One cannot separate police corruption from police abuse of force. Whenever an officer uses force, that officer needs to be able to justify the use of force. Law enforcement ethics go far beyond an officer choice to accept a cup of coffee, or a free car wash. The fact remains that whenever an officer lowers the ethical, and morals standards it affects every area of police operations and adversely affects the ability of law enforcement agencies to perform the mission that the community has entrusted them to do. When police misuse their power, and authority it lowers the department’s professional competence; and at worse it spreads corruption through the department. Tract:
The job of a law enforcement officer can be tough. Law enforcement officer are sometimes plagued with situation that test their ability to enforce the law and maintain order. Law enforcement officers today face a constant battle to establish and maintain higher ethical standards for police personnel. This mission becomes tougher each day when one considers the importance of fighting terrorism, drugs, human trafficking, and many other major issues. In the last few years, ethical issues in law enforcement have been affected by three critical factors-the growing level of temptation stemming from the illicit drug trade, the challenges posed by decentralization, and the potentially compromising nature of the police organizational culture. These factors make managing for ethics today far more different and demanding than it was in the past. How can law enforcement fight the war on crime and maintain personal liberties? One can examine the social stigmas and stereotypes that either further or reduce police corruption to help develop a better understanding of police corruption. Finally what is the solution to effectively control police corruption, enforce proper ethics, and ensure law and order?
Terrorism is a new issue for law enforcement personnel today. Terrorism has had a great impact on the police mission here in the United States. Experts now are debating the proper way to address terrorism in America without creating ethical dilemmas. Can federal law enforcement hold all suspected terrorist within the United States in jail until they are cleared? Not legally. Would it be ethically okay to arrested terrorist, and allow them to be tried within the United States without legal counsel? No. Can the federal Government issue wire tapes on citizen’s phones without creditable evidence. No. What is the correct way to handle the issues on terrorism? The Police Executive Research Forum has outlined key ways to handle the war on terrorism. First, in order to prevent terrorist acts on U.S. soil the public must understand that Federal Law enforcement cannot do it alone. State, and Local law enforcement along with the general public must work together to gather intelligence on suspected terrorist. Local Law enforcement can use the community policing method to establish citizen engagement, partnership, trust, information sharing, and collaborative problem solving. With a relationship developed with the community, police can better identify potential suspects, and become proactive in the war on terrorism. Law enforcement can ethically address the war on terrorism. The problem is that social stigmas can play a key role in either furthering police corruption or reducing it.
Social stigmas impact the way police perform because police sometimes use social stigmas to be proactive rather than being reactive to crime. For example, an officer may approach a young man walking around a suburban community with his hat turned to one side, and his pants below his knees. The office may see the social stigma of a “thug”, someone who is considered to be up to no good. When police use social stigmas in this way, the community will view it as good police work. However the use of social stigmas can also bring on police corruption. Some officer may violate human rights, with racial profiling, or just mistreating someone because of their outer characteristic. For example, whenever an officer sees someone with big rims and loud music he assumes they sell drugs. So the officer pulls the young man over and treats him like he is a criminal. First the officer ask for identification, then removes the young man from the car and performs an illegal search of the car and finds drugs. Now the officer will be forced to falsify reports, which is a form of police corruption. Social stigmas are no better than stereotypes; one person may fit the stereotype or social stigma, but one should never conclude that a stereotype or social stigma applies to everyone. When officer begin to apply a social stigma to everyone, they can easily fall into police corruption. With that being said, citizens should not apply social stigmas to all police officer. One can conclude that some police officers are involved in police corruption but not all. The ethical issues seen in police corruption can also be seen in police abuse of force.
