Sample Essay on Ethics and Professional Behavior

Ethics and Professional Behavior


This paper will be premised on analyzing the correlation between ethics and professional behavior, particularly in the administration of criminal justice. An explanation regarding the role of critical thinking in the relationship of ethics and professional behavior will be given. In addition, this paper will give a proposal for a seminar in ethics training for law enforcement officers. Notably, the tenets of the seminar will be based on examining the five areas of ethical conduct that will be emphasized. Further, giving insight to why the areas were chosen and the expected benefits of the training for both officers and the community will constitute the scope of this paper.

Relationship Between Ethics and Professional Behavior

In this section, the relationship between ethics and professional behavior in the administration of criminal justice will be examined.  Ashworth (2013) elucidates that ethics and professional behavior form crucial components of administration of criminal justice. Based on their dispositions, ethics is concerned with moral judgments that are deemed moral when deciding between good or bad and right or wrong. Ethics acts as a road map for making right choices in situations where individuals are faced with a dilemma on moral issues. Administration of criminal justice faces wide ethical issues that should be dealt with in a professional manner. Consequently, the administrators of criminal justice are obliged to deliver moral judgments in a professional manner between right and wrong.

Inculcating ethics is a cornerstone to professional behavior. Administrators of criminal justice engaging in unethical acts display unprofessional behaviors and are a source of conflicts in administering criminal justice often resulting in unethical decisions (Pollock‐Byrne, 2011). As such, it is paramount that ethics and professional become a daily practice. In situations where the administrators of criminal justice engage unethical and unprofessional behavior, society loses faith in the system of administration of criminal justice. Consequently, ethics and professional behavior are intertwined.

Unethical practices breed unprofessional behavior resulting in a weak administration of criminal justice. Agents of administering moral judgments have a duty to embrace ethical principles and uphold professionalism in executing their tasks. Premised on the dispositions of Miller (2014), ethical principles should be manifested and demonstrated in behavior. Administrators of criminal justice should be motivated in making rational decisions regarding morally right issues. Consequently, it is paramount that administrators of criminal justice instil professionalism by learning the art concerning self-critique, engaging moral examination in order to be attuned to pervasive pitfalls that are attributed to moral judgment.

Ashworth (2013) opines that ethics and professional behavior are greatly interrelated and pertinent in ensuring that the representatives of the criminal justice system are obliged to act ethically and professionally in order to warrant that no harm is caused during the justice process. He further observes that in the event the professionals administering criminal justice do not engage ethical decision making, the verdict could see the wrong person being convicted or having guilty offender set free.

It is paramount to understand the delicate balance between ethics and professional behavior during the administration of criminal justice. Notably, it is important to get insight on the importance of the comprehension of engaging professionalism and ethics allowing administrators of criminal justice questioning and evaluating the assumptions during the criminal justice process.

Miller (2014) notes that demonstration of ethical and professional behavior is an important prerequisite in the administration of criminal justice, especially in the police. Law enforcers should embrace ethical decisions in order to deliver justice and create harmony in communities they serve.

Role of Critical Thinking

            In this section, the paper will examine the role of critical thinking with regard to the relationship of ethics and professional behavior. In ethics, critical thinking is viewed as an analysis and determination of the fact vs. fiction (Harfield, 2012). The tenets of critical thinking are premised on the identification of the unknown in addition to understanding moral issues. Embracing the path of a critical thinker, it is crucial to professionally develop a mental process of evaluating decision-making ingrained in ethical standards.

Professional behavior is built by the incorporation of critical thinking process into the mindset of professionals and enabling them to effectively execute decisions that are based on truthful and verified information rather than unknown and incomplete variables. Elimination of such variables enables the professionals to critically analyze information and discern the truth thus setting a road map to decisions based on such truth. Consequently, embracing a critical approach in order to get insight ethical issues is an important principle that professionals should engage in the executing criminal justice.

Further premised on the view of Ashworth (2013), morality and professional character should be intertwined with critical thinking as key components of ensuring that ethical decisions are embraced by professional law enforcers.

Proposal for a Seminar

This paper sought to include a proposal for a seminar in ethics training for law enforcement officers. Areas of ethical conduct stressed during the seminar will be highlighted. Ethics training is critical in encouraging law enforcement officers to develop competence in handling unethical behavior. As public servants, the law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard by the society. Any instance of unethical behavior is regarded as a violation of public trust and loss of the professional image.

Miller (2014) observes that there are numerous civil lawsuits that have brought forth against the law enforcers in the U.S., for instance, U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling in 1989 (Canton, Ohio v. Harris) clarifying that cities can be held liable if it is proved that there is demonstrated failure in providing professional duties consequently resulting in the violation of constitutional rights of citizens. Premised on this ruling, this study finds it fit to propose a seminar for the law enforcers with the bid to enlighten the professionals regarding embracing ethical practices.

This paper also proposes a seminar premised on Ashworth (2013) findings that many professionals and organizations that entail police forces in the law enforcement community view ethics training as a roadmap to bridging the gap between the written policies regarding law enforcement and the actual behavior by reinforcing the expected behavior. Subjecting law enforcement officers to ethical training exposes them to ethical dilemmas prior to meeting them in the field.

Areas of Ethical Conduct

This paper examines areas of ethical conduct that will be emphasized. They include will litigation, civil lawsuits, and case handling procedure as pertinent areas that the law enforcement officers should be sensitized. Exhibiting professional behavior and maintaining public perception and image are yet other areas of concern that should be stressed during the seminar.

Based on Pollock‐Byrne’s (2011) dispositions on the need assessment that was conducted by the independent consultant, providing ethics instruction to all law enforcement officers of all ranks is a critical topic to be discussed. This will be achieved by the incorporation of models of decision-making and critical thinking as crucial elements of embracing ethical conduct during execution of duties by the law enforcers.

Benefits of Training

This study establishes that there are benefits accrued to training both officers and the community on the need of embracing ethical conduct. Acquainting police officers on the inculcating integrity and ethics is important in policing and helping build trust in communities where such officers serve. Engaging ethical conduct boosts police relations with the community fosters communication and enhances shared responsibility between officers and the community in addressing crimes.

Ethical training highlights the significance of thinking before acting in addition to adding value to the officers and the involved community (Harfield, 2012). Notably, this paper establishes that ethical training fosters sensitivity regarding right or wrong and further gives insight on the right way to conducting oneself. The training will help the parties involved to define and be able to detect unethical behavior for effective deterrence.

Additionally, ethics study will boost the officers and the communities to develop decision-making models to help embrace ethical conduct by shaping the analytical skills during the administration of criminal justice. Regarded as risk management by Ashworth (2013), ethics training helps deter causing harm to other people as such training is a platform of the right decision.


This paper analyzed ethics and professional behavior correlation in the administration of criminal justice. The role of critical thinking in elucidating the relationship of ethics and professional behavior was highlighted. Further, this paper gave a proposal for a seminar in ethics training for law enforcement officers. Particularly, five areas of ethical conduct to be emphasized in the seminar were given. In addition, insight into the expected benefits of training for both officers and the community were examined.


Ashworth, A. (2013). Ethics and criminal justice. In R. Cranson (Ed.), Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility (pp. 144-173). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Harfield, C. (2012). Police informers and professional ethics. Criminal Justice Ethics, 31(2), 73-95.

Miller, S. (2014). Integrity systems and professional reporting in police organizations. Criminal Justice Ethics, 29(3), 241-257.

Pollock‐Byrne, J. M. (2011). Teaching criminal justice ethics. The Justice Professional, 3(2), 283-297.