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This report shows a survey conducted among people regarding ethics in the law enforcement department. The survey involved interviewing people and also analyzing answers given by the respondents. The interview was done to 110 people who were required to answer the four questions that deal with police ethics. The report analysis the views of people on police observance to stipulated ethics code, its role in the law enforcement department and police ethical training
According to the interview conducted, many believe that code of ethics in enforcement sector has played a significant role in maintaining order in the sector. Most of the interviewees believe that police officers are more ethical nowadays than they were a decade ago, the interview has also brought to light various reasons why the law enforcement agents engage themselves in misconduct. The interviewees don’t think that the police force undergo a thorough training on ethics at academy level and therefore propose that ethics training should be an ongoing process to the law enforcement agents. Through this many interviewees felt that the training will reduce the numerous case of police corruption.
According to Wueste (1994), ethics comprise of values and rules of standard that govern people or members of certain profession. In United States police force is considered to be a profession and therefore they have a stipulated code of ethics that strictly govern every law enforcement personnel. Ethics and ethical standards in this sector play a very significant role. Law enforcement code of ethics is put in place to guide a police officer. Ethics code makes sure that an officer will perform his duty in accordance to the requirements laid out in the constitution.
Close to 68% of people interviewed believe that code of ethics has laid out the dos and don’ts of a police officer. According to Culcom (n.d), the code of ethics describes a pledge a police officers pledges to live with and it stipulates what the officer is supposed to do. It also offers guidance to an enforcement officer indicating the code of ethics the officer is required to embrace as he discharges his duties. The code of ethics also gives the police personnel commitment of not only enforcing the law but also respecting it.
The analysis of interview responses done depict that police force has improved in the way they observe the code of ethics. About 63% of the interviewees described that there has been a forward motion in regard to police force nowadays. This improvement can be attributed to upgrade of qualification standards in the recruitment of police which has risen to bachelor’s degree or associate degree in a number of enforcement agencies.
An increase in education standard is believed to be a major factor that has changed society towards embracing ethics. Higher level of education needed for one to be hired in police force, indicate that the officer will have obtained a great deal of college experience. The experience is effective in improving level of maturity of a person, exposure with different types of people and obviously impartation of knowledge. This has been rated as the major factor that has overseen change in the police force.
Police force has been having issues with misconduct. The misconduct in the police force includes brutalizing suspects, corruption. 39% of people interviewed thought that the reason that drive a law enforcement personnel to committing misconduct include long working hours among the very unethical people in the society. About 36% of people suggested that a police officer may be enticed into criminal acts by the conditions they work in and also some believe that there may be a loop hole in the recruitment process that may allow presence of less-than-ethical officers in the force.
A police officer is required to enforce law and order and is required to enforce it 24hours a day in the 7 days of the week. This makes him to be involved with criminals, who have chosen breaking of law as way of life, in better part of his working life. According to Hogg and Terry (2000), attitude can be contagious and may be transferred to another person. Since police officer will constantly rub shoulders with criminals as he does his duties among them there is high possibility that they will be infected with cavalier attitude. After the cavalier attitude towards people has been transferred to officer’s mind, it will only require a small step to make the officer commit crime himself.
A good number of people were in the view that a police officer is enticed by the working conditions into going against the code of ethics. Many will try to offer irresistible amount of money to an officer making it hard for an officer to resist. Also an officer might be involved in cases which involve drugs and large sums of money. This will amount to corruption referred to as gross misconduct.
Another factor that leads to case of misconduct in the enforcement sector is the fact that there are some bad elements in the force. An interviewee responded that screening processes for appointments and fresh recruitments of new members may not be fool proof. This means that a number of less-than-ethical candidates may slip in through small loopholes and get hired. Other factors that were raised up during the interview include high pressures in the job where the police may be forced by his seniors to commit a felony. Also there are some who thought that gross misconduct of a police officer has been brought about by momentary lapse judgment.
The results of the interview suggested that there has been a reasonably enough training done to the police officers. Many believed that there has been an upswing in training of law enforcement officers with regard to code of ethics. This has been supported by the presence and more establishments of law enforcement academies. This law force academies are present in every state and at federal level in United States.
It is believed that allegations of police misconduct by media houses and public have made the law enforcement management to initiate various steps that have brought extensive training of police officers. This training is thought to touch both recruits and officers in-service and it emphasizes the importance of ethics to the force and its relevance to both the community and themselves.
Ethics training of law enforcement officer should be made continuous process so as to achieve desired level. Many even suggested that it should be done annually or biannually and also there should establishment of evaluation techniques. This would be used to measure the progress and efficiency of such training. Savrock (2007) purports that ethics training will provide professionals with flavor of good morals and also aid them in making decisions that are appropriate and ethical.
Change in societal values and beliefs are some of the factors that made many to support continuous training of police force. Dynamism also will be a great factor that will influence comprehensive and continuous ethical training of the officers. This is because the societal values are changing with time and technology. A proper continuous training will be of great help to the officers with problems of integrating the change with ethical morals. It will also assist police force to deal with issues that have caused growing trend of police misconduct.
The interview portrayed that training and education in ethics will certainly reduce the growing number of police corruption. About 40% of the interviewed give credit the current, ongoing, intensive training on ethics for being responsible for decline in corruption cases over the past decade. There was a notion that crime is evolving and is changing with time means that even corruption is also changing. Training this will enable the officer to handle upcoming cases of corruption and remind them of the ethical code they are supposed to embrace.
Continuous training will act as enforcement to the code of ethics. This will not only be reminding officers of the ethics and values they should uphold, but also it will show them the importance of doing so. This will be effective to the law enforcement department especially to reach those who may have forgotten the code that guide them. Continuous training will also aid a police officer to overcome temptations and areas that may lead him to temptations of receiving a bribe. It will also enable the law enforcement officer to comprehend corruption in the dynamic world.
In general, ethics are important in every profession, and therefore it is crucial to the officers in the law enforcement department. Police officer is expected to be a role model in the society and hence the department needs to have a code that guides their ethics. A good number of people are in the view that observance of ethics by the officers has improved over the decades. This has been the case due to rise of standards for police recruitment. Accordance to the survey, police officers have been involved in misconducts that have tainted the law enforcement department. The misconduct may be brought by long working hours and enticement of police to commit crime. Though many indicated presence of misconduct, they believe that police force undergoes a thorough training in law enforcement academy and suggested that training of ethics be made an ongoing process to achieve better results.