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Good Cop, Bad Cop: Ethics and Character in the Field of Law Enforcement - Essay Example

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The issue of ethics in the field of law enforcement has become much talked about in these modern times.There always are tensions between meeting the requirements of law and order and securing the safety of the community…
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Good Cop, Bad Cop: Ethics and Character in the Field of Law Enforcement
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Download file to see previous pages The issue of ethics in the field of law enforcement has become much talked about in these modern times. There always are tensions between meeting the requirements of law and order and securing the safety of the community, as well as ensuring that human rights are upheld and due process is maintained as a cornerstone of a democratic society. The challenges of balancing these interests become more and more complex and they often fall on the shoulders of our law enforcers who make sure that criminals are apprehended and punished, whilst at the same time live by settled human rights principles. This controversial issue was at the center of interviews conducted with Nancy Mulroy and Nicolas Caez, who are both with the Public Affairs section of the Hartford Police Department. The importance of ethics and character in the field of law enforcement Both Mulroy and Caez stated that ethics is indeed very important in the field of law enforcement. Caez emphasized a police officer’s job to be a role model of society, a responsibility that becomes even more challenging considering that “you are sometimes put into situations where you are the ultimate decision maker.” Mulroy echoes Caez’s sentiments and expounds on it, “It is pretty much self explanatory, law enforcement officials are supposed to enforce law and therefore if they don’t respect the law themselves, they don’t have an authority to enforce law. If you are a law enforcement official and don’t know the difference between right and wrong, you will always make mistakes. Most of the times we are stuck in situations where taking a decision is very difficult, it’s like a dilemma. Firm belief and knowledge of law can help you take the righteous decision and not get biased.” She further describes how ethics is an integral part of the job of the police officer. “You are a public official entrusted to enforce the law. Being ethical and of good character are an innate component of the job. You just can't do the job effectively without them. It's like you shouldn't be a doctor if you don't believe in the Oath.” She then acknowledges the temptations that confront law enforcement officers. “As an officer you are put in many situations which one could easily take advantage of. It is important to have officers who can resist temptation and do what is best for the whole society and not just for oneself.” The Police Officer of today: more ethical than the police officer of yesterday? Both interviewees suggest that there was an improvement in the police force and attribute this to two factors: a stricter recruitment process and more training in the field of ethics and character building. According to Mulroy, she does not want to answer on the behalf of other departments but she said she thinks that the process of recruitment has become stricter over the years and thus, the police today is more efficient and more ethical than it was 10 years ago. She believes that improvement and learning is an ongoing process and the department has learned from its previous mistakes and has become better over the years. “What I can say is that over the years, I've noticed a stricter standard in hiring practices to get the best possible candidates.” She is careful to say however that “ethics are left to each individual and cannot be generalized.” Caez seconds Mulroy’s statement on training improvement and suggests that character and ethical responsibility have become an integral part of the training of the police officers of today, not simply the rudimentary techniques and scientific aspects of police work. “The training procedures have been improved and more practical training has been brought that enables the candidates to understand the importance of the responsibility they will be getting. The focus of the training is to understand that you are a public servant and with great power comes great responsibility. The “Bad Apples” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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