The code of ethics for law enforcers declares that it is the fundamental duty of the officers to serve mankind by safeguarding their lives, property, protecting the innocent, the weak and the peaceful against vices such as deception, oppression, intimidation, disorder and violence. The code also states that the officers should respect the constitutional rights of each individual to be liberal, equal and face justice. Additionally, on joining the law enforcement forces, one swears that he/she will uphold integrity, courage and self restraint when faced by danger or ridicule.
Further, the officers are required to be honest while handling their official duties and should serve as an example to other citizens in upholding the laws. But this is not all that the law enforcers are supposed to adhere to. The officers are supposed to guard personal feelings, friendships, prejudices or animosities to influence their decision. They should have no compromise in handling crime, and should enforce the law appropriately and courteously without, malice, ill-will, fear or favor. In addition, the code of ethics requires them to never use needless violence or force when handling suspects.
They should also never accept gratuities from suspects. Overall, law enforcers are faced with ethical dilemmas because as opposed to the universally acceptable behaviors, their code of ethics demands that their behavior should be different. While executing their duties, the law enforcers are exposed to different frameworks that include natural law, Religious ethics, ethical formalism, ethics of care and utilitarianism. Despite this however, the officers must conduct themselves in a desired behavior (Pollock & Becker, 1996).
Considering that the law enforcers work in a changing and dynamic social context, it is obvious their resolve to this code of ethics would have to be tried in all possible angles. Officers therefore encounter ethical dilemmas very often in their careers. Most times, such occur without warning, thus giving the officers little time to reconsider ethical decisions. Though not always, the decisions that officers make when faced with ethical dilemmas could lead to life changing consequences (Gilmartin & Harris, 1998). Ethical dilemmas faced by the law enforcers are categorized into four groups.
This includes Loyalty dilemmas, honesty dilemmas, duty/service dilemmas and discretion/legality dilemmas (Pollock & Beckert, 1996). Truth be told, law enforcers work in exhilarating conditions, which can even turn seductive. The nature of their work is full of ethical dilemmas that only the mentally prepared can make appropriate and responsible decisions. Although the officers are supposed to be courageous, at some time, individual officers have to decide between risking their lives and acting with courage. The society also presents the officers with more temptations than was the case decades ago.
Criminal gangs and illegal business people know their chances at prosperity can only be assured if they have the backing of some law enforcers. At such, they will go to great lengths to offer police officers enticing offers. The sizeable payoffs maybe enticing and human nature being what it is, it will always be a hard decision for the officers in question (O’Malley, 1997). In some cases, the officer would be caught between turning down offers from established illegal business such as drug cartels and exposing these cartels. Some cartels may claim to having high ranking government connections or adhering to code of ethics.