Ethical Issues and Moral Dilemmas

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1. Do you believe that thinking more clearly about ethical issues and moral dilemmas has any potential for helping you do what you consider to be the right thing?

Undeniably, reflecting on ethical issues and moral dilemmas has a lot of potential in assisting a person in determining what is right versus what is wrong. According to Fitch (2011), our behavior, ethical or otherwise, is mostly based off societal expectations, or rather what we learn from others as being acceptable behavior (Rethinking Ethics in Law Enforcement, p. 19). When members of the law enforcement community interact with people, unfortunately, it is with individuals who are moral or ethical violators. This constant interaction with people who continue to do wrong can have an impact on those who are charged with enforcing laws. As a person progresses through their career in law enforcement, it is imperative to strive to constantly think about moral and ethical dilemmas clearly. According to Goodman (2013), “always remember the strength and courage it takes to do the right thing versus the weakness and cowardice to do what’s wrong (p. 4).

2. In “Rethinking Ethics in Law Enforcement” Fitch states, “Officers’ peers offer friendship and informal rewards that, in many cases, hold greater influence than official recognition from the agency … [this] sense of community drives officers to adopt the behaviors, values, and attitudes of the group in order to gain acceptance”. He goes on to claim that, “officers engage in certain forms of conduct to secure and maintain peer-group approval” (p. 18).

Acceptance from our peers could have a positive or negative impact on our ethical or moral thinking. The culture in the work place is one that is developed from taking a diverse background of individuals and placing them in the same environment. Everyone will learn from others, and it is up to them to make rational choices that do not go against their moral or ethical values. In order to change the paradigm in an organization, the very first step is to recognize the need for the change. From a managerial perspective, in my opinion, it is important to reward not just good behavior, but those who go above and beyond. Additionally, it is important to stifle poor behavior; if allowed to fester, then it could impact the organization as a whole. Having these two baselines in place, reward/punishment, allows an individual to know what the expectations are. By having effectively communicating expectations to all employees; especially new hires, there is a potential the organization will prosper versus forcing an individual to look to peers for acceptance.

3. As a Christian, what do you think about the author’s view on behavioral influences and values?

Every single day, Christians are faced with some type of influence. Sometimes, there is positive influence, and in other cases there is negative influence. Faith in God allows us to know that He will guide us in the right direction; additionally, through Him we are able to protect ourselves from negative influences. In my opinion, Fitch’s analysis on behavioral influences and values is spot on. If an agency allows, or turns a blind eye to unethical behavior, they have just as much to blame. Having staunch “policies, reward systems, and training” allows for good behavior to flourish (Fitch, p. 23)

4. Should loyalty to colleagues be fostered as an appropriate and necessary value?

In my opinion, there should be a high level of loyalty to your colleagues; as well as, to the organization. According to a recent research study; reported by Harvard Business Review, “loyalty highlights the importance of ethical principles, bringing people’s attention to the fact that behaving ethically is the right course of action (Gino, 2016). The issue is, people misconstrued what loyalty actually is. It is not about concealing wrong doings of our co-workers, but doing what is right for the group or organization. Deeply imbedded in the U.S. Military is loyalty. Loyalty to our country, our organization, and our comrades. But that loyalty is about having the faith and courage to stand strong as a team. To show the American people their sons and daughters are there for them, and not just a paycheck. According to Gino (2016), “loyalty can be a driver of good behavior…when we are part of a group of loyal members, traits associated with loyalty, such as honor, honesty, and integrity, are very salient in our minds.” Loyalty is having the dedication to something greater than ourselves, and standing up for what is right.

5. Is the code of silence justifiable in policing and corrections? Please explain.

Plain and simple, No! Working in law enforcement does not mean you get to live above the law, and keeping silent after having knowledge of a coworker’s indiscretion is against the law. In the U.S. Air Force, one of their core values is “Integrity First.” This means to remain honest, and ensure we do the right thing even when no one is watching. People who remain silent are just as guilty as those who commit the crime. One of the best ways to combat this so-called “code” is to reinforce positive communication within the organization. Managers and supervisors need to create an environment free of reprisal and open to communication. There are times when people stay silent because they choose not to get involved; again, this only prevents to resolution to the issue at hand

6. Please ready Deuteronomy 16:18-20 and Psalm 106:3. Describe the importance of ensuring our justice system is administered by Godly leaders who possess strong character, morals, and ethic in order to live and possess the land our Lord has given.

The Bible is not only the word of God, but a guide to life. A guide to live righteously as a Christian. As law enforcement officials, each person is given a great deal of power over the everyday citizen. There is a saying, “With great power comes great responsibility” (Spider-Man). Each law enforcement official is charged with upholding the law in a fair and impartial manner. It is almost as if these words, that every law enforcement agency uses, was taken directly from the word of God. The importance of those who are entrusted to enforce laws, goes beyond words in a charge. If a single officer decides to break the trust of the public it effects the entire department. Furthermore, it creates a distrust by the public of law enforcement; regardless of whether or not it was a single incident.

7. Please explain how a Biblical Worldview might lead to a different ethical approach for members in the criminal justice system. Please provide two examples.

Working in law enforcement with a Biblical Worldview helps a person to continue their relationship with Christ; consistent with what they claim and how they act. One example of a criminal justice official, with a Biblical Worldview, may lead a different ethical approach is that they should not be as prone in to unethical decisions when faced with a dilemma. Another example would be that a person working in criminal justice could help lead others when they are faced with a dilemma. Having a relationship with God gives us the power to know that He will guide us to help not only ourselves, but those who we interact with. This could mean helping a coworker, or a person they are dealing with in their official capacity

References:

Fitch, B. (October, 2011). Rethinking Ethics in Law Enforcement. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Volume 80, Issue 10. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/ehost/detail/detail?sid=9be527a5-a112-40e3-a3c5-bad4b8ed57cb%40sessionmgr4008&vid=0&hid=4201&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=66901535&db=a9hhttp://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/ehost/detail/detail?sid=9be527a5-a112-40e3-a3c5-bad4b8ed57cb%40sessionmgr4008&vid=0&hid=4201&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=66901535&db=a9h

Goodman, D. J. (2013). Enforcing Ethics(4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Gino, F. (2016, January 06). If You’re Loyal to a Group, Does It Compromise Your Ethics? Retrieved May 18, 2017, from https://hbr.org/2016/01/if-youre-loyal-to-a-group-does-it-compromise-your-ethics




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