In the criminal justice system, the leadership in a law enforcement agency must demonstrate a high amount of ethical candor towards their officers (“Ethics and the Future, n.d. para 1). Often times, law enforcement agency leaders such as supervisors and police chiefs face numerous ethical issues while performing their duties. Because of these ethical issues, the leaders in the law enforcement agency must make sure to be careful on how they handle the ethical issues since the outcomes can not only impact the public’s view on the specific leader in question, but it can also impact the credibility of their entire police department as well.
Major Ethical Issues Facing Law Enforcement Leadership
There are five main ethical issues that can arise within a leadership position of the law enforcement. The first and most important ethical issue is in regard to the way the leader upholds himself in the presence of their fellow police officers. In society, a police department is looked too often for assistance in solving problems that arise in the community. Because law enforcement holds the ability to infringe upon a citizen’s rights, the leadership must demonstrate a high level of integrity, fairness, and respect towards everyone. For example, say a supervisor is called out to a domestic violence situation involving a man and a woman that were fighting each other. After arriving, he approaches the male suspect, introduces himself and asks what is going on. Not only are the other
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As each new member of a police department officially becomes a sworn member, friends, family and other members of the public gather as they speak an oath. The oath these officers take, promises their commitment to ensure the safety of the public they serve. This means more than protecting civilians from individuals who may stray from the law, but to also ensure the protection of basic human rights. Police and other public servants are given a great deal of trust and power, what they do with it is based on the ethics they choose to uphold. In this paper we will look at why it is important for these justice professionals to study ethics.
The criminal justice system is one of the most important components in the public service system. Since it is a system that citizens encounter daily it would be most beneficial for those who are employed to behave as ethical leaders. Leadership skills and ethical behavior are both parts of the duties of any officer serving the law. Often employees are placed in quick decision situations that can have fatal outcomes if not handled properly. By ensuring that all officers of the law have a set of functioning ethical leadership skills can not only develop a well-rounded individual, but also builds the relationship between the community they serve to protect. The police and other officers of the law have great discretion and power over an individual which makes having responsible, ethically behaving persons on the front lines even more important. With the right training and education, ethical officers can set the bar and improve the quality of life of the community they serve as well as other officers.
There are very few careers with as high demands for an ethical standard as law enforcement. Although there are many careers, which require a dedication to doing the right thing, it is undeniable that there is a tremendous degree of responsibility and expectations placed on the police officer. While most professions allow for careful thought and planning, a police officer is often thrust into a situation with little advanced intelligence about what is occurring. Often an officer is involved in a situation which has the potential to turn violent. Relying on training allows the officer to successfully navigate a variety of situations.
Organizational climate is essential in developing a culture of incorruptible individuals and this climate is set by the organizations leaders. Within the SCORE unit of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department (KCKPD) at the time of the indictment, it was not clear if leaders set a tone of ethical conduct, nor did it appear that principled conduct was the cornerstone of the command leadership philosophy. Specifically, all ethical standards for Kansas City Police Department are derived from Wyandotte County Unified Government code of ethics and the police department lacks police specific philosophies toward ethical conduct (Unified Government Ordinance, 2009). Although, the International Chiefs of Police have established a code of honor adopted by many police departments, it is unclear bases on empirical information what KCKPD leadership expected of their Police officers. For instance, it is vital for executive to formulate as stated by Martin (2011), “an agenda that explains the moral purposes of the department” (para. 6). Therefore, not making an ethics based agenda and delivering a repetitive and deliberate focus on such an agenda to all levels is one failure by leadership to have contributed to creating a perceived environment of unethical conduct. On the other hand, senior managers cannot root out corruption without captains, lieutenants, sergeants and senior officers. Middle and first-line leader are essential to the command structure ensuring high standards are
Professions are guided by codes of ethics to aid them in performance of their duties and to ensure maintenance of high standards of conduct. Police officers are faced with a maze of obligations in the performance of their official duties. The “Law Enforcement Code of Ethics” and “Canons of Police Ethics” were created to make explicit the conduct considered appropriate for police officers and to guide them in the performance of their duties. Although police have these guides, many are faced with ethical dilemmas, also known as a moral dilemmas. This mean the officer is challenged to make a decision which sometimes conflicts with societal and personal ethical morals and values and provide no
Ultimately this course provided me with new ideas on how to handle certain situations in several criminal justice occupations. This course relates very well to officer discretion, corruption and discrimination. In today’s society police officers are faced with problematic situation each day and although we cannot teach fight or flight in a classroom we can try to learn what not to do in a difficult situation. When observing the different controversial decisions that are being made, you learn that when police officers are faced with critical and life changing decisions officers do not have the convenience of time. The decisions are made while that person has adrenalin rushing through their bodies and time moving faster than any person can anticipate. This is the synopsis of ethical issues, the different controversial decisions that must be made as a police officer, judge or correctional officer. What is the correct decision being the topic for discussion? A discussion in which the professor allows all voices to be heard so that we all can learn from one another perspectives.
