The Ethical Considerations Of Undercover Essay

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Undercover Ethics
Sheila Capers
Saint Leo University

Abstract We teach our children to follow the law and never tell a law and yet there is a field of work that requires deception and illegal activities in order to succeed. This line of work is within the scope of the law. It is mob related or connected to any other line of criminal activity that may jump into a person’s head, but rather is a part of law enforcement. Undercover work takes its toll on all involved. The ethical considerations involved are tremendous. What are acceptable activities for the undercover officer is a grey area that creates a backlash of debate on a regular basis. Is it acceptable for an undercover officer to smoke weed or shoplift in order to maintain their cover? What about more violent crimes such as armed robbery? How far should an undercover go to protect their cover? What about if they learn about a terrorist attack or a bombing plan? Should they report such plans or maintain their cover at all costs?

Key words: undercover, ethics, deceit, police

Undercover officers are a special breed all their own within the law enforcement field. Officers are removed from their normal lives and recreated over and over again for the benefit of society as a whole. The very nature of their job requires the use of deception and the violation of some laws. “Police officers often tell lies; they act in ways that are deceptive, they manipulative people and situations, they coerce
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