Ethical decision making is important in society, but it is even more important to law enforcement personnel. Even an officer’s behavior outside of work can negatively impact a case he or she is investigating. This assignment is designed to have each team member exercise ethical decision making within law enforcement scenarios.

Complete the following:

  1. Please discuss the following situations and answer the questions.
    • Situation 1: Officer James needed to move from his apartment to a small house. He needed to move his bed and mattress but did not have a vehicle large enough to make the move. He often worked surveillance in a large van that was the perfect size to move the bed so he used the van to make the move.
    • Situation 2: Sergeant Maxton planned on divorcing his wife. They had a fight the night before, after he discovered she had been having an affair. He left but returned after she went to work to move some valuable items from the premises that belonged to both of them. He needed help so he put his team of five people out on surveillance and they used his truck and their duty vehicles to move his items. Approximately four hours were spent moving the items.
    • Team questions:
      • What potential problems could arise in both situations?
      • Is the behavior in two situations ethical? Why or why not?
      • (Situation 2 only) Should the sergeant be held at a higher standard since he is a supervisor? Why or why not?
      • Should the officers in situation number 2 refuse to help? If so, how would you, as one of the officers, have handled this situation?





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Ethics is the accepted code of behavior in a certain profession or field. Ethical decision making is a crucial aspect in the society, but it is more significant to law enforcement personnel.  An officer’s code of conduct outside work can negatively impact a case he or she is investigating. Honesty and public trust are essential responsibilities in the profession of law enforcement for effective community policing and controlling crime. In the first situation, it is contrary to the ethics of law enforcement officers to misuse the equipment…


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