Law Enforcement Officers-Written or Personal Code of Ethics
Criminal justice organizations need to establish a code of ethics as their guiding principles that are morally based and factually sound. The strict development of such a code must be manageable and enforceable. Manageable codes allow for everyone to understand, abide by, and police it as they go. Officers would be inclined to abide by and enforce the ones they see as important. And that is where the issue of a strict code of ethics is left to interpretation. If the chief is a straight and narrow leader and states everyone MUST abide strictly by the code and there is no room for deviation, then that department will fall and fail from its foundation. No one would take calculated risks because a calculated risk is removed from an officer’s ability within strict codes such as the ones discussed.
Hiring officers with a balanced and true moral compass is clearly the objective that departments and the leadership of today for success tomorrow are leaning towards. Working with psychiatrists, profile professionals, behavioral science doctors, health officials, extremely intrusive background checks, verified by polygraphs are some tools used to measure a moral compass. Finding people that can fit into that profile scrutiny is one of the most difficult parts of law enforcement. The ironic part is, departments tend to use officers as recruiters and background investigators instead of professional headhunters. That is part of the reason law enforcement has yet to evolve into a profession as Sir Robert Peele would have envisioned.
The organization that can have a code of ethics capable of being obtained by 100% of the officers and backed by the same will be the most efficient. As an efficient organization, officers would stop focusing on the petty problems and work with each other to maintain the utmost professional standards and image. Like most things, it is a balance. A code of ethics too loose where calculated risk is reduced to risk, and degraded farther to any and all risks is surely a disaster waiting to occur. So the department that can author a code of ethics that officers can abide by, work with and through, and lead by a chief that can manage situations is preferred. That style department would be a goal oriented high output agency with the highest respect for its citizens.
The CGPGMG Team and Chris Grollnek