Creating and Implementing Policy on Ethics in New York Police Department

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Sewanee University of the South
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Policy on ethics is a document that gives rules on the professional behaviour of the department, for this situation, New York Police Department, in which they shall focus on serving people in general through a moral way. Ethical behaviour is this case refers to actions that are in line with societys definition of good values. As the Police Commissioner of the New York State Department, I am charged with the duty of ensuring professionalism and commitment within my department. The New York Police Department policy on ethics is formulated to ensure that the members of the department do not use their job as an excuse to act indecently and unprofessionally in the line of duty. It is for this reason that the department needs a functional policy that dictates the ethical behaviour of the officers.

The New York Police Department policy on ethics document shall be drafted by a commission. The commission shall be made up of two volunteers from each taskforce, to form a total of 12 members. Office 362A shall serve as the headquarters for the commission. The commission also has the right to interview any member of the New York Police Department regarding their ethical conduct. While drafting the policy, the commission shall rely on the constitution of the State of New York and the Police Service Performance of Work agreement for references. The Police Commissioner shall appoint an Ethical Officer to oversee the implementation of the New York Police Department policy on ethics, but until then, the members of the commission shall appoint their officer who will be the leader of the commission and will report to the police commissioner directly. The commission shall continue being operational for at least six months after the drafting of the ethical policy to oversee its implementation and also provide the Police Commissioner with time to appoint the Ethical Officer, after which the commission shall be disbanded. The commission shall also draft the procedure for the appointment of the ethical officer.

The commission shall begin by establishing the necessary values of operation. It comprises of those values the department deems necessary for its operation. This shall be followed by the department code of ethics. These shall be based on the values of operation, and the Commission should ensure that they do not conflict with the values of operation. This shall include the boundary lines from which every officer should not cross in their duty. They do this by consulting the members of the various task force to get their opinions. The drafting shall also consist of the vision statement. This is the statement that outlines the goals of the department (Vicchio, 1999). From then on it will be up to the members to question their actions and ask themselves how they are helping the department achieve its goals by their actions.

The commission shall also draft the course for reporting unethical behaviour by any employee of the department. This must involve the necessary channel of authority which must always involve the ethical officer. The drafting will also include the course of action for reporting unethical behaviour. The draft should also include rewards for ethical behaviour in the department. The draft should provide for measurement of the ethical behaviour in the department (Anand & Rosen, 2008). After the disbandment of the commission the ethics officer will need a team to work with. Therefore the draft should provide a procedure for the appointment of this team.

The newly formulated policies on ethics shall be communicated to the members of the New York Police Department through the IT department. Every police officer shall receive an email from the IT department asking them to read through the policy on ethics of the department. The policy on ethics shall also be uploaded to the departments main website which can also be accessed by members of the general public. To ensure the members of the New York Police Department have read the policy on ethics they are required to submit their personal opinion on the policy on ethics and recommendations to the commission.

To increase awareness of the formulated policies on ethics in the New York Police Department, the commission will initiate the training for the ethics exactly seven days after it has been signed by the Police Commissioner and other New York Police Department chiefs. The training shall run for two months and shall involve all members of the department including other employees who are not members of the law enforcement such as the kitchen staff and cleaners. After completion of the training, every employee shall be required to sign the form of ethical conduct. The form contains the code of ethical conduct from the agency policy on ethics. The training for ethical conduct shall be integrated into the training of new recruits in the department for them to familiarize with the ethical conduct. After which they shall also sign the form of ethical conduct.

The training shall serve to equip the department members with the skills needed to always perform ethically even when under pressure. This trains them to always maintain ethical behaviour even when faced with a dilemma (Payne, 1993). The training will also include a siting examination paper that shall test the knowledge of the members of New York Police Department on policy on ethics of the department. Failure to pass this examination shall require the police officers to retake the examination. This is another way of ensuring that they have read the policy on ethics of the department and have clearly understood.

It is up to the commission to ensure compliance. They shall achieve this by establishing an ethical phone line to members of the public. Any unethical conduct by any member of the department can be reported directly to the ethical conduct commission via the phone line. The Commission will then proceed to investigate the allegations, and if proven true then the commission shall proceed with a course of action as indicated in the agency policy on ethics. On top of this, the incentives and rewards provided for in the agency policy would motivate the members of the department to adhere to the ethics. The commission shall be conducting a periodical evaluation of the adherence to the ethical program from time to time. They will always be writing a report and submitting it to the police commissioner regarding the progress they have made on the implementation of the ethical policy. The Commissioner shall then forward the report to his board for review (OMalley, 1997).

The continuous consultation with the members of the department is also a method of getting their approval of the policy on ethics. As a result, it is up to the members of the commission to ensure the members of the department contribute to implementation of the policy on ethics. Among the course of actions should include getting fired and indefinite suspension. The commission should conduct annual sitting examination test to make sure that the members of the New York Police Department regularly read the policy on ethics. Failure to pass the examination test on policy on ethics shall lead to punishment by the Police Commissioner. In order to further reinforce the policy on ethics, the New York Police Department will include the ethics rating into the performance file of each of the officers currently working in New York Police Department. The Police Commissioner shall also make a proposal to the National Police Service to make it a requirement for any police department in the country to demand the ethics rating of any police officers looking to join all police departments in the country. All members of the department shall need to conduct ethical training every year to ensure they remain on course. On top of it, the Police Commissioner shall outsource the ethics officer from another department to ensure the loyalty of the officer is to the job and not to his/her former colleagues. The ethics officer shall be third in command in the New York Police Department in order for the members of the departments to take him seriously.

Creation and implementation of agency policy on ethics is a continuous process. Other codes shall be reviewed. The policy on ethics is not meant to constrain the members of the department in their line of duty but instead, enhance their performance. It is in their best interest to have an ethics policy that guides their actions (Felkenes, 1984). Ethics policy is a necessity because as the watchmen of the people of New York, the department needs a guard.


Anand, V., & Rosen, C. C. (2008). The ethics of organizational secrets. Journal of Management Inquiry.

Payne, D. M. (1993). Ethics in Police Decisionmaking: Modeling the Corporate Method. FBI L. Enforcement Bull., 62, 5.

OMalley, T. (1997). J.Managing for Ethics: A Mandate for Administrators.. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 17-21.

Vicchio, S. (1999). Lecture on Police Integrity and Ethics. POST-Command College, San Marcos, California, (July 20).

Felkenes, G. T. (1984). Attitudes of police officers toward their professional ethics. Journal Of Criminal Justice, 12(3), 211-220.


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