Thefirst article was based on the principles of good policing.
Whatis good policing? The first thought goes to catching criminals, and punishingoffenders, but good policing preventscrime and disorder before they occur. The power of the police to fulfiltheir functions and duties is not absolute. It dependents on public approval oftheir actions and behavior. Police must secure and maintain public respect.
The public has to cooperate inenforcing the laws. Importantly, police must recognize thatthe public co-operation diminishesthe more police use physical force and compulsion in a community. Anotherimportant factor for police maintaining public favor is demonstrating absolutely impartiality withoutregard to the justice or injustice of individual laws. Police should offer ofindividual service and friendship to all members of the public without regardto their wealth or social standing. They should always exercise courtesy andfriendly good humor. They must offer individual sacrifice in protecting andpreserving life. It is best if police only use physical force as a last resort,and when persuasion, advice and warning have failed. Police should always useonly the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particularoccasion for achieving a justified police objective.
The relationship with the public has ahistoric tradition. The police are the public and the public are the police.That is the police are members of the public who happen to be paid to givefull-time attention to duties and responsibilities of every citizen.
It is this aspect of module seven that I found very interesting. It is easy tothink of police as different and above the normal public. But realizing thepolice are members of the public, who just happen to be dedicated full time tolaw enforcement, was eye opening for me.
The police are part of the executivebranch of government. Accordingly, the police must avoid the perception of acting in ajudiciary role. Police should never be perceived as avenging individuals orthe state, and should not try to judge guilt or punish the guilty. Theseresponsibilities lie with the judicial branch. Police effectiveness is bestmeasured by the absence of crime and disorder, rather than by police actionsdealing with them. Finally, each police officer must consider it his or herresponsibility to protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of allindividuals. By doing these things well, the police become the most importantemployees in the vast structure of government (TheU.
S. Department of Justice, 2003). The second article was on policeintegrity. To establish and maintain officer integrity, police administratorsmust look beyond recruiting persons of good character. Police need to establishintegrity enhancing policies and rules in their agencies.
This way policeforces imbue their organizations with a culture of integrity (Enhancing PoliceIntegrity). Police integrity is about applying basic values to the decision-makingprocess in a way that expresses the Codes of Ethics, Law Enforcement Codes andlegal requirements these must form the basic foundation of policing culture.Integrity requires police officers to accept living within and uphold theseethical standards.
Police should know that integrity can come at a personalcost. It is documented that those who stand up for standards and integrity canbe marginalized by colleagues and organizations. This aspect was something Ithought about deeply while studying this module. Am I ready to make personalsacrifice to stand by the ethical code when push comes to shove.
Unfortunately,integrity is an ongoing challenge, and is evidenced by a lack of ‘misconductreporting’. Organizational integrity is the key to individual integrity, andthe foundation of integrity support. The challenges of integrity within policeculture are further evidenced in the terminology we use. The term’Whistleblower’ has a negative connotation, and refers to a person who speaksout against wrongdoing by their peers. Others include ‘Grass’ and ‘Snitch.’These have been replaced in favor of the term ‘Professional StandardsReporting’ in order to stop vilifying people with integrity. Integrity is notabout the individual. It is about the ‘ethical codes’, ‘law enforcement ethics’and ethics training of an organization.
It also includes organizationalstandards for handling corruption, Police misconduct and police discipline.Together these things provide the support and value sets for an individualpolice officer to use in their decision-making process. Integrity is not simplyabout making the right or wrong decision.
Integrity means basing a decision ona genuine belief, taking into account the values of the society, community andorganization in which the decision is made. An understanding of integrity is anessential requirement of police officers but is insufficiently taught. In the third article, Ilearned the various ways police departments can improve their officer training.By maintaining and updating standards for officers, the community and membersof the force can feel that there is transparence. The Virginia Beach PoliceDepartment has started emphasizing training in 3 areas: leadership and management development, an internalorganizational focus, and an external organizational focus. By having thesetraining initiatives it requires officers to be tested regarding theirintegrity.
Integrity is important especially in a position like a policeofficer dealing with many types of people .In today’s society people have afear of the police, but VBPD is trying to work against it. If the communityfeels that their police force is trustworthy they will be more willing tocommunicate with them. This can result in cases being solved faster. I want tobe a police officer one day and I think these type of trainings would behelpful for me as I rise throughout the ranks. I am glad this reading wasassigned, because it shows that not all cops are bad, but some want to help thecommunities they serve.