across more loose cash than the gross national product of some small countries (O’Connor, 2005). In sting operations, there is something that is just plain wrong about a system that accepts the police making a product, selling the product, and then arresting people for buying the product.

Achieving the desired level of discipline within the law enforcement agency is among the most important responsibilities of the law enforcement executive. This is one of the most commonly neglected processes within many law enforcement agencies (Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive, 2017). Disciplinary procedures and rules of conduct are used as a conclusion in themselves, and their purpose in reaching department goals is forgotten. Focusing on the negative aspects of discipline decreases officer attitude and productivity.

These factors can be mitigated by law enforcement executives by emphasizing instruction and minimizing control. This requires the law enforcement executive to focus on organizational practices. The executive must first define the goals and objectives of the agency’s units and then announce management’s expectations to guide the units toward reaching those goals. The law enforcement executive must establish a means to monitor performance and to correct improper actions (Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive, 2017).

This approach to management as it relates to discipline insures that all subordinates know and understand what must be done, why it must be done, how it must be done, and when it must be done. Employees must be clearly told what establishes satisfactory performance through performance evaluations and similar procedures (Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive, 2017). Supervisors and managers also must know when and how to take corrective action. To achieve this, management must establish workable procedures for documenting all expectations and advising individuals of their duties and responsibilities.

Some of the factors used to determine the level of discipline and type of sanction for officers who are to be disciplined include the rank of the policeman, the amount of time they have been on the force, the severity of the issue, and the fact that police are held to a higher standard than the average member of the community because of their position (Gourley, 1950). Police officers have a large responsibility upon themselves. Members of the community look up to them and trust them to protect their lives and their surroundings.

There is a process that exists in my local community for investigating citizen complaints. One can speak with a supervisor by contacting the communications center by telephone. One can also contact Professional Standards, or Internal Affairs by telephone. There is also the option of writing, faxing, completing an online form, or e-mailing the Professional Standards office. Complaints are promptly and thoroughly investigated. In most cases, the investigation of a complaint will be completed within forty-five days. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the investigation may be conducted by Professional Standards or forwarded to the appropriate Division Commander for investigation. The investigator will interview the person who is complaining and witnesses. They will record witness statements and gather other relevant information and evidence. If a complaint is sustained, appropriate discipline and/or corrective action will occur (Orange County Sheriff’s Office, 2018).

The city of Orlando, Florida does have a citizens’ review board. Its role is to be an independent, citizen-run oversight committee of the Orlando Police Department’s Internal Affairs and determine whether or not Internal Affairs has properly investigated cases brought to its attention (City of Orlando, 2018). The board fulfills its mission by reviewing policies, procedures, rules, regulations and general or special orders related to the use of force and police conduct toward citizens. Board members feel they have a limited role. According to the city, the board’s directive is to determine whether Internal Affairs did a proper investigation. It is not the board’s role to determine if a police officer did something wrong (Harris, 2016).

Police misconduct occurs often. Some cases are more severe than others. With the proper training and education, police misconduct can be altered, and the treatment of most people can be ethical.

Police Ethics Values essay

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Police Ethics Values. (2022, May 12). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/police-ethics-values/


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