Pollock ethics 8e_ch05
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Pollock ethics 8e_ch05
The Role of Police in Society
Lecture slides prepared by Lisa J. Taylor
Abuse of Power by Police
The majority of police officers are professional and ethical.
However, a small minority abuse their power. This leads to
close scrutiny by the public of all police.
Police officers have tremendous power in our society:
•The power to arrest
•The power to mediate or to charge
•The power to use force
•The power of life and death
Officers received tip regarding drug activity in
They filed an affidavit for a no-knock search
warrant, falsely indicating they had sent an
informant in to buy drugs.
When the raid team burst in, the 92-year old
female resident began shooting at officers. She
was killed by a hail of bullets.
When officers found no drugs, they planted
drugs, and forced an informant to lie about
buying drugs from the woman.
2 of the 3 officers ultimately confessed and
pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
The lead officer received a 6-year sentence.
Their sergeant pleaded guilty to federal
charges of violating the dead woman’s rights.
Officers were accused of committing
perjury by falsely describing drug busts
they conducted in written police reports.
Video taken by surveillance cameras
during separate drug raids show the
police officers failed to get consent from
the apartment-dwellers before
conducting warrantless searches for
The officers also misrepresented their
searches in later police reports.
Since these reports are written under
oath, this was tantamount to perjury,
according to the Public Defender.
Viewpoint: Police as Crime
• Criminals are the “enemy” and are fundamentally different
from “good” people.
• Police are the “army” that fights the enemy.
• Police must be able to use any means necessary against
• Since police are in a “war,” they must be allowed discretion
Model of Law Enforcement
Crime Control Orientation
• Preventing criminal conduct is the most important
function of law enforcement.
• Failure of law enforcement means the breakdown of
• Criminal process is the positive guarantor of social
• Efficiency is a top priority.
• Emphasis is on speed and finality.
• There is a presumption of guilt.
Viewpoint: Police as Public
• Criminals are like any other citizens.
• Police have limited ability to affect crime rates one way or
• Police as public servants serve all people, including
• Since police are public servants, their ability to use force
should be restricted.
Model of Law Enforcement
Due Process Orientation
• There is a possibility of error.
• Finality is not a priority.
• There is insistence on prevention and elimination of
• Efficiency is rejected if it involves shortcuts.
• Protection of process is as important as protection of
• The coercive power of the state is always subject to abuse.
Early American Law
-century police were involved in social
• Corruption was common in early police
• The move towards police “professionalism”
began in the 1920s.
• During this period, the role of crime fighter
emerged as a characteristic of police.
• The role of public servant was minimized.
• In some ways, a return to original police
involvement in service and engagement with
• Focus is on proactive crime prevention rather than
• Encourages officers to see citizens as partners.
• Shifts decision-making and discretion downward to
patrol officers who know the neighborhood best.
• More visible operations increase police
Ethical Problems in
• Gratuities may be an issue for officers who are
expected to create and maintain close ties to the
• The officer’s discretion in enforcing the law may be
compromised by personal relationships.
• Increased autonomy and decreased supervision may
provide greater opportunity for misconduct.
One police officer was fired and
two others were disciplined
after an internal investigation
revealed they routinely
accepted items from a local
convenience store without
paying for them.
Accepting gratuities is a
departmental policy violation
and a violation of the officers'
code of ethics.
Klockars’ Police Control
Authority: Entitlement to unquestioned obedience
that derives from fulfilling a specific role.
Power: Power is the threat behind the authority.
Persuasion: The use of signs, symbols, words,
and arguments to induce compliance.
Force: Physical coercion.
Source of Police Authority?
The Social Contract
• Each person gives up complete freedom in exchange for
the guaranteed protection of the society against others.
• Police power is part of this quid pro quo.
• Police power exists to provide protection.
• Since police power may also violate rights if abused, it is
limited to what is minimally necessary for protection.
• If the social contract is the basis of police power, it is also
the basis of police ethics.
