Criminal Justice Paper on Ethics and Organizational Strategies

Ethics and Organizational Strategies

Overview

Human factors such as dishonesty and lack of respect to individuals on the basis of race or gender can affect the performance of a police officer. In a case whereby an officer is found to behave in a way that is immoral and offensive, the police organization has the mandate to discipline or fire them (Bayley, n.d). However, this can be avoided by training officers to identify and address the broad ethical and moral issues that they face throughout their careers. The concepts of virtue, ethics, and morality are applied interchangeably during the police officers’ training program. Nonetheless, before coming up with the right program, it is crucial for the police department to take into consideration what is right or wrong. Taking police officers though an ethics lesson will enable them avoid vices associated with the profession, thus minimize penalties (Bayley, n.d).  An appropriate training program is one that is built on a strong foundation. This way the content, especially the key principles, can be correctly applied by the officers. Effective training programs aim to address the ethical issues faced by police officers in the course of duty.

Analyzing officer misconduct

The first step in the training program would involve analyzing the current levels of misconduct among officers. The main goal for the analysis is to identify the police officers who are a liability to themselves and the police. Additionally, the analysis can focus on risk indicators to identify officers who are likely to engage in unethical behaviors as a result to job related issues. The risk indicators may include the number of complaints against a police officer or suspected misconduct such as use of force or discrimination based on race, religion, color, or disability. A civilian review board can be instituted to investigate inmates’ complaints against officers they have come in contact with in the system. They can then investigate the complains made by inmates to gauge their authenticity. Additionally, the board can assess which of the complaints might result into criminal and civil cases and take the appropriate corrective measures such as sanctions or imprisonment if there is proof of officer misconduct (The United States Department of Justice, 2015). At the same time, the civilian review board can conduct investigations to ascertain whether there are factors that are related to the job that may cause a police officer to behave inappropriately. A poor work performance evaluation can also be conducted and used as a reference to determine the level of officer misconduct.

Training of the officers

The report presented by the civilian review board regarding the possible causes of officer misconduct can be used formulate the right techniques to train officers to make ethical decisions both on and off duty. The first technique that can be used is involving the department leaders to encourage and guide their juniors on the job requirements. The leaders can encourage ethical conduct by informing their juniors the importance of behaving ethically. Through this, they will be imparting the spirit of responsibility enabling the officers to make moral decisions while on duty and off duty (Brown & Daus, 2015). Secondly, the officers can be reminded of their duty, which is an important part of instilling ethical behavior. For instance, they can be reminded about the oath of office that they took regarding protecting, defending, and upholding the US constitution. The oath mentions issues such as honest, accountability, avoiding offensive behaviors, and obeying all the rules per the department rules.

The aim of reminding the officers regarding the oath of office is to enable them to understand the importance of acting honorably at all time while on and off duty. The training program should focus on regulating the officer’s emotions that contributes to them being rude, violent toward inmates or discriminative in nature. The last technique can involve taking the officers through unsupervised ethical class (York, 2015). Throughout the course, they will be taught the importance of upholding moral behaviors while on and off duty. At the same time, they will learn about the impacts of unethical behavior.

Implementation of Training Methods and Techniques

It is important to note that the training program is meant to meet the needs of the police organization thus the implementation process will be done mostly by various department leaders. An approval will therefore be required form all the department leaders meaning that there will be several potential participants in the process of implementation. For instance, the department leaders will be responsible for training the officers whereby their work will involve encouraging and guiding them through the jurisdiction process. The leader’s role will also involve making the officers aware of the oath of allegiance which they had sworn when employment. It is a reminder of what is expected of them as officers whether they are on or off duty. The other training method will involve coming up with ethical courses whereby the officers will be taught on ethical and moral behaviors that is expected of them to uphold at all time. The ethical classes will be unsupervised as a way to give the officers room to be free to practice what they have learnt from their teachers. However, the teachers will conduct an assessment in the form of case study to ensure that the officers passed the test. It is one way to ensure that the officers took the training process seriously.

Evaluation of Effectiveness of the Training Methods

The best way to evaluate if the training methods are effective is to identify if there are any possible changes in the behaviors of the officers who were under training. For instance, if there are less or no complaints regarding an officer who had been using force or involved in discrimination is adepiction that the training methods are effective. At the same time, if the officers are upholding the law by doing the right things such as remaining honest to their duty shows that they are understanding the importance of behaving ethically and morally upright while on and off duty. Lastly, when an officer begins to own up for their mistakes instead of hiding them or blaming them on others is a clear indication that the training methods are effective (Barnhart, 2009). The officer can be punished by being disciplined instead of firing them for conducts that violated the rules and regulations of the agency because they are behaving morally by owing up to their mistakes. It means that the police department will become reasonable with their punishment towards officers who violates the rules in one way or another while on or off duty when they decide to own up for their mistakes. The instructors or specialists can ask the officers questions to determine whether they understood what they were taught during the training. They can encourage the officers who participated to take part in role play where they will be criticized based on their performance on the scenarios which they served. The result will be used to evaluate whether there is a need for further training to be conducted or not based on the officer’s performance.

To sum up, it is crucial for every police officer to integrate the concepts of virtue, ethics and morality while on and off duty. The best way in which this can be upheld all the time is by the police organizations taking their officers through training programs to remind them of their duties as per the set rules and regulations. Different techniques such as using leaders to encourage the officers are crucial for the officers to uphold their duties as per the organizational expectation. However, for better results to be achieved throughout their career, ethical training should be done on a regular basis. The training needs to be structured in a specific formal way for it to be effective.

 

References

Bayley, B. (n.d). Ethics, morality and virtue: A foundation for modern training. Retrieved from https://www.correctionsone.com/corrections-training/articles/3225913-Ethics-morality-and-virtue-A-foundation-for-modern-training/

Brown, S. & Daus, C. (2015).The influence of police officer’s decision-making style and anger control on responses to work scenarios. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition 4(3), 294-302. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211368115000212

Barnhart, T. (2009). Risk indicators for misconduct. Retrieved from  http://www.corrections.com/articles/22079-risk-indicators-for-misconduct

The United States Department of Justice. (2015, Aug 6). Addressing police misconduct laws enforced by the department of justice. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/crt/addressing-police-misconduct-laws-enforced-department-justice

York, G. (2015, Sep 14). Professional ethics and corrections, a professional responsibility. Retrieved from http://www.corrections.com/news/article/40952-professional-ethics-and-corrections-a-professional-responsibility