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Running head: POLICE ETHICS AND DEVIANCE ASSIGNMENT Police Ethics and Deviance Assignment Axia College Police Ethics and Deviance Assignment Police officers live by a specific code of ethics that helps them to their chosen profession in the noblest means possible. The problem is that officers are human and as humans, they sometimes give in to temptation and bad judgment while trying to fulfill the completion of those duties. A few of the deviant behaviors that officers succumb to are corruption, misconduct, and brutality.
Some officers will partake in the items previously listed in the name of doing the “right thing”. This has been given the name “The Dirty Harry” syndrome, after the movie of the same name (Dempsey & Frost, 2005). Regardless of the goodwill behind it, any abnormal behavior by a person sworn to uphold the law cannot and will not be tolerated. Ethics can be described as what one does that is considered right and wrong to society and people. Ethics helps one make decisions and behave in specific ways that will not bring shame and disgrace to one’s self.
A police officer’s code of ethics has to be higher than the people they are protecting and serving. T. O’Connor (2005) cites the following Law Enforcement Code of Ethics: |The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics | |As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the | |innocent against deception; the weak against oppression or intimidation; and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to| |respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality, and justice. | I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all; maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn, or | |ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of others. Honest in my thought and deed in both | |personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the laws of the land and the regulations of my department. Whatever| |I see or hear of a confidential nature or that is confided to me in my official capacity will be kept ever secret unless | |revelation is necessary in the performance of my duties. | I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities, or friendships to influence my | |decisions. With no compromise for crime and with relentless prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the law courteously and | |appropriately without fear or favor, malice or ill-will, never employing unnecessary force or violence, and never accepting | |gratuities. | | I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I| |am true to the ethics of police service.
I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself | |before God to my chosen profession — law enforcement. (para. 12) | As one can see, it is very specific about the treatment of others and how an officer is expected to act while working in the public trust (O’Connor, 2006). This code ethics provides an outline for the officers and takes away any gray areas that may cause some confusion and wrong choices by the officers. One of the first items of the code deals with an officer’s duty to protect and not deceive.
Unfortunately, some officers do not apply this part to their working lives or they choose to forget it. This will lead an officer to the darker side of police work such as, corruption and misconduct by the officer. In Los Angeles, for example, corruption presents itself in many forms, such as financial kick-backs, drug-dealing, obstruction of justice, and theft (Staff, 2009). These acts will degrade an officer’s identity and create an air of mistrust amongst those they are supposed to help. Not to mention, they are against the law the police officers have sworn to uphold.
This will lead to the officers answering for their actions and being reviewed by other officers, whose duty is to weed out the corrupt officers. Even lesser types of corruption, like taking gratuities and “cooping”, will compromise an officer’s integrity and effect how they do their job. By taking gifts they will show favoritism to those individuals giving them the gifts. Cooping is the term for when officers rest, sleep or just are negligent in doing their job. That is why it is very important that officer’s followed the code of ethics and remain above the public in everything they do.
Misconduct is also something that an officer can do that will tarnish the whole department. Misconduct is what an officer does when they break departmental rules and regulations that guide police behavior. This is not a misuse of authority, but of how an officer acts in regard to the force. This type of deviant behavior shows the police force in a bad light and paints a negative picture of the police and what they do. Some of the types of misconduct are using police property for personal use, unsafe use of police property, failure to write reports, and improper searching of suspects.
This is only a small collection of the many types of misconduct, but all are damaging to the character of the officer (Stevens, 2005). Police brutality is probably one of the most egregious of all the deviant behaviors that has been listed previously. It is the use of excessive force against suspects, civilians, and offenders (Dempsey & Frost, 2005, p. 308). This type of deviant behavior has been present since the inception of police work. These acts of aggression are direct infringements of constitutional rights against people who officers are supposed to protect and help.
The needed trust in the police officer by the public is broken and is difficult to try to repair. Even if citizen oversight committees are formed and officers are punished for their actions, public trust usually is not restored. Police brutality usually goes hand-in-hand with perjury by the officer committing the brutality. An officer is more likely to lie under oath instead of risking punishment from the court and their department (O’Connor, 2005) Thankfully, most police officers follow the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics.
Only a small fraction of “rogue” officers use the influence of the position to gain power and monetary gain. What needs to be done is to have more honest officers stand up and police their own. Only then will society be able to purge this nefarious aspect from its policing expectations and create a culture free from deceit and wrongdoings by those charged with protecting others. References Dempsey, J. S. , & Frost, L. S. (2005). Police and the law. In (Ed. ), An introduction to policing (pp. 250-290). Retrieved from Axia CJS 210. O’Connor, T. (2006). Topics in police ethics.
Manuscript submitted for publication. Retrieved February 19, 2010, from http://www. apsu. edu/oconnort/3300/3300lect04. htm O’Connor, T. R. (2005). Police deviance and ethics. Retrieved February 20, 2010, from http://policecrimes. com/police_deviance. html Staff (2009, July). In the news: police corruption. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://articles. latimes. com/keyword/police-corruption Stevens, M. (2005). Police deviance and ethics (Masters Thesis, California State University – Fresno, 2005). Retrieved from http://faculty. ncwc. edu/mstevens/205/205lect11. htm
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