Professionalism and integrity assist officers in removing their hostilities and overcoming prejudices. Professionalism sends a strong message that under no circumstances will police officers be permitted to “act out their prejudices through violent, or even discourteous, conduct” (Kenney and McNamara 102). Incorporating ethical behavior in all aspects of service provides a constant reminder of the public-service responsibilities existing in every aspect of police work. Integrating ethical elements throughout service clearly communicates police commitment to just and legal treatment of all persons.
Professionalism is also a model for incorporating issues concerning diversity awareness and special-needs populations. It particularly calls for defending the civil rights of American people regardless of special characteristics such as race, ethnicity or religion. Police officers have responsibility to pay attention to particularities of the individual inmate, including the special needs of teenagers; alcoholics; drug users; people who are emotionally ill, mentally underdeveloped, or otherwise physically disabled; and sex offenders.
Police officers need to realize that every public case is a unique event. For instance, a police officer trying to search a person who is an alcoholic should understand that this person is prone to severe tremors, disorientation, and possible convulsions (Kenney and McNamara 102). The alcoholic may be reacting slower than other persons, or he may need physical help to make himself stable while the officer conducts a search. Nearly half of U. S. traffic stops in which use of force is eventually used include individuals under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Kenney and McNamara 101).
Being aware of how to determine that an individual is possibly experiencing problems due to alcohol withdrawal or drug use enables a police officer to make better decisions about how to behave with the person. For the police officer to best serve each American citizen, he must have knowledge how to behave in such conditions so as to use his approach to ensure mutually beneficial results. A police officer should have sufficient knowledge to understand how his personal state of being can influence his way of regarding situations and performance of duty.
Emotional and physiological states of a police officer will likely differ when arresting an agreeable individual than when capturing an individual after a lengthy foot chase or fast vehicle chase. Professional skills will provide the officer with guidance on when the officer ought to remove himself from the specific case at hand and ask for help from other individuals because of his own state of mind. Professionalism is important when deciding how not to take interactions personally and how an officer can best have control over his emotions.
Finally, professional work will help police officers be part of a team. By entering the police profession one becomes a professionally responsible officer, a process that includes the understanding of certain rules and taken as a whole is better conceived as the process of acquiring the habits of a culture. An officer's relations with the public, officials, and other third parties define professional responsibility. Responsibility is the important tenet of professionalism.
It requires that the officer have an understanding of duty. The client of police profession is society. The police officer’s service for the greater good is as much important as doctor’s duty to sustain public health. The police officer’s duty is defend individual rights and protect their citizenry. Such duty implies that the professional police officer knows the social context in which he performs service. With duty comes responsibility, and police officers are held responsible for their own actions.
Today this concept of service requires a community policing approach that accepts a duty to recognize social diversity. The concept being a basis of community policing and diversity awareness must therefore spread through the entire organization, including its training functions. Responsibility is connected with the policing philosophy that a department chooses to advance. It is important to create the systems that establish and maintain the philosophy of responsibility. Both systems and philosophy rely on the expertise that police officers provide to people.