Pressing Ethical Issues

The following is an excerpt from the International Association of Chiefs of Police report on Ethcs Training In Law Enforcement.  The question addresses the pressing ethical issues in law enforcement.

Question #69: What do you see as the more pressing ethical issues in law enforcement today?

The findings for this question are as follows, and reflect the perceptions of a very significant number of respondents.

Cultural diversity/racism/sexism
Public trust
Morals/personal values of officers/lack of values in new officers
Abuse of force/abuse of authority
Code of silence
Off-duty issues/behavior
Poor work ethic of new recruits
Lack of a sense of responsibility
Lack of role models

Issues considered critical:

Honesty in official reports
Police unions supporting unethical officers
Fabricating evidence/honesty in official reports and embellishing testimony
Temptation to embellish testimony or belief that the truth needs help
Proliferation of drugs with money available to corrupt the police
Lowered standards

The above offer a substantial reflection of the concerns noted in the surveys. In part, these are evidence of previous “case study” analysis, but they bring a greater level of reliability to the findings. Moreover, the responses reveal some interesting common themes. Those who responded mentioned the importance of a set of agreed-upon foundations for behavior and the need for involvement of supervisors and managers. Further, many of the respondents spoke of the importance of role-modeling in an agency and emphasis on the consequences of behavior.

You can see the full report at