Ethical Standards Associated
with the Social Contract
• Fair access
• Public trust
• Safety and security
Characteristics of the Effective
• Good character
• Balanced perception
The power and authority to choose between two
or more courses of behavior.
Discretion may be influenced by “style”
• The responsibilities attached to a specific role.
• Police roles include both crime fighting and
• How far does police duty extend…
Enforcing the written law?
Ensuring medical treatment is provided?
Preventing crime altogether?
Formal Ethics: Codes, Guidelines &
value system of
Serve as the
Characteristics of Codes of
Importance of the law
Informal Ethics: The Subculture
Typically form a homogenous social group.
Have a uniquely stressful work environment.
Participate in a basically closed social system.
“Themes” of Policing (Crank)
Police Characteristics (?)
More conservative than the general public
Value equality less than the general public
Value obedience over independence
• Involves officers employing unethical means to
catch criminals because “it’s the right thing to
• Perceived by officers as fulfillment of their
profound moral commitment to make the world a
safer place to live
• Is utilitarianism (the end justifies the means)
A forensics expert for the NC State Bureau of
Investigation repeatedly lied on the stand
while providing testimony crucial to the 2003
conviction of a novelist accused of murdering
Michael Peterson's conviction was overturned
and he was granted a new trial in December
Judge Orlando Hudson described at length
how the expert, Duane Deaver, an agent with
the NC State Bureau of Investigation, misled
a jury about his qualifications and the
reliability of his scientific opinions in the
Additionally, an independent audit completed
in 2010 found that agents at the crime lab
manipulated and withheld the results of
hundreds of tests to confirm the presence of
blood, tainting prosecutions based on that
“Blue Curtain of Silence”
• Facing the wrongdoing of a fellow officer is a police officer’s
most difficult ethical dilemma.
• The code of silence present in police work is also present in
other occupations and professions.
• In policing, the code of silence is a form of noble-cause
• Evidence indicates “blue curtain of silence” or “blue curtain of
secrecy” is breaking down but still present (2/3 of police said
“whistleblower would receive informal sanctions” & 61% said
officers do not always report even the most serious
violations/crimes of other officers).
A component of the esprit de corps of policing.
An absolutely essential element of a healthy
Explained by officers’ dependence on one another,
sometimes in life-or-death situations.
A personal relationship, not a judgment.
Sanctions on “Whistleblowers”
A distressing aspect of loyalty
Are often extreme
Have resulted in state and federal legislation to
Legislation is ineffective against informal ostracism
A police officer in Southern Russia was fired
after publicly accusing his bosses of
Dymovsky called on Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin to take steps to fight corruption in the
He says officers are forced to make up
criminal charges against innocent people in
order to cover up the police's inability to
track down real criminals.
Although Dymovsky was immediately fired
for what his superiors considered slander, an
official probe was allegedly launched by the
country's interior ministry into the situation in
the local police department.
Dymovskiy spent 1 ½ years in jail for fraud
and misuse of authority.
Change in the Police Subculture
• Work force no longer socially homogenous.
• Officers vary substantially in their cultural views.
• Few factors are strong predictors of officers’ values.
• Has increased the risk of covering for another officer.
• Have become more formal with increased power.
--Implemented by William Bratton, N.Y. police chief, 1995-1999
• Police took an aggressive stance against street people and minor
criminals, especially those in the business area and subway
• New York City enjoyed a dramatic decline in crime.
• However, citizen complaints against New York City police rose by
• Crime rates fell throughout the country during this period, even in
areas without zero-tolerance policies.
• Also used “CompStat” which is form of accountability.
Do you think zero tolerance is effective?
What Type of Policing Do We Want?
• If forced to make a choice, it is probable that the citizenry
would choose crime fighter.
• Generally, police do not encounter much criticism when
they are successful in their crime fighter role.
• The zero-tolerance policy, implemented by William
Bratton was an example of this.