Ethical Dilemmas in Policing
Ethical guidelines and laws should guide the actions of police officers. This, however, does not always happen. One very public example of unethical and illegal conduct by police officers is the 1991 Rodney King case, which resulted in police brutality and racist treatment of an African American suspect by White officers. The officers were formally charged but eventually acquitted. Regardless, the public began to seriously question the conduct of police officers.
Another example of unethical conduct is when police officers choose not to act. Consider a scenario involving a traffic accident, for example. Suppose a traffic accident occurs on a state highway directly in front of two police officers—one from the county and the other from the city. If the officers decide not to intervene and instead to call the State Highway Patrol (SHP) given the accident occurred on their roads, their behavior might be considered unethical. After all, the police officers could at least give their names to the parties involved in the accident should an issue arise regarding who was at fault.
Accepting gratuities is another example of unethical conduct. In 2003, a young officer was offered a free meal at the restaurant across the street from the police academy. He graciously accepted the offer as he had heard that the particular establishment was one that “popped,” a term officers use to identify places that offer free services. His weekly trip soon became a daily trip, and after his wife lost her job, he began showing up every morning to get breakfast for his entire family. The manager never complained, but upon discovering the arrangement, the owner reported the officer, who was immediately removed from the police academy. Did the officer make a mistake by accepting the first meal? Or was he just foolish in thinking that a daily breakfast for five wouldn’t be noticed? Some officers accept gratuities, while others argue that doing so sends you down a “slippery slope” toward more unethical conduct. In this assignment, you explore ethical and legal issues that arise in law enforcement and consider how to most appropriately address such issues.
To prepare for this assignment:
Submit a (2 page) writing assignment by Sunday October 02, 2016:
Support your Application Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation.