Administration of justice can hardly achieve the intended goals without adherence to ethical standards governing stakeholders’ tasks. It is in this regard that concurrent sections of this report shall highlight on some vital ethical standards that can be applied in a law enforcement environment. The analysis is divided into two sections. The first part shall list the ethical standards expected of law enforcement experts. The second section shall compare the listed ethical standard with the ones practiced by the profession. Several aspects of this comparison would be addressed in smaller subsections.
Code of Ethics in Law Enforcement Code of Ethics
- Follow rules and regulations in the field
- Confidentiality on information or gadgets used in work processes
- Ensure application of best practices in running operations
- Present results of investigations as they appear without alteration or exaggeration
- Inform the court and legal parties in implications of findings and what it means to procession
- Cultivate public trust through adherence to professionalism
- Make notes immediately for accuracy purposes
Comparison with Code of Conduct in the Profession
This section shall compare the above code of ethics with the one currently practiced by the profession. Similarities and differences would be investigated and presented herein. First, owing to fact that both sets of codes of ethics are applied in the same field, there exists not much difference. Both of them address the most pressing issues in the field. In addition, being practiced by the same individual means that having too much difference would lead to being confused and thus lead to inefficiencies in achieving the desired goals. While drafting a personal code of ethics, it was seen necessary to be consistent with what is expected of officials in the law enforcement field. In addition, the current professional code of ethics in the law enforcement subfield is regarded as very effective, which reduces the need of undertaking drastic changes.
However, the personal one has been condensed, the sole purpose being to make it easy to follow. Having a shorter code of ethics is vital because the person practicing can easily remember; there would be no need to have posters or reminders in various places (Fitzpatrick, 2007, p. 20). In this regard, it will be possible to keep the code in mind at all times. This will especially become handy when undertaking daily activities. It shall be possible to ask yourself which codes apply on specific occasions. Again, there will be no need to refer to some written manual, all shall be done from memory. The concise code of ethics also makes it easier to influence the rest of the team to follow its applications. This could even be done as law enforcement officials go ahead with their daily activities. As a result, the rest of the team shall understand and meditate on the codes easily. The teammates shall also understand the codes easily and ask for clarifications that would be easily provided. The easier understanding will be followed by the teammates embarking on teaching the rest of the workgroups about the personal code of ethics.
Comparison with Unwritten Codes
Given that the above codes are generated by the individual to be involved in practicing them, significant potions of the unwritten codes have been included herein. First is the issue of professionalism. This is something often ignored when developing a code of conduct. Most organizations assume that by employing qualified personnel to perform specific tasks, all manners of professionalism would be put in place. But they forget that individuals employed need to be reminded that professionalism is part of expectations placed upon them by the management. It is in this regard that professionalism was integrated into the personal code of conduct.
Another unwritten code of conduct included above is that of adhering to authority commands. This comes from fact that the authority in the field happens to be more experienced in specific areas, which means they are better placed to offer advice. Adhering to authority’s instructions is therefore taken as important and therefore included in the code. Other than following the provided instructions, the code also includes the need to ask for advice from the management in a matter about the profession. This would help in professional development as more experience is gained. Practicing the code would also help in developing the much-needed teamwork skills that are vital in the law enforcement field. The third unwritten but included conduct is that of considering stakeholders while undertaking law enforcement activities. It has become a common phenomenon for law enforcement professionals to undertake investigations and consequently present results in technical matters without considering important stakeholders (Doyle, 2002, p. 55). The above personal code of conduct provides for the recognition of other stakeholders such as the jury and participants in legal cases. This is especially done by ensuring that reporting is done in a manner easily understandable to all parties. This shall result in these individuals asking the necessary questions regarding specifics in the report. enabling all participants to understand what is contained in the report will help reach judgments that will provide justice to the parties and the society in general.
Dilemmas to be Solved
The dilemma of lack of adequate information will easily be resolved through the practice of the listed code of conduct. This shall be done by the way of taking note of all the procedures and results during the investigation process. This will provide ways of dealing with the challenge of guessing the procedures that must have been followed to achieve certain results. By taking notes of all the processes being undertaken, it shall be possible for the law enforcement teams involved to look for several leads in the cases. In addition, it shall be easier to involve outside help when it comes to requesting advice. Indeed, the authority providing advice will easily understand the progress of investigations and therefore come up with the best ideas on the issue being addressed. This code will also help in the process of learning more about the field. Indeed, taking notes repeatedly and commenting on them would help in the process of expanding thoughts on the law enforcement field (Pollock, 2004, p. 108).
Getting into the habit of following instructions given by authorities would help in gaining a better understanding of how they want law enforcement activities undertaken. Having such an understanding would help in working by the expectations. This shall especially be important when authority would be the one making a presentation regarding the findings because they would have a better understanding of the way investigations are going and even the results. In addition, the management would be in a position to understand the strengths and weaknesses of one of their juniors and consequently embark on providing the necessary advice.