New officers need to know that no profession demands a higher ethical standard than law enforcement. Whether or not there are other careers that require a similar dedication to doing the right thing, it is undeniable that there is a tremendous degree of expectations placed upon police officers. Every officer knows, or at least should know by now, that they live in a fishbowl. Friends, relatives, neighbors and strangers watch every move law enforcement officers make, both on and off duty. The fact is that the public scrutinizes police officers more than most other professions, either because they are cynical or hope to catch them screwing up or because they are hopeful
Law enforcement (police) subcultures have specific set of moral values and a certain mentality exhibited by those in law enforcement. It’s always the public against the police so they form an alliance for supportive reasons. However, people may believe police subculture is breaking down. Police subculture is breaking down because it is inconsistent with the formal morals and values related to the culture and that police are not the same as each other in their qualities and attributes. Examining ethics and its relation to the police subculture is important to help delineate not only the grey area of ethics but also the grey area within which the police operate (McCartney and Parent, 2015). For example, police officers are known to defend their own whether its something right or wrong. However, if another officer feels that the situation interferes with their morals, then it becomes inconsistent with the other officer’s
Brandon Locklear Criminal Justice Ethics April 2017 Research Paper: Criminal Justice Ethics CJC 232-OI Instructor: Mr. Rudy Locklear Robeson Community College 2017 By: Brandon Locklear Criminal Justice Ethics Outline I. Introduction II. Ethical Systems III. Ethics and the Police IV.
Police executives have always had different issues within the police department. Most police executives try to find a quick fix in order to solve the issue of police misconduct. Police misconduct is defined as inappropriate action taken by police officers in relation with their official duties (Police Misconduct Law & Legal Definition, n.d.). In order to solve this issue, one must acknowledge their different challenges, overcome the “code of silence”, and find out the role of organizational culture.
In this country we are seeing an increase in ethical violations in the field of law enforcement. I will go into detail about some of the main ethical issues we are seeing today and what can be done to prevent such acts from happening. When one officer is being unethical it has a huge effect on how the public views law enforcement as a whole. Many officers go undetected for a long time before getting caught, but an officer committing ethical violations will have their day it’s just a matter of time. In order to improve this growing problem we must first understand why there is such a problem in the field of law enforcement.
In law enforcement, having a high amount of nobility is vital when confronting the people of a community. Noble cause is a term used to describe the commitment of making the world a safer place to live (“Ethics in Law Enforcement II,” (n.d.), para.35). Even though every police officer strives to live up to the standards of noble cause in every situation they encounter, the end result of having police officers attempt to live up to this standard results in having them becoming corrupt police officers (“Ethics in Law Enforcement II,” (n.d.), para.35). Because of noble cause corruption, many ethical dilemmas can develop when the result is not reasonably achieved in a noble fashion.
The job of a law enforcement officer can be tough as there are issues that an officer must balance to do their profession in an impartial and equitable way. It is imperative to understand that there needs to be a balance between the individual rights that a citizen has and being able to guard the public good. One more issue that can arise in law enforcement is the use of rewards and punishment in criminal justice along with law enforcement use of deception to complete their job. It is vital to keep in mind that making moral choices can help to make these topics a little easier for the law enforcement officer that finds themselves in a status quo where these situations come into play.
Some argue that corrupt police officers are simply the product of a corrupt culture of the agency they work for. These officers are socially introduced to a number of informal rules when they begin employment. This process and these rules serve two main purposes. First, this process is designed to minimize the chances of external or internal controls being mobilized to address the behaviors and, secondly, to keep corrupt activities at a level that is acceptable and likely undetectable. The rule most often referred to in this connection, is the “Code of Silence.” Officers are socialized into not cooperating with investigations regarding fellow officers. Whether or not the officer participates in corrupt activities for financial gain, an officer’s adherence to the “Code of Silence” places them squarely amongst the corrupt of the profession (Price, 1972).