Expository Essay on Effective Leadership in Policing

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On numerous occasions, law enforcement officers have found themselves in trouble when it comes to upholding moral and ethical standards as per their job description (Shelden and Randall et al, 55). The main reason why they would predominantly find themselves in trouble is that practically all the activities that they get involved in have some element of ethics in them (Meese & Ortmeier, 15). This can be experienced through the interrogation of clients or witnesses to criminal activity. Other activities that police officers involve elements of ethics and can include testifying in court, deciding on whether to use force, arrest, and writing reports or warrants. Very few elements could be attributed to being a source of harm for the reputation of police officers in the same way that their unethical practices could damage their reputation. Unethical practices by the police can be conveyed to members of the public through YouTube videos, or through the press (Schafer, 235). The essay discusses the morals and ethical development of policing presently and what the future holds as far as the same is concerned. The discussion considers critical thinking about the definition of justice and crime control.

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Why Is Training Important for Police Officers?

Training needs for the police in the United States on ethical issues grew into a subject of great concern to the extent that authorities within this state had become accustomed to colleges that specialized on issues of moral principles and ethics (Tenbrunsel and SmithCrowe). However, given that police officer in the United States are taught more about ethics and moral principles, it does not mean that ethical training would result in an increase in ethical policing. According to (Schafer, 240) people cannot teach ethics skills in the same way that educators could instill other skills to the students. Ethical standards attained by persons are abilities that can never be defined because this ability is attained through the process of education.

Moral Ethics of a Police Officer

On most occasions, police officers operate based on if bending ethical rules or moral standards in their practices would serve the greater good, then there is no flaw in acting against the required moral principles in their line of work (Schafer, 644). It is precisely for the aforementioned reasons and more that one would find police officers ignoring certain moral goods in their hope that their actions would serve the greater good (Meese & Ortmeier, 53). In the midst of law enforcement personalities, goodwill is always guaranteed by fighting for public safety, and on extreme occasions ensuring that they ensured justice in the community. Nonetheless, law enforcement personalities in the United States and several other places in the world are always required to act discretely in undertaking their daily activities, for instance, drug enforcement (Tenbrunse and Kristin, 695). Discretion is used as a foundation in the middle of law enforcement personalities in their attempts to ensure that they acted in line with the moral principles of their country or as part of their job description.

The big question remains whether individuals’ employment of discretion in carrying out their duties would lead to ethical behavior among police officers (Villiers & Adlam, 20). What the majority of persons have kept inquiring about are the practices that could be partaken to in ensuring that all law enforcement personalities adopted the best moral and ethical standards in carrying out their daily duties.

Why Are Police Ethics Important?

On most occasions, people are more concerned about the consequences of their activities than the processes that lead to the particular results that they attain in their environment. Therefore, persons in authority would take part in unethical behavior as long as they were able to come up with a justifiable reason for their acts no matter how unethical their actions might have been (Shelden et al, 15). Since the majority of persons within the United States are able to justify the reason for taking part in certain actions, people develop the perception that it is not compulsory to obey the set rules in their society. Because of this, there would come a time that persons would respond in diverse ways too numerous circumstances that they witness in their society. Similarly, the majority of persons would come up with their own reasons for criticizing police ethics in America (Shelden et al, 20). However, in trying to silence critiques, law enforcement personalities in the United States have engaged police training institutions to ensure high standard police ethics by inculcating ethical behavior in the middle of police officers.

Police Ethics Training for Community Policing

The majority of police officers always forget all that they were taught in their training once they complete their training and are deployed in the field to start their operations (Villiers & Adlam, 18). Therefore, one of the ways through which ethical practices could be reinforced is by organizing forums that can be used as an avenue of reminding individuals of the value of upholding ethical standards at all times regardless of the situation in which they find themselves cornered. Most police training institutions major in instilling practical lessons more than dwelling more on formal ethical lessons that come in handy in police work. It is without any doubt that leaders within such institutions and individuals’ peers would act as a viable source of ethical lessons for law enforcement persons (Schafer, 252).

How Does Government Policy Affect Police Service?

In the coming years, it would be quite difficult to point out practices that could be regarded as ethical and those that could be grouped as unethical if the government of the United States fails to intervene in due time to save the situation. The government needs to come up with stringent laws that would define the desired repercussions of acting contrary to the ethical requirements of the state especially regarding their activities (Villiers & Adlam, 12). Presently, numerous police officers act contrary to the moral principles of their society on the pretext that their actions are justified at least as per their way of thinking. Most importantly, leaders in society cannot expect persons to act ethically if their actions do not measure up to the standards they expect from their subjects or the persons under their rule.


In conclusion, acting contrary to the set ethics among citizens as well as professionals like enforcement persons has become the order of the day. They do it as long as they can justify their actions and avoid the consequences of the law. From the way things are, we risk losing the ethical standards among us as citizens and professionals if the responsible agencies and the people cannot collectively make it their responsibility to uphold good morals and ethical standards. If proper action is not taken then the moral and ethical practices executed in the United States might be lost to the extent of becoming extinct.

Works Cited

Meese, E., & Ortmeier, P. J. (2004). Leadership, ethics, and policing: Challenges for the 21st century. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice-Hall.

Schafer, Joseph A. "Developing effective leadership in policing: perils, pitfalls, and paths forward." Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management 32.2 (2009): 238-260.

Schafer, Joseph A. "Effective leaders and leadership in policing: traits, assessment, development, and expansion." Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management 33.4 (2010): 644-663.

Shelden, Randall G., et al. Crime and criminal justice in American society. Waveland Press, 2015.

Tenbrunsel, Ann E., and Kristin SmithCrowe. "13 ethical decision making: Where we’ve been and where we’re going." The Academy of Management Annals 2.1 (2008): 545-607.

Villiers, P., & Adlam, R. (2004). Policing a safe, just and tolerant society: An international model. Winchester, U.K: Waterside Press.

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