Ethical Consideration In Law Enforcement

According to the Meriam-Webster definition, ethics is defined as “…the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation”. In other words, doing the right thing whether someone else is watching or not. Today, having ethical behavior will strongly define a person in their quality character. Just about any situation has an ethical and unethical side to them. Take for example traffic rules. Although they are part of the law, there won’t always be someone there to enforce them. Say someone comes to an intersection with a 4-way stop in the middle of the night. There are no other vehicles or traffic cameras around. No one would witness if they obeyed the stop sign or not. The ethical, and lawful, thing to do would be to properly stop at the stop sign as if there were other cars coming and wait 3-5 seconds (depending on the states’ traffic laws) before proceeding to cross said intersection. However, the unethical thing would be to “roll the stop”, a term used by law enforcement when a vehicle does not come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Another unethical action would be to simply drive through the stop sign, or as how it is said in today’s modern language “no cop, no stop”. This is just one of the many ethical actions one will encounter in their everyday lives, whether it is at their workplace or in their everyday lives.

Law enforcement is one of the main professions where being ethical play an important part in their career, from being a police officer to working in a courtroom. Police officers are sort of the guardians of society. Their main job is to maintain peace in their community and to help those in need. They are also obligated to enforce the laws passed by their communities and bring into custody those that defy, or break said rules. In Texas police officers are sworn into their office by swearing and signing the following statement: “IN THE NAME AND BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE STATE OF TEXAS I, (name of person), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will execute the duties of the office of (department one is being sworn into) of the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God.” Therefore, one can see that from the very beginning of their career police officers are aware of their expectations. Their position in society is seen by everyone and one will always guide to them and often mimic their actions. So, if an officer is seen doing a good deed like helping those in need without being called it will inspire someone that is watching them to do the same thing. But if they are seen doing something bad such as abusing the power of their badge for their benefit they lose all respect and trust towards them.

Due to the environment their job takes place in, police officers will encounter many dilemmas in where their ethical behavior is tested. While some officers will choose to do the right ethical thing, others will act in a way that works only in their favor. This is where police corruption is born. Throughout the last few years it seems as if police corruption is becoming a popular news headline for the media. These are officers that believe that just because they are wearing a badge they deserve special treatment and/or can get away with certain unethical behavior. A great example of unethical police behavior is the Baltimore Police corruption scandal that began in 2011 when a 19-year-old woman from New Jersey overdosed on drugs. An investigation was launched to find out where she had gotten the drugs from. Later they realized that a Baltimore police officer was somehow involved in her death, and they turned their focus on the Baltimore police agency. It was then that they discovered how corrupt the agency had been acting for several years. Nine officers who belonged in a group called the Gun Trace Task Force were charged with racketeering charges such as searching homes and properties without a formal warrant, stealing money from people in their community and even selling drugs such as cocaine and heroin. This group consisted of 2 sergeants, 1 officer and 6 detectives. As of today, all nine ex-officers have been charged with multiple counts of robbery, racketeering, and other crimes and the case has been closed.

Police corruption is one of the biggest issues society faces these days. Just one officer can ruin the whole reputation of their department, and it’s not like they can easily cover it up and move along from it once it comes out to the light. Corruption breaks the trust and bond between officers and citizens of their community and coming back from something like that is not easy.

However not all police officers behave in such manner. Even in the dark shadows of corruption there are still some officers that truly want the best for their community and will do anything in their power to make sure the people are safe and at peace. From volunteering at food banks to simply finding a way to connect with the troubled parts of their community, good officers do exist. We see them in videos uploaded on social media where one can see an officer helping the homeless or connecting with the younger generation out of the kindness of their heart. Unfortunately, these officers do go unnoticed and we only hear about the corrupt ones. But some do see the good deeds of these police officers, and they do the best of their ability to reward them. An example of this is giving officers in uniform discount on their meals when they are on duty or even offering them free coffee.

In general, every profession deals with ethical dilemmas. While some people choose to do the right thing regardless of the outcome, others simply do not care and will violate any rules for personal recognition. At an early age one is taught to identify the good actions from the bad ones. Once they are out in the real world it is up to them to choose the right path or live a life of wrong doing. One does not necessarily have to work in a profession to be ethical with their community. Simply volunteering to help those in need can reflect a good ethical behavior on them. Also following the rules of society whether someone is around or not can be considered ethical, such as the traffic example mentioned earlier. Being ethical is not a way to bring fame to oneself, but rather to share the kindness of one’s heart and bring everyone closer together. After all, one day you might be the one who instead of giving needs someone to give to you. And whatever you went around giving will come around.

03 December 2019
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now