Example Of Creating And Implementing An Ethics Policy Essay
Law enforcement agents, specifically police officers, are often forced to make critical decisions in the course of performing their day to day duties. Law enforcement is a job that comes with a lot of pressure and where members are supposed to maintain a high level of professionalism. To maintain professionalism and to make good decisions in the face of everyday pressure, it is crucial that police officers are adequately trained and prepared (Ortmeier & Meese, 2010). This can be done by the establishment of a code of ethics that is supposed to guide the actions of the police officers and that they can consult whenever they are unsure of how to act in a certain situation (Pollock, 2005). This will ensure that police officers behave ethically. Ethics is essentially a moral philosophy that separates what is right from what is wrong, what is just from what is unjust and finally what is good from what is evil (Ortmeier & Meese, 2010). Police officers are public servants and thus, they are held to a relatively high standard by the public and whenever they are deemed to behave unethically, it is viewed as a violation of the huge public trust placed in them (Pollock, 2005). In addition, unethical behavior by a police officer damages the image and the name of law enforcement.
As the head Lieutenant of the San Francisco Police Department 24th Precinct, I plan to establish an ethics policy that guides all the officers of this precinct in the course of serving the public and performing all their duties.
This ethics policy formulation will commence by drafting all the primary activities that police officers in the precinct are normally involved in. It will look at the incidences that officers from this precinct attend to as well as the different kinds of people that officers have to deal with in responding to various legal situations in the immediate society. This information will be gathered from police officers’ testimonies as well as official records and briefs of incidences that officers have traditionally attended to. Special attention will be given to contentious or ambiguous incidences or situations and those that have consistently generated controversies whether they are related to making arrests, questioning suspects and dealing with victims of crime. This information will act as the basis of the ethics policy formulation and will furnish the entire process with factual data from which clear ethical guidelines can be drawn. The public will also be involved and they will be questioned on some of the standout incidences involving police officers that they have encountered including how the officers have acted in such situations as well as their opinion on the actions of the said police officers.
After this has been done, the drafting of the ethics policy will commence. The policy will be drafted by senior officers in the precinct in association with independent ethics professionals commissioned from the national ethics board as well as independent ethics activists who will be selected by the precinct’s board. The other people who be included in the drafting will be police union reps who will be expected to represent the interest of the everyday police officers to ensure that the drafted policy does not infringe on the ability of the officers to perform their duties effectively. The assemblage of such an elite group of individuals will ensure that the drafting of the ethics policy is non-biased and is fully professional.
The process of formulating the ethics policy will be long and comprehensive. In addition, it will draw content from a variety of sources or references. As mentioned earlier, one of the primary references will be official incidence briefs, police testimonies, and the public’s opinions. This will determine the different facets of the ethics policy. The other reference will be the official code of conduct for police officers. There is no doubt that most of the material that will be included in the ethics policy for the precinct will be similar to that encompassed in the official police code of conduct. Thus, this will be a key reference that will provide enormous direction to the ethics policy formulation. A lot of concepts in the final ethics policy will be drawn from the official police code of conduct especially in regards to the way officers are supposed to conduct themselves in various situations in the course of their everyday duties.
The formulation of the ethical policy will be followed by the preliminary implementation procedures. This will include informing officers of an impending code of ethics or official ethics policy for the precinct. This information will be passed around the precinct through the word of mouth as well as through official communication channels including sending messages to officers’ personal email accounts. A notice will also be placed on the precinct’s official notice board.
This step will be followed by distribution of physical copies of the ethics policy to the police officers in the precinct. The officers will be given a period of two weeks to go through the official ethics policy.
After the end of the weeks, an official training seminar will be conducted at the precinct’s assembly hall. This seminar will assemble all the officers of the precinct and will be aimed at dissecting the content of the policy. Every concept of the policy will be examined comprehensively by the formulators as well as other invited experts.
Officers will then take an oath promising to abide by the new ethics policy instituted for the precinct. After this, the police officers will be expected to abide fully by the stipulations of this ethics policy in their actions. This will be especially so while in the field and while dealing with community members.
Whenever officers are confronted by an ambiguous situation and do not know how to act, they will be expected to consult the policy and use it appropriately. To ensure that officers abide by this policy, strict penalties will be instituted for any actions that are deemed to be contrary to the stipulations of the policy with the most severe one being termination of employment and possible prosecution. This will show the seriousness of the new policy to all police officers.
The evaluation of the success of the policy will be done by comparing official complaints about police behavior for the period after the implementation of the policy and the one preceding it. A reduction in such cases will signal the effectiveness of the policy.
In addition, interviews will also be conducted with members of the public regarding police behavior and increase in positive feedback about police behavior from the public will also be a signal of the effectiveness of the new ethical policy.
Ultimately, it is hoped that this ethical policy will bring about a revolution in police behavior and conduct and will enable police officers from this precinct to serve the public better.
Ortmeier, P. J., & Meese, E. (2010). Leadership, ethics, and policing: Challenges for the 21st century. Prentice Hall.
Pollock, J. M. (2005). Ethics and law enforcement. Critical issues in policing, Waveland Press, Long Grove, IL.