The analysis of the ethical decision making process in law enforcement agencies has been the subject of numerous research articles in the past several decades. The following research project uses a non-experimental design to collect and analyze the responses of police officers in a suburban agency, to survey items that attempt to measure officer perceptions of the seriousness of specific ethically problematic behaviors. Xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
The ethical behavior of police officers is a fundamental issue in the creation of trust within a community. Police officers are given an enormous amount of power; this power has been granted to police officers by consent of citizens in the form of a social contract. This social contract transfers citizens rights to the police, and includes such rights as the right to use force to defend their property, to apprehend law breakers with forceful action, and other rights of self-protection. Therefore, citizens must be able to trust that police officers will use this power that has been ceded to them, with a great deal of moral and ethical restraint.
Unfortunately, the history of policing has been plagued by abuses of police power, which have led to many social problems, including the erosion of the trust of citizens. One of the issues that seems to contribute to this problem is that police officers are not xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Review of Literature
There have been numerous research initiatives that have been developed to investigate the relationship between ethical behavior and law enforcement tasks. Several have looked specifically at the problem behaviors that have resulted in disciplinary action against police officers (Del Pozo, 2005; Ivkovic, 2003; Klockars, Ivkovich, Harver, & Haberfeld, 2000). In these studies the authors were primarily concerned with identifying the specific behaviors, rather than the attitudes and perceptions that led to the behaviors.
This research project is interested in investigating whether the attitudes and perceptions of police officers is related to the decision to engage in problematic behaviors. In his research, Newham (2002) looked closely at the perceptions and attitudes of officers who appeared to have made unethical decisions. Newham’s research is important for this project as he has identified several characteristics that seem to be correlated with unethical behavior; this researcher will use several of Newham’s characteristics in developing the survey instrument to be used in the research project.
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In his review of the problems found at the Hillbrow, Wisconsin...
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