The Ethical Dilemma of a Police Officer

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The Ethical Dilemma of a Police Officer
Professions are guided by codes of ethics to aid them in performance of their duties and to ensure maintenance of high standards of conduct. Police officers are faced with a maze of obligations in the performance of their official duties. The “Law Enforcement Code of Ethics” and “Canons of Police Ethics” were created to make explicit the conduct considered appropriate for police officers and to guide them in the performance of their duties. Although police have these guides, many are faced with ethical dilemmas, also known as a moral dilemmas. This mean the officer is challenged to make a decision which sometimes conflicts with societal and personal ethical morals and values and provide no satisfactory outcome. In ethical dilemmas it is assumed the individual who abide by societal norms, such as codes of law or religious teachings will make a good ethical decision but that is not always the result. The ethical framework from which an officer performs his duties and meets his obligations to the profession and to society is of considerable importance to the well-being of the community in which he works. It is imperative; therefore, that a strong code of ethics is established as a guide within the law enforcement agency, that this code be well understood by all officers, that it be made second nature through training, and that it is faithfully enforced through example by the departmental chain of command. The department must establish rigorous controls and apply appropriate disciplinary measures when required to make certain that the code of ethics is taken seriously by all officers. The need for diligent enforcement of such a code is made all the more critical by the changing dynamics of our society, by the complexities of its ethnic and racial fiber, and by the difficult that officers face in attempting to enforce often unpopular laws. Ethics play an important role in police officers being successful. Ethics are set of principles of right conduct, a theory or a system of moral values, the rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or members of a profession. Police officers take an oath to protect and serve the community. The community looks to police as a leader. I believe leaders set the standards, so police officers should be held to higher standards than the general public. Police officers are considered to be at the top of the organization chart. A wise saying states, “If the head (brain) is not working correctly the other parts of the body is lost.” The police are considered to be the head and the community is the other part. How could they enforce the laws that have been set by the government if they had no ethics and morals? There would be complete turmoil through the country. Police officers are trained to read, write and analyze numbers. They are also trained how to handle firearms, identify non-lethal weapons, use defensive tactics effective, conduct search and seizure, driving techniques, investigate criminal acts and the laws of arrest, but how many police take a course on ethical conduct or learn the meaning of sworn oath? Some police officer feel ethics is not important and training is of low – priority. Law enforcement officers take oaths creates an ethical landmine. Officers have to weigh their personal values against colleague demands that may develop a hostile environment and cause ethical issues to flourish. When police officers demonstrate unethical practices, negative issues occur. Corruption scandals are painful reminders that officers need more training in ethics and integrity. In a 1997 statement, the International Association of Chiefs of Police said: Ethics is our greatest training and leadership need today and into the next century. In addition to the fact that most departments do not conduct ethics training, nothing is more devastating to individual departments and our entire profession than uncovered scandals or discovered acts of...
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