Applying the best practices in the field shall help in understanding trends in the industry and thus increase knowledge that is important in career advancement. This would be done through reading literature touching on law enforcement, participating in conferences, and making contributions to the study regarding the field. By taking these measures, it shall be possible to be on the route of becoming an effective law enforcement expert. This shall not only benefit the department but also people who would be provided by the accruing law enforcement services. Undertaking these measures (employing best practices in the field and making a contribution) will also have a positive effect on the entire team because they would want the top to learn. By helping teammates undertake similar measures, the entire department would benefit from the accruing efficiency. Stakeholders being served by the department would also benefit from high-quality investigations that would lead to improved justice administration.
Ethical Framework Used
The ethical framework used in the development of the listed code of ethics focuses on the accruing common good of the profession and stakeholders being used. This framework helps in looking at the big picture, which includes the individual to be practicing the codes, teammates in the law enforcement department, respective organizations, judicial systems, and the rest of the stakeholders to be served. Having all these people in mind helped come up with a code of conduct that would benefit all in the long run. By considering the pain that victims could be going through in their process of looking for justice, it was possible to include codes to ensure that justice would be reached. This is well captured in the process of code of reporting what is contained in the report without any exaggeration or commission. As a result the ethical issue of tampering with the results.
Through this framework, justice shall be the focus of all the investigations. Concentrating on finding the truth will also help the jury in charging the accused with crimes they committed rather than what some other preliminary investigation could have found. In this regard, the law enforcement team will slowly become a tower of justice in criminal investigations. This ethical framework would also help in the process of helping newer members of the labor force to become ethical. This will therefore become one of the most efficient ways of teaching newer employees on ways and means of following best practices in the field. This ethical framework of being concerned with all parties in the field shall help in the process of understanding the views of the rest of the stakeholders. This shall be achieved through regular interactions with people stakeholders who have been served by the system. Having experienced the quality of the work done by the law enforcement department would lead to candid answers, which would be used in decision-making and quality improvement processes.
Personal Code and Career’s Ethical Standards
The personal code of ethics listed above meets the ethical standards of a law enforcement career. Ethical demands shouldered on law enforcement officials are well covered in the personal ethics code. Among them is the confidentiality of information that law enforcement officials deal with on daily basis. Having a code of ethics addressing this matter is of great importance in performing tasks in the field. By respecting information confidentiality, it shall be possible to cultivate the confidence of the public as well as authorities in the employing organization. The confidence to be gained from the public will not come to the individual alone but the department and the entire organization. This shall be the beginning of a positive contribution to the relationship between the two parties. The other similarity rises from the application of best practices in the field. Therefore preparing a code of ethics including the application of best practices would help in getting ready for the expectations of the employing organization. However, the personal code of conduct focuses more on matters that seem to have been ignored by the profession, a good example being considering the wider stakeholder group in undertaking investigations. In this regard, the personal code serves as an addition to the professional ones. Both codes are will therefore serve the best interest of the individual, profession, and stakeholders, the reason being that they would be strong complementaries and not supplementary (Butcher, 2000, p. 114).
Comparing the personal code of ethics with the professional one leaves a clear picture that both could be used together to enrich quality of work being done and the experience of serving in law enforcements. Preparing the personal code was provided educational moments in matters pertaining to what the profession sees as most important, what it ignores, and finally what should be added or subtracted from the existing professional codes. This approach helped to developed a personal code of ethics that encompasses on interest of various stakeholder group, ranging from the individual, law enforcement department, employing organization, justice system, as well as victims and the accused. The application of the code will therefore succeed in benefiting the larger society.
Incorporating Personal Beliefs
My personal beliefs will be part and parcel of my work experience. Practicing them at work will help develop good relationship with co-workers, especially law enforcement team. The belief on humility would help in understanding my colleagues better and approaching them in respectful manner. In this regard, they will also respond positively. The end result would be the development of a work place with respectful people. Stakeholders to be served will therefore end up being satisfied with services, resulting to goodwill to the law enforcement department and the organization in general. As a goal oriented person, I will enable my teammates to meet both short and long term obligations, and thus lead to greater productivity in the department and the entire organization.
Doyle, F. (2002). Accomplishing Empowerment in Policing. Justice Ethics. 11: 52-7.
Butcher, R. and Evans, D. (2000). Ethical Reasoning in Police Force. Boston: Sage.
Fitzpatrick, C. (2007). Customized Code of Ethics. FBI Bulletin. 61: 20-21.
Pollock, J. (2004). Ethics in Criminal & Justice. Belmont: Thomson & Wadsworth.