Every criminal justice profession and association
has "codes" of ethics, "canons" of professional responsibility,
"statements" of values, "principles" of conduct, "standards" of
practice, and "oaths" of office, along with "pledges", "vows",
"maxims", "credos", "prayers", "tenets", and "declarations".
Some are directed to God; others to superiors or the profession; and
still others to society as a whole. They all make promises
that people commit to keeping as a standard of performance.
code of ethics if it is to be used for occupational purposes, must set
a standard above ordinary morality. Otherwise there's no need for a
code of ethics at all. This is especially relevant to police
work where it's going to take more than just a commitment to being an
ordinary, decent human being.
VISION OF ETHICAL POLICING
The ethically ideal police system would be one with integrity and
nothing puzzling about it (i.e., there would be no corruption nor
misconduct). There would be no us-against-them and no
disrespect for the limits of the law or how it's enforced.
Everything done in private would be just as if it was done in public. Mistakes would be treated as learning opportunities but
there would be less of them because of widespread adherence to the
values of probity, propriety, restraint, reasonableness, and caution.
Recruitment, selection, and training mechanisms would be flawless, with
promotion on the basis of merit, no one being without ample
supervision and the organization giving its personnel whatever
resources they need to perform their work better. There would
be "open door" policies to the public, academics and the
media. Nothing the police do or how they do it would come as
a surprise to anyone.
commitment to a code of ethics is unconditional. You don't
lower your ideals (or revise your mission statement) just because
circumstances in the environment have changed. The true test
of character is keeping your faith in the face of adversity.
POLICE CODE OF ETHICS
There are few professions
that demand so much moral fiber as policing. Police stand in "harm's
way" not so much against enemies with bullets but against enemies
skilled in every form of trickery, deceit, feigned ignorance, and
deception. That's why the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics
published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, stands
as a spirited reminder to the higher order of this calling:
As a Law Enforcement Officer my fundamental duty is to serve mankind;
to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against
deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the
peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the
Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice.
* I will keep my private life
unsullied as an example to all; maintain courageous calm in the face of
danger, scorn, or ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly
mindful of the welfare or others. Honest in thought and deed in both my
personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the laws of
the land and the regulations of my department.
* Whatever I see or hear of a
confidential nature or that is confided to me in my official capacity
will be kept ever secret unless revelation is necessary in the
performance of my duty.
* I will never act officiously or permit
personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence
my decisions. With no compromise for crime and with relentless
prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the law courteously and
appropriately without fear or favor, malice or ill will, never
employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities.
* I recognize the badge of my
office as a symbol of public faith and I accept it as a public trust
to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the police
service. I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives
and ideals, dedicating myself before God to my chosen profession...law