Analyzing Unethical Behavior
In the context of ethical practices required by the various criminal investigations department, the officers are usually required to carry out their duties with utmost integrity while strictly adhering to the standards set out by the constitution (Kelling, Wasserman, & Williams, 1988). To uphold dignity in the activities conducted by the police department, they are required to act in a manner that would not only benefit the public whom they protect but also by the law stipulated in the constitution. Being ethical to the criminal investigation department of the city of Kansas entails acting in the capacity authorized by law and taking keen concern on your conduct while making sure that you do not infringe the rights and freedom of those whom you protect (Grant, 2003). Unethical behaviors have been postulated in the cases presented. For example, the case where three police officers (Billings, Bell, and Forrest) conspired to steal items like play station, camcorder among others while carrying out their search warrant.
As required by law, they have been charged with the mandate of conducting the searches and seizure as when required by their department. In this prospect, they went ahead and took advantage of the power and authority to steal from those whom they ransacked. According to the law enforced by the constitution, this was a gross misconduct which leads to unethical behavior. The law requires any police officer to act with due diligence and make sure that they uphold and follow the law to the letter (Kelling, Wasserman, & Williams, 1988). In the professionalism of the police department, being unethical culminates into high reputational damage to this critical professional practice. As such, it is not expected of the police force authorities to act in an unethical way. The moment unethical behaviors start cropping up, the general public whom they protect will no longer have any trust in them. The three officers, who abused the authority stipulated to them by the law, therefore, did not only ruin their career but also damaged the reputation of the department in which they emanated (Richards, 2010).
Some of the very pertinent factors that may have influenced the officers into indulging in such unethical behaviors is the level of income that they earn from their profession. The fact that these police officers earned less could have prompted them to loot their victims to help improve their economic status. Furthermore, the kind of management structure instituted by the police department could have some flaws that would let the cops involved in malicious activities get away with it (Moore, & Trojanowicz, 1989). On another retrospective thought, it could be that the recruitment system of the police department is relatively weak and less formidable to identify competent individuals who would carry out their duties with due diligence, honesty and high level of integrity (Kelling, Wasserman, & Williams, 1988). With this notion in mind, it is important to give much attention to the recruitment process to ensure that people of high integrity are employed. The disastrous effect that these unethical acts have in the inductees’ personal life is the loss of career and everlasting shame to not only the public but to the police department who laid so much trust in them (Richards, 2010).
Leadership plays an appropriate role in either promotion or degeneration of such unethical behavior. In the court case involving the three police officers who stole in the course of their search, one of the defendants articulated that he was following what others were doing. This notion means that the leadership did not take keen concern on the various issues that were happening in the department (Moore, & Trojanowicz, 1989). The direction in this department failed to mitigate the misconduct that was being perpetrated by the staff members. The main reason why the system failed was that there was no structure to handle the searches properly. There was no feedback or the anonymous caller system which would help in the whistle-blowing off any dangerous activities which were deemed illegal (Kelling, 1988). From the case, it came out clearly that the heads of departments also knew about such acts but did not take any keen concern since they also benefited from the same. In any organizational system, for there to be high performance, there is need for transparency and diligence in the carrying out of any duty, but this virtue was lacking in this department. Hence, the poor leadership led to this unethical act (Richards, 2010).
In operating with high ethical standards, I would first warn these fellow officers on the dangers they are putting themselves and the department. If they carry on with the heinous act, I would not hesitate but report immediately to the head of the department who will eventually take legal action against them. I believe that we as the police professionals, we are the first people who should strictly adhere to the law since we enforce the it (Moore, & Trojanowicz, 1989). Our reputation is highly pegged on our behavioral conduct. Acting according to the confines of the law is inevitable. If the top leadership also indulges in such activities, then I risk being sacked from my job.
In summary, ethical behavior plays a very critical role in the management of a police unit and also the career of many professionals in this field. It is through ethical behavior that the reputation of the police department is earned (Moore, & Trojanowicz, 1989). Unethical behavior is brought about by the inadequacy in the income and poor leadership in the police department. Those, who indulge in unethical behaviors, not only risk losing their career but damaging the reputation of the whole police department.
Grant, J. (2003). Assault under Color of Authority: Police Corruption as Norm in the LAPD Rampart Scandal and in Popular Film** For help with comments, research and proofreading, thanks to: Michael Asimow, Marla Brettschneider, Fran Buntman, Susan Burgess, Howard Gillman, Milton Heumann, Mark Kann, Jinee Lokaneeta, Michael Tedesco, Jason Whitehead, two anonymous reviewers at the journal New Political Science and the members of the Law and Popular Culture Symposium held at UCLA in Los Angeles, CA in 2001.
Kelling, G. L. (1988). Police and communities: The quiet revolution (Vol. 1). Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.
Kelling, G. L., Wasserman, R., & Williams, H. (1988). Police accountability and community policing (Vol. 7). Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.
Moore, M. H., & Trojanowicz, R. C. (1989). Corporate strategies for policing. US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
Richards, M. V. (2010). Towards a national gang strategy: A meta-policy analysis of leadership, learning, and organizational change within the law enforcement context. ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, PO Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106.