The Importance Of Discretion In Law Enforcement

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When it comes to the subject of ethics, if one does not have a strong moral and ethical character before entering law enforcement, it is a subject that can rapidly become a gray area as their career continues. The importance of reinforcing ethical training and its prominence in the daily lives of an officer goes unattended and forgotten. One of the commonly misused acts of authority is discretion. One may think they are doing the right thing, and that may even be the case, but if it does not coincide with department regulations, then the officer could unknowingly be breaking the law. Discretion is not only about helping a civilian out in a way that seems best for them; it is the way that the officer can best serve the civilian according to…show more content…
Integrity is the “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty” (dictionary.com 2018). Ethical training and integrity go hand in hand.
When law enforcement dons their badge, swears to uphold the law and protect the people, they are held to a higher standard than the rest of the population. This stands to reason since they are the representation of the law, they live it, understand it and carry it out in their daily lives. Thus when an officer acts unethically, there is a certain level of mistrust between the civilians and the department. Often, instead of seeing a lone officer, or a handful of officers behaving in such a way, the department is seen as a whole in conducting the behavior. This is one of the reasons why consistent training in ethics is invaluable. It should not be done only in preparation but should be reinforced throughout an officer’s career regardless of rank or duty station. “Ethics is not limited to the acts of a single person. Ethics is also interested in the correct practices of governments, corporations, professionals and many other groups” (Ward 2018) The Shared Responsibility training technique is described as the “next step in
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An integrity test can happen at random to any officer of any rank to see where they will take a situation. They are usually placed in a position where they can be tempted to make wrong decisions but always has the opportunity to make the right one. There has been much discrepancy over integrity testing in the past with officers stating that it is a waste of time, resources and an infringement on privacy and personal legal rights. With the amount of corruption and unethical behaviors that is being widespread through law enforcement, the time and effort put into integrity testing is not a waste. It is ensuring that those who are upholding the law are remaining true to the oaths they swore to uphold. It is ensuring that the officers that we look up to protect the community and embody the law, are still the best of the best. Body cameras are a constant way to ensure that officers are acting accordingly. It does not only document video but sound as well to where the evidence is solid enough to indict or set free an officer. It can also show the discretionary actions of the officer and if they are according to department guidelines or if the officer abused the power of discretion. There are countless accusations of police brutality, some of them authentic while others are not. Body cameras record the happenings of a situation and reveal the truth. In

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