Police Ethics and Deviance

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 16 November 2016

Police Ethics and Deviance

This paper intends to define ethics and briefly discuss its role in policing. It also aims to talk about the ethical standards in policing. Last but not least, it will also cover the deviant behaviors, as well as, its effects.

Ethics Defined

Ethics is technically defined as “the practical, normative study of the rightness and wrongness of human conduct” (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 292).  It is upon which conduct is based (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 292). It determines whether or not an act is morally correct (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 292).

Nature of Ethics and Its Role in Policing

Meanwhile, with regards to the nature of ethics being a standard of moral correctness, it contributes largely in policing (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 292).  Explaining further, without ethics, a police officer will not be able to carry out critical thinking; it is only through ethical decision-making that he will arrive with the best solutions to any issue he or she is faced with (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 292).  In addition to that, through ethics police officers tend to become honest and when they stay honest they are, as well as, their respected departments are respected which allow their team to “recognize their full potential” (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 292). See, ethics is really important to policing because it helps police officers do “good” and the carry out the “right acts” all the time (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 293).

Ethical Standards in Policing

In fact, to keep the police force doing good and the right thing, the department has come up with ethical standards in policing (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 293). These include the following:

The first one is known as the “organizational value systems” (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 293). This has been produced so that police officers are taught the correct behaviors that they ought to instill in themselves (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 293). It serves as a guide as to what behaviors are correct and ethical (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 293).

The second is technically referred to as the “oath of office” (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 293). This is like a promise made by the police officers that they will act according to the laws/rules/etcetera stipulated in the oath (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 293).

The third is technically known as the “Law Enforcement Code of Ethics” (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 293). This one is disseminated by the “International Association of Chiefs of Police” (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 293).

The last which the police force is obliged to follow also is the “US Constitution” (US Supreme Court, 2008, n.p.). Of course, the “Bill of Rights” go along with the aforementioned as well (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 293). Both are known to be the basis of police ethics because of its “lawful” character; lawful indeed, since it is a collection of the “US Supreme Court, Federal, State Criminal Laws, as well as, Codes of Criminal Procedure” (US Supreme Court, 2008, n.p.).

Deviant Behaviors and Its Effects

However, it cannot be denied that despite so many ethical standards utilized and implemented by the police force, there are still some who do not accept and follow it (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 293).

Some of the deviant behaviors committed and its effects are the following:

A) Police Corruption

“Police corruption” is technically defined as “an act involving the misuse of authority by a police officer in a manner designed to produce personal gain for himself or others” (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 296). Examples of police corruption are the following: 1) receiving money from “loan sharks, hijackers, etc”; 2) receiving money, free food, free accommodations, etcetera in exchange for services rendered; 3) accepting money in exchange of classified information provided to “criminals or private investigation firms”; 4) accepting payment in exchange of not having parking and traffic violators summoned; 5) etcetera (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 295).

As expected corruption brings about negative effects and these include the following: 1) it only motivates others to practice corruption also especially if police officers realize that there is a slight possibility of getting caught; 2) the police department is affected and the public’s respect for it is lost; and last but not least 3) people will no longer respect the police officers and will not follow the rules implemented by them eventually as well (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 300).

B) Police Misconduct

Police misconduct is also included in the list of deviant behaviors committed by some of the police officers (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 303). This entails: “the use of illegal drugs; alcohol abuse; abuse of authority; sexual violence; as well as, domestic violence” (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 303). The effect of this is just like in the first deviant behavior discussed wherein people tend to lose their trust on the police force and eventually carry out deviant behaviors as well (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 303).

C) Police Brutality

Police brutality is also one of the deviant behaviors committed by some of the police officers (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 308). This is defined as the unfair and extreme use of force on suspects and other criminals (Mangan, 2000, n.p.). The effects of such include: 1) psychological trauma for the victim; and 2) he or she will later turn out to be rebellious and revengeful (Dempsey et. al., 2005, p. 308).


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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 16 November 2016

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