I believe a top ethical issue within the criminal justice system is that known as the Blue Code of Silence. This is an unwritten law amongst Police officers to not report things they see their fellow officers engage in, whether it be inmate abuse to not accounting all narcotics obtained in a seizure. When investigations occur, if they do, officers usually claim ignorance and refuse to provide information that will incriminate their co-workers.
As new recruits are brought on to the job instead of being taught the job duties, they are also being taught how to make it in the “gang of blue” which is not to snitch when you see a fellow officer doing something against code.
The officers fail to consider that before they become officers they are given an oath to uphold the uniform and badge issued to them and to bring no shame upon their fellow officers and self. Officers that uphold this oath are known as snitches and just like in a gang are harassed to the full extent.
Some are forced into retirement or professionally sanctioned for “ratting”. By protecting one another in a way that is immoral, it is creating more harm the good and destroys the publics opinion and respect for those with a badge. One such case that was an eye opener to many was the Rampart Scandal in Los Angeles. A group of officers were assigned to a task force known as CRASH (Community Respurces Against Street Hoodlums). The main focus was to reduce the tension and violence among the gangs that were taking over the local neighborhoods.
However it became later uncovered that most of the officers were on rapper “Suge” Knights payroll and were involved in the drive-by murder of the Notorious B. I. G. Over 70 officers were recognized to have committed horrific misconduct. This included shootings, beating, stealing of narcotics, bank robberies, perjury, and framing. They all protected each other though and refuse to rat each other out. This is just one of many cases where the wall of Blue sticks together. I have personