Law Enforcement Ethics

Most ethical dilemmas are about an officer’s ability or inability to make good judgment. Often, this dilemma is the case where the probable actions are not bad. However, in such a case, the law enforcer does not really know which of the available options is best. A law enforcement officer may be faced with the question of whether to arrest or ticket a traffic offender (Rinehart, 2000). . Since they are just human, law enforcement officers can feel uncomfortable or guilty in executing some of the duties, which do not seem too lenient on a personal level.

In other cases, the officer may not do what the regulation or laws require them to do. As such, they are lost about the appropriate action to take. Discretion dilemmas might range from some that are strictly legal to those raised by colleagues outside the work environment. The society also presents the law enforcers with dilemmas that could arise from dire circumstance. For example, a desperate man eager to get a job may keep on going to the same place to look for work hoping that the business owner will one day create a job vacancy for him.

Should the owner call the police on grounds that the job seeker is creating disturbances during working hours, the law enforcer may have to consider that much as the person was going against the will of the business owner, his drive was purely because of his dire want. As such, the officer may not know whether to act compassionately towards the man or enforce the law. Duty Ethical dilemmas rising from duties are categorized into two groups. The first dilemma related to what the obligation of the law enforcer is towards the community (Rinehart, 2000).

While some officers may feel that the nature of their job should deal with handling cases of law and order only, others feel that community responsibilities like ensuring that homeless people settle in shelters that take good care of them. The second job related dilemma occurs when despite the requirement to handle the job; the officer does not think it is necessary to perform it. Honesty Honesty dilemmas are diverse and range from personal misdeeds to situations that may include self enrichment endeavors or misdeeds like traffic violations.

Loyalty to fellow police officers also falls under this category as does attempts to have fellow officers cover up for one’s wrong doings (Rinehart, 2000). Questions that face a law enforcement officer in this category includes whether to report a fellow officer who engages in unethical behavior or just pay a blind eye to him/her, whether to intervene in a situation where prompt intervention could make a difference despite the same being allocated to some other officer or even telling the truth about having hit a police car against a road block despite the risk of disciplinary action that may come with such a confession.

Gratuities Whether it is wrong to accept gratuities from people who appreciate an individual officer’s role in the community is a matter that continues to elicit mixed reaction. Some of the questions that arise while determining the ethical nature of receiving gratuities involve whether there a distinction between a gratuity and a gift (Rinehart, 2000). Conclusion Although ethical dilemmas among law enforcers mainly sprout when an officer has to work against set rules, some of which contravene individual values, beliefs and values, other factors that contribute to this predicament.

Such include the institutional context of the office where the officer works, the expectations placed on the officer by the community, the political frame work, the public interest and even the advice and values that an individual officer receives from a trusted friend or relative (Cranston Et al, 2005) Ethical matters among the law enforcers however affect how the entire force s viewed by the public. The citizens trust the law enforcers to offer competent, impartial and competent services to them.

Ethical behavior among the officer therefore serves to reinforce this trust. Those who act unethically however strains law enforcement relations with the public. In addition, politics, institution traditions or a department history should never be used as a rationalizing factor to justify unethical behavior.


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