Everyone is still in the backyard drinking. You go into the house to use the restroom and observe several of your friend’s friends (whom you do not know) snorting cocaine. You do not know whether your friend has knowledge that people are using drugs in his house. There are a couple moral problems presented in this scenario. As a police officer you do not want to be present where illegal activity is being conducted, that’s a serious conflict of interest. Another is, you can’t dictate what types of behavior goes on in your friends house, if it were your house that would be something different.
If you were on duty there would be a legal requirement for you to get involved, friend or no friend. The fact that you are off duty allows for a certain level of flexibility as well. Not knowing how much cocaine is there, the number of people inside the house, officer safety issues, etc. There’s a level of discretion to be considered. As a friend I’d inform my friend of the activity that I witnessed taking place inside of his house and the position that that puts me in. As a police officer, I’d inform my friend of the potential loses that he/she could incur should the police get called o the house.
I’d also let the friend know that if this is the type of activity that goes on at their parties, that they should take my name off of the list of invitees. Scenario 2: Accepting a Gift It is the day before Christmas and you are a community police officer. An owner of a small market has been friendly to you throughout the year, and he has participated faithfully in community crime-prevention meetings. He calls you behind the counter and gives you a fruit basket for your family along with a Christmas card containing a $30 gift certificate as an expression of his appreciation.
The moral issue with this is police officers are held to a higher standard. Teachers, mail carriers, doormen etc. All have similar “no gratuities” policies and most if not all will accept the gesture so that they don’t offend the giver. In this scenario policy dictates a response so assuming the department has a “no gratuities” policy I’d attempt to deny the gift, initially by saying it was not necessary because I was just doing my job. If the owner further insisted that take the gift, I’d inform him that my job precluded me from accepting gifts.
If e continued, I’d suggest he deliver it to the district/station so that it could be a show of appreciation of all the officers. Taking the gift could jeopardize my job or get me reprimanded unnecessarily for the cost of a fruit basket and gift card. Scenario 3: Homosexual Partner You are a supervisor on a medium-size police department. Office Ted Jones is an excellent officer and has been on the force for 16 years. He is also a homosexual and hangs out at a known gay bar in his off time. You have two-person patrols and Jones was recently teamed with Officer James Davis.
Officer Davis comes to you and asks to be assigned to another partner because Jones is a homosexual. As the supervisor, Officer Davis would have to give me more of a reason than “he’s a homosexual”. If he stated that he had a moral issue with Officer Davis, one that violated what he believed “a person’s standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do” should be and was truly uncomfortable with it. Policy and law dictate that the police can not discriminate against the people its sworn to protect. EEOC protects against said discrimination as well.
As the supervisor, Officer Davis and I would have to have this conversation and I’d make sure that he was aware of the possible consequences for said discrimination. Careful consideration would have to be taken so that all involved would be satisfied with the outcome. Officer Davis would have to understand that that Officer Jones is an excellent police officer and has been for 16 years and whatever he does on his off duty time is his business. Police are in the news everyday for violating the rights of the public, the department doesn’t need headlines about discrimination of its own officers.