The Evolution of Ethics in Law Enforcement

The Evolution of Ethics in Law Enforcement

The Evolution of Ethics in Law Enforcement.

The Evolution of Ethics in Law Enforcement: Ethics have always been the cornerstone of law enforcement agencies. Specifically, law enforcement officers are required to use policies and laws to inform their professional conduct but have an extensive latitude of discretion during their enforcement of laws.

As such, law enforcement agents must undergo ethics training as a result of the nature of the law enforcement authority vested upon them, as well as the potential of liability that accompanies such authority.

The society holds law enforcement officers to a higher ethical standard twenty-four hours a day, and for the rest of their live. Consequently, their conduct, if unethical, has the potential to destroy the public’s trust of law enforcement agencies and taint the reputation of the entire profession (Wyatt-Nichol & Franks, 2009).

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In fact, the code of ethics and ethical leadership have been identifie as the key to shifting these attitudes within police subcultures by establishing behavioral standards.

In conclusion, in comparison with the practices in the 1960s, the criminal justice system has greatly improved. Today, political influence is almost nonexistent in law enforcement agencies. Effectiveness in police response has also increased and there is an increased focus on professionalism among officers.

Additionally, policing styles have shifted to combine traditional policing with unique strategies that focus on collaborative initiatives with the public, providing line services to the public, offering administrative support for officers and ethical leadership by example.


Conser, J., Paynich, R., & Gingerich , T. (2011). Law Enforcement in the United States. New York: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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