Police and Gratuities: The Slippery Slope

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Gratuity Something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service. (Dictionary, 2010) When does a cup of coffee become a gratuity for a police officer? What is acceptable and what is not acceptable? If a police officer takes a free cup of coffee or a half priced meal does that make him vulnerable to take more. Does that act make the officer a bad officer or a corrupt officer? Does the person giving the gratuity expect something in return or is it just a gesture for the work the officer is doing? Almost every police department has a policy on the acceptance of gifts and gratuities for the officers and the department. Some police departments allow no gifts or gratuities and some may have a policy that states as long as one person is not the recipient and it is available to the whole department then it is acceptable. How does a police department come up with a policy the does not create animosity toward the department from the public that wants to give to them for the services that they provide with no strings attached. You have some business that want to give money to a police department that needs to buy equipment for the officer on the street. Do you tell the business person that you can’t accept the money and that the officer will have to do the best that they can. No, I think when it comes to a safety issue and the gift is not for just one person the department will come out in the good end. Agencies can develop a gratuity policy by seeking the help of many officers and local business owners and by reviewing established policies in other jurisdictions. Such a policy should tie directly with modern law enforcement's strict code of ethics regarding financial gains or rewards. (Sewell, 2007) The slippery... ... middle of paper ... ...cal issue? The caliber of officers that are coming out of the police academies these days are top notch and most police departments have the safe guards in place to keep officers from sliding down the slippery slope that would damage the confidence that the public has in the department. In the end gratuities, gifts and corruption will be a part of the police world as it has been from the beginning of the police community. It is incumbent upon the officers and the administration to keep the checks and balances in place so as not to damage the imagine of the police department and the city. Works Cited Dictionary, M.-W. O. (2010, June 16). Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Kleinig, J. (1996). The Ethics of Policing . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, ). Sewell, C. (2007, Apri). Gratuities. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 76(4) , pp. 8-12.
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