When law enforcement agencies face a problem of developing ethical conduct among officers, they must also decide what ethical policy is the most suitable in the given circumstances, and what ethical procedures will bring the anticipated ethical results. It is always easier to involve younger officers into developing a new ethical culture, but “older boys” are hardly willing to change their conduct. This is why law enforcement agencies should look deeper into the ethical strategies they traditionally use, and find the aspects which would be applicable to those, whom we traditionally call “old boys”.
First of all, one can’t say that some of the ethical strategies discussed by Forsyth (2003) are better than the others. They are different, and their applicability to various law enforcement needs also varies. Simultaneously, it is much more difficult to change the style and conduct of those who have spent many years in law enforcement. Although “the concept of culture in the criminological literature is loosely defined” (Terrill, Paoline III & Manning, 2003), it is difficult to deny that ethics is an indispensable element of any law enforcement culture.
Moreover, ethical culture increases coercion between the older and the younger law enforcement team members. To increase ethical conduct of “the old boys”, and to make the new ethical strategies effective, law enforcement agencies should start with background investigations. “It is important to identify potential problem candidates in the initial background process” (Forsyth, 2003). As soon as the most problematic candidates are identified, law enforcement leaders have a wide range of ethical policies and procedures to satisfy various ethical needs.
These can include FTO training, performance evaluations, promotions, and the development of ethical guidelines and rules. “Continual, on-going training of personnel in proper conduct, legal issues, ethics, R&R and P&P is essential” (Forsyth, 2003). The main issue to address in this process is making the new guidelines and ethical rules comprehensible to the older law enforcement professionals. They should primarily understand the need for changing their conduct to make it more ethical.Otherwise none of the recommended procedures will become a success in bringing new ethical conduct into law enforcement.
Forsyth, R. (2003). Increase ethical conduct. Law & Order, 51 (5), pp. 101-105. Retrieved March 25, 2008, from Career and Technical Education database. (Document ID: 348097391). Terrill, W. , Paoline III, E. A. & Manning, P. K. (2003). Police culture and coercion. Criminology, 41 (4), pp. 1003-1034.