Ethical dilemma facing the profession of law enforcement
The practice of all the ethical behavior is widely known to defy the universally accepted standards. The ethical dilemmas for the professionals in law enforcement are gathered from books, journal articles and newspapers. The issues include gratuities, bribery, loyalty, whistle-blowing and corruption, use of deception, sex on duty, undercover tactics, brutality, deadly force, discretion and other misconduct (Pollack 1994). The ethical dilemma is defined as the situations in which the individuals do not know the correct course of action, in other cases they have the difficulty doing what they deem to be right and also when they find the wrong choice to be very tempting (Pollack 1994).
An example of these dilemmas that the police may be in is a dire circumstance in the real world and is an example of discretion. One day a gas station attendant calls upon the police claiming that he was being disturbed at his place of work which is the gas station. He claims that a neighborhood youth had been begging his patrons for money and forcefully washing their windows without even requesting from the owner and therefore without permission from the owners. This youthful neighbor lives with his grandmother and they never have enough to make their ends meet. The gas station attendant wants the youth arrested because he claims that he harasses his customers. In such a situation, the offender is usually driven by only dire circumstances; the grandmother to this youth is extremely poor and any money that the youth collects is always given to her. The police officer in this case is put in a struggle between enforcing the law and reacting with compassion (Jocelyn 2010).
Another example of the ethical dilemmas that is faced by the police officers is when a fellow officer is caught in wrongdoing. An officer who is working at a side job at a neighborhood nightclub on a certain day observes some disturbance from the far side of this bar. He responds very quickly to the situation and discovers that the troublemaker is an intoxicated off-duty officer and he does not follow any instructions that are given to him. The other party claims that the so-called officer had assaulted him but this complainant has no idea that the assailant is an officer in the police department. The discretionary dilemma here arises because of the professional or even personal; relationship between the subject and the police officer (Jeffrey 2010).
In these two dilemmas it is always good for the officer to ask himself what the law requires, what departmental policy requires and what the personal ethics requires. The other solutions may be in the specific ethical framework such as ethics of care, utilitarianism and ethical formalism. There is also insisting on that ethical system should not be confused with moral decisions. An ethical philosophy should be shaped by the way the officers deal with ambiguity, confusion, and compromise which insinuates themselves into the decisions and behavior that confronts the officers in their day to day operations (David 2000). When time is a constraint, the officer should always seek all possible temporary solutions (David 2000).
However, various attempts have been made in order to decrease the misconducts of the police and also to improve their performance in these regions of ethical decision-making. The police are instructed in regard to ethics at their in-service training sessions and training academies. They are taught using other examples that were done by fellow officers (John 2010). The possible consequences for behaving unethically in the profession of law enforcement are possibility of administrative action and alienation from the other officers (John 2010).