Law enforcement officers historically were paid poorly for the job they were tasked with. As a result, some officers took it upon themselves to engage in corrupt and unjust behaviors. One such officer that engaged in corrupt and unjust behavior was Officer Alexander “Clubber” Williams. Clubber Williams was an officer that made little money, but managed to own a home in the Cos Cob area of New York and owned a large boat. When asked how he obtained such property on such a minuscule salary, he indicated he had made sound real-estate decisions. Officers that worked for him testified that he obtained his money by using strong armed methods and taking bribes.
As law enforcement has moved towards a professional model where the position of police officer is viewed as a career, specialized training become necessary. Early on, training of police recruits are subjected to an intense degree of re-socialization (Conti & Nolan III, 2005). The changes in perspective, personality and identity that occur over the course of an academy class have been well documented (Conti & Nolan III, 2005). As these changes in perspective, personality, and identity occur, t...
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...s training be integrated into continued training and in-service training curriculums. Studies are suggesting that this is occurring and there is literature supporting the view that the law enforcement community perceives ethics training as a worthwhile endeavor that should be offered on a continuous basis to all ranks within the organization (Wyatt-Nichol & Franks, 2009).
While training in ethics is important to reduce department liability and aid officers in making decisions, this is not the only way to promote ethical decision making on the part of officers. Ethics training should be combined with a rigorous employment screening process that attempts to bring the best possible candidates into the profession. Utilization of both of these tools together increases the likelihood of good law enforcement candidates, and continues the movement towards professionalism.
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