CJ340 06 Professor Anthony Scarpelli
January 06, 2011
My first interviewee officers jack Davidson, patrolman from Somers point police department. When interviewing Patrolman Davidson, I found the following to be his impressions of the police force in general. Officer Davidson spoke of why ethics and character are important in the field of law enforcement. His response was that ethics and character go hand in hand. In law enforcement it seems that there are so many reasons to do the right thing. The reasons began with public opinion and also should include their influence on the youth who will be growing up to be citizens of the city, state, or country. If a police officer does not behave with good character he is not a good example, and may, in fact, become a bad example for a child to believe is acceptable. To uphold the law, one must be able to look above all the things that could influence them to behave poorly. If an officer allows someone to change their outlook in a negative way, whether it is a criminal, a family member, or even another police officer, then they are not displaying good character. Ethics are as important, if not more important, than character. One can display an incredible character, but when it comes time to follow the rules of ethics, the temptations of simple favors by the law-abiding citizens of the community can sway an officer’s choices, and can cause them to make a poor choice. Even the slightest favor from someone can lead to a dangerous future occurrence. If a citizen provides freebies for a police officer, then the officer is expected to provide special favors for the citizen. This can be expected in forms of protection, additional police presence, or even something disreputable like fixing a ticket, or letting them off with a warning instead of a ticket. Most people do not give things without expecting something in return. When Officer Davidson was asked if he felt that police officers are more ethical today or were they more ethical ten years ago, he replied I do feel that police officers are more ethical today. Having additional education and with better guidance, police are given more tools and information in order to behave in a more ethical manner” (2007). He went on to say that, ten years ago, police officers were not watched as closely, police officers were also not expected to uphold as many of the ethical standards as today. At one time a free cup of coffee or a nice hot meal were accepted by the police as gratuities that they deserved for providing services to a community. It is known now that by accepting these gratuities police are being bribed, in a manner of speaking, to create additional sense of well being for those who are giving the gifts. These rules may have been in force for more than a decade, but more stress is being placed on ethics, to keep these things from happening now. In regards to the text, Delattre says when speaking of the slippery slope of corruption, he says that it begins with small things which lead to larger actions until the actions become criminal in themselves. Addressing the subject of police officers who get involved in misconduct, Officer Davidson had the following remarks. The police officers I have known who got involved in misconduct did so because they were disgusted. They felt annoyed with their life; they get distressed with their family. Police loss of faith in mankind generally spawns individual and departmental corruption (Delattre, 2007). In high crime cities where the cost of living is high, police find that they are unable to pay their bills because the rent and the utilities are much too expensive and are not covered by their inadequate salary. Also in the large cities police officers find many times that they can get away with some misconduct, like police brutality, or skimming money from a drug bust. It seems no one is going to stop a policeman from beating a criminal who has been...