One cannot separate police corruption from police abuse of force. Whenever an officer uses force, that officer needs to be able to justify the use of force. Law enforcement ethics go far beyond an officer choice to accept a cup of coffee, or a free car wash. The fact remains that whenever an officer lowers the ethical, and morals standards it affects every area of police operations and adversely affects the ability of law enforcement agencies to perform the mission that the community has entrusted them to do. When police misuse their power, and authority it lowers the department’s professional competence; and at worse it spreads corruption through the department. Although only a few officers may be involved in an act or corruption or abuse of force; the community will perceive all members of that department as incompetent, corrupt, or brutal. It is important to know that a few incidents of corrupt or brutal police behavior can overshadow or even negate years of efficient and honest police service, and cause long-term damage to an agency’s reputation. Illegal and unethical acts by police officers, create community increased antagonism toward what appears to be an unappreciative or even hostile public, less citizen cooperation, more friction in police-citizen interactions, more invitations to corruption, and more confrontations that may lead to the use of excessive force. It is a classic vicious cycle, with worsening community relations, an increase in hostility between police and citizenry, and a concomitant growth of public contempt for the police all generating a downward spiral that far too often ends in tragedy.
Many ethical factors that are behind police corruption can be found in police abuse of powers, and excessive force. Police corruption is sometimes motivated by an officer’s desires for money, respect, and power. Likewise, the use of excessive force can be used to ensure and officer receives money, maintains power, and respect from the community. Many officers who are involved in corrupt activities will often use force to maintain and protect their corrupt activities from reaching the public or media. In addition to that, officers who are under a lot of stress can fall into corruption, and are more likely to use excessive force. When police use excessive force, or fall into police corruptions it only hinders the overall mission or law enforcement.
The only way to prevent corruption and police abuse is to train officer in ethical standards to strengthen the foundation of police ethics. To strengthen ethical standards officers need to be trained in the correct ways to change moral standards of contemporary society. The world today has lowered the moral and ethical standards of citizens, and police alike. The lack of moral standards, has allowed the community, and law enforcement to take justice in their own hands. Secondly, police need to know and respect the organizational expectations of the police. Society has certain perceptions, images, and expectations of the police. Some of the expectations that the community have of police may not be accurate or realistic. Misinformed or conflicting perceptions of the proper role of the police and conflicting expectations about what is or should be expected from the police often contribute to an environment of confusing built on mixed or even conflicting goals and objectives. As a result, the working environment of police, their morals, and their susceptibility to corruption and brutality are closely watched by the public and the media. With this in mind, police can better handle situation that propose ethical dilemmas. For example, officer now know that the community expects police to be corrupt, and to abuse their powers, so if a officer does the complete opposite, he or she can help raise the standard, and avoid some of those ethical factors that are behind police corruption, and police abuse of powers, and excessive force .
Formal training programs can help to ensure that officers understand their department’s code of ethics and related expectations Elevate the importance of ethics throughout an agency Underscore top management’s support, and Provide specific assistance in areas directly related to ethical behavior (e.g., stress management, use of force, violence reduction, and behavioral science classes). Although more study is need- ed in this area, some empirical evidence supports the contention that formal ethics training fosters improved ethical behavior. One recent study found that officers specifically trained in anger management had fewer incidents of excessive force in making arrests. A distinct but related topic is whether higher education promotes ethical behavior. Clearly, advanced formal education enhances the maturity and professionalism of police officers. The question is whether those positive attributes spill over into the ethical arena.Some research suggests a positive relationship. Advanced formal education appears to reinforce previously established ethical values in individuals. At the organizational level, one study identified a commitment to learning as one of the three most prominent characteristics common to highly ethical organizations.
In conclusion, police corruption anywhere, hurts police everywhere. Police are held to a higher standard by the citizens, and the media. Police officers need to be aware of the social stigmas working against them. Law enforcement Officer need to be trained, and educated on how to hand ethical situation. If the law enforcement community seeks to change the image of police in American they must first become aware the ethical problems and avoid them. Secondly, Police with the help of education one maybe able to avoid the use of excessive force, and corruption. Lastly, law enforcement must correct, their attitude toward those who may fit a certain social stigma.