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Ethical Dilemma

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Kristin Green
CRJU 4100 – Ethics
Dr. Fenton
February 11, 2013
Ethical Dilemma Group 5
In my scenario, I am a patrol officer in a large, suburban police department. We are dispatched to a local abortion clinic, where “pro life” anti-abortion protestors have formed a human chain around the facility, preventing employees and patients from entering. Moments later, my sergeant arrives and orders all the officers to arrest the protestors for criminal trespass. The dilemma continues because I am a “pro life” supporter and attend pro life meetings at my church with several of the people at the clinic protesting. The question is, “What do I do?”

According to the principles of ethical formalism, I would be obligated to perform my duties as an officer and put my personal, moral beliefs to the side and give orders out of free will without letting outside influences interfere. Upon arrival, I would try to talk to the protestors and get them to voluntarily leave the abortion clinic. I would simply be honest and truthful when telling them I took an oath when becoming an officer to never betray my badge and I must arrest them for criminal trespassing to obey the orders given to me by the sergeant. Hopefully, the protestors would understand my obligations and duties placed on me by my profession and submit to my requests and leave peacefully. On the other hand, if they refused to leave the human chain and continued to deny access to patients and employees into the facility, I would have no choice other than arresting the individuals for criminal trespass.

Even though the sergeant ordered me and my fellow officers to arrest the protestors the moment he arrived on the scene, I think I may go about the order another way. While knowing the ultimate goal of the sergeant and officers is to clear the human chain and allow entrance into the abortion clinic, I would play the role as the good cop and allow the protestors to choose their destiny. Because I am a pro life...