Criminal Justice Codes of Ethics Essay

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You have a deputy chief on your police department who is a 27-year
veteran, regarded by his peers as intelligent and by the press as
affable. To his subordinates, he is a no-nonsense boss, quick to hold
officers accountable when they do not produce results. As a high-ranking
official in the department, he has the current and former police chiefs
on his list of admirers. He has received a total of four commendations,
including one in 2009 for exceptional investigative ability. He was one
of the 3 finalists for the chief’s position.

At about 6 p.m. on June 14, the deputy chief finished his shift at
police headquarters. He was headed for one of the local popular bars in
town, which is frequented by other members of the department. That
night, he partied with coworkers. According to the Internal Affairs
Division (IAD) report, the deputy chief consumed between 64 and 80
ounces of alcohol. At about 11 p.m., he left the bar, forgetting a
briefcase containing his .38 pistol, cell phone, and homicide unit case
files. He got behind the wheel of his city-issued police vehicle and
took off for his home.

That night, an eyewitness filed a police report stating that she
heard a loud noise outside her apartment. She heard the noise shortly
after 11 p.m. A police department report related that a 1992 blue sedan
was struck at that location, not far from the bar the captain just left.
It was later believed that the front-end damage was caused by the
deputy chief’s vehicle. Once the deputy chief determined that it was
safe to do so, he left the scene of the accident. There was significant
damage to his vehicle as a result of the accident.

One of your officers observed the auto, a signature unmarked police
pool car, proceeding north on one of the local streets. She activated
her lights and siren and notified the department that she stopped the
vehicle. Then, the dispatcher made the customary request for an officer
to back her up during the vehicle investigation.

According to the officer’s report, with backup en route, she
approached the car. The occupant identified himself with a small, round,
silver and gold badge: the badge of a police captain. By this time, her
backup arrived. Like her, he was a rookie with less than a year on the
job. The deputy chief was already out of the car, wobbling about and
slurring his speech. He was visibly intoxicated. The officer understood
the gravity of the situation, and as trained to do, she radioed for a
supervisor. Her shift lieutenant arrived shortly after the initial stop.

After a lengthy private conversation with the chief, the lieutenant
ordered her to place the damaged car on the sidewalk against a pillar.
The lieutenant then radioed in an auto accident involving a fixed object
with no injuries. This gave the appearance that an oncoming car had
invaded the chief’s own path. The lieutenant ordered the officer to
write the report reflecting this scenario. Because a city vehicle was
involved, the department’s Accident Investigation Division (AID) had to
be dispatched. Once they arrived, the lieutenant spoke for the chief,
telling them the story exactly as he devised. After AID released the
scene, the lieutenant drove the chief back to the bar to retrieve his
forgotten briefcase. However, some time earlier a bartender had flagged
down officers in a patrol wagon who had transported it with its contents
back to police headquarters. The lieutenant then ordered the officer to
drive the chief home. No blood alcohol test was administered.

You are notified by one of the lieutenants that the deputy chief had
been involved in an accident and that it appeared like the incident
might be covered up by other officers within the department. You are
mindful of the fact that the deputy chief was a finalist for the chief’s
position, and that his wife is an assistant to the city manager.

Assignment Guidelines

  • Address the following questions in an essay of 750-1,000 words:
    • How does the organizational culture impact personnel decisions?
      • Use examples to support your argument.
    • What are your options with regard to the above case? Explain.
    • What are the potential consequences of the choices you can make? Explain.
    • Explain, in detail, the moral and ethical considerations that need to be evaluated for any decision you make.
    • What strategies can criminal justice organizations employ to reduce any misconduct of its officers?
      • Describe 2–3 potential strategies and the reasoning behind why they are currently considered effective.
    • The blue wall of silence is a term often used when officers turn a blind eye to other officers engaged in some type of misconduct, ether on or off duty. Whistle-blowing is also a term used when reporting officer misconduct.
      • Describe how these terms would apply in the scenario and what legal safeguards would be afforded to you.
  • Be sure to reference all sources using APA style.

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