Essay on Ethics, Morality, and Code of Conduct: Law Enforcement

4 pages
842 words
Carnegie Mellon University
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In Law Enforcement, Ethics is a term used to refer to the parameters which define a police officers or law enforcement agents right thing and "wrong thing." Ethics applies to a document called The Codes of Conduct which each agency and police division upholds no matter. Values such as integrity, honesty, justice, and courage are encouraged of every police officer, and in essence, they make up an individual's morality. The law enforcement code of conduct is an important document which entails the expected behavior of officers and agents and discourages vices such as greed and dishonesty (McCartney, 2015).

On July 21, 1959, the Los Angeles Law Enforcement Code of Ethics was passed by and amended on August 23, 1979, according to the laws of Los Angeles which is to mean it was by Council Resolution. Los Angeles Police Division (LAPD) officers swear an oath to serve humanity- this is a standard feature of all Law Enforcement Code of Ethics in all the 50 states. Stellar service is something every officer worth his badge strives to give to the general public. In apprehending criminals, the police officer is doing a service to society- removing the heavy elements and offering a chance at rehabilitating their wayward ways through the Justice system. This aspect of serving humankind hence is a show of equal treatment, fairness, and justice.

Serving humanity acknowledges one thing- we are all equal no matter the differences in gender, race, creed and religious and countless other factors. Mankind is bigger than all of us- the word "mankind" alludes to not only the people of Los Angeles living now but also those that lived before and those that will come to live in future. The service to mankind shows how much a law enforcement officer must dedicate oneself to putting the needs of others before themselves. It encourages selflessness, and that is why bravery is highly encouraged. Every year in Los Angeles there is an annual event where police officers are honored for bravery. The highest honorary attainable is The Medal of Valor. Police officers every year are praised for their courage and altruism in their public endeavors. Be it apprehending house robbers, diffusing a hostage situation and apprehending the perpetrators or catching wanted criminals; officers are honored through different awards. They serve to encourage selflessness and a commitment to the code of conduct and ethics.

While courage is encouraged, understandably so, self-restraint is a quality which has been given equal importance as from September 2016 (Bradford, 2016). 25 police officers were given the "Preservation of Life" Award for using restraint in arrests even in the face of possible danger. Critics were adamant that although restraint is an essential value for a police officer is it more important than consideration for the officer's safety? The debate rages on a year later after the Preservation of Life honorary was approved by the State of Loss Angeles and now two groups of police officers have been recognized nonetheless.

Excessive force is something we see in the news more times than we should. Police officers are trained and allowed to use force proportional to the resistance offered by the apprehended. As such, when officers use too much power and end up injuring or worse- killing people- there is usually a public outcry. The LAPD Preservation of Life Award is a step in the right direction. It serves to encourage police officers to be considerate and firm in making arrests. It does not mean that for restraint to be enforced the officer has to put his life in some danger. Far from it, common sense and ethics encourage the officer to respond accordingly.

The police badge is a sign which is mentioned in the Los Angeles Law Enforcement Code of Ethics. The badge serves to remind the police officer who his employers are- the ordinary citizens who make up the public. The badge and the police identity card serve as an assurance to the public. For example, when a road accident occurs and there is chaos and a sense of confusion, police officers on site are mandated to restore order. The first thing they do is capture the public attention, and that is done by the officer brandishing his or her badge. The badge assures the public that the officer knows what he is doing and that they are in safe hands. The badge gives the police officer the mandated authority. Many officers who have been honored had admitted that they were scared when they were in their course of duty but serving the public necessitates upholding the badge.

The Code of Ethics is very important towards a harmonious working of any police district and Los Angeles Law Enforcement Code of Ethics is no different. Selflessness and restraint are two values which are encouraged in the code of ethics. The Code of Ethics serves as a constant daily reminder to all police officers that they are expected to act accordingly.

ReferencesBradford, B., Loader, I., Jauregui, B., & Steinberg, J. (Eds.). (2016). The SAGE Handbook of Global Policing. Sage.

McCartney, S. (2015). Ethics in Law Enforcement. BCcampus Open Textbooks.

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