Ethics and Professionalism in Law Enforcement

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Freedom or Safety pg 191

Ethics and Professionalism pg 205

What is police discretion? How does the practice of discretion by today's officers reflect on their departments and on the policing profession as a whole? Police discretion is the opportunity for police officers to exercise choice in their enforcement activities. Discretion of today’s police officers normally reflects the departments and the policing profession as a whole in a negative fashion. Imagine being a police chief. Identify and discuss the difficulties that police chiefs face today. What are the rewards of the job?

New recruits are given a physical agility exam that they must pass. Many of the police departments that require new recruits to take such a test do not require veteran officers to retake the test. Is this an acceptable practice? The police force should be like the military, everybody should have to pass some sort of physical agility test regardless of their gender, age, or status within the department. Not requiring the veterans to have to participate in such tests is not fair by any means.

Education requirements differ between states and departments. Do you think that a college degree should be required for police service? Why? or why not? I do not think that a college degree should be required for police service because it would create an immense amount of tension within the department. There would be no room for advancement because all of the officers would be qualified for every position.

Departments have continually faced the problem of a candidate’s prior drug use. What types of drugs and/or frequency of use should disqualify a candidate for police service? I believe that if marijuana has been used within the last five years then the candidate should be disqualified, and if at any point in time they have used a hard drug such as cocaine or heroin then they are disqualified for any sort of police employment.
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