Essay about Police Discretion and the Ethics of Accepting Gratuities

Essay about Police Discretion and the Ethics of Accepting Gratuities

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Police Discretion and the Ethics of Accepting Gratuities

Police officers are often confronted with the ethical dilemma of whether or not to accept gratuities. This dilemma is an aspect of police discretion and an example of the choices that officers are forced to make. Police officers have discretion when confronted with choices such as whether or not to charge an individual, how to handle certain situations, or whether to accept a gratuity. This purpose of this article is to inform readers that police discretion not only encompasses use of force, police profiling, or domestic violence responses, but that police officers also have discretionary choices when gratuities are offered to them. Should police officers accept a gratuity, or should they politely decline these offers? Based on a community policing style of policing, it is necessary to ensure that police officers do not accept gratuities because it is important that officers recognize everyone in the community, not just those who may offer gratuities. This is because accepting gratuities may lead to favoritism by the officer, it may have an unintended effect on the relationship between other members of the community, it may lead to corruption within the department, and overall treatment of officers to members of the community who do not offer gratuities.

Ethical decisions are involved with policing as officers often find themselves faced with ethical decisions when offered gratuities. Because of the risk officers take on a daily basis, it may seem ethical for them to accept gratuities offered. For example, officers may be offered free cups of coffee by store owners because the store owner is appreciates the officers service or he may want a ticket he receiv...

... middle of paper ...

...that have been mentioned throughout this article, it is therefore necessary that all police officers decline any and all types of gratuities.


Banks, Cyndi. 2004. Criminal Justice Ethics: Theory and Practice. Sage Publications.

Barker, Tom. 1996. Police Ethics: Crisis in Law Enforcement. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas.

Goodman, Debbie, J. 1998. Enforcing Ethics: A Scenario-Based Workbook For Police
And Corrections Recruits and Officers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Kleinig, John. 1996. The Ethics of Policing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ohlin, Lloyd & Remington, Frank. 1993. Discretion in Criminal Justice: The Tension
Between Individualization and Uniformity. Albany, NY: State University of New
York Press.

City of Flagstaff Police Department. Rules and Regulations and General Orders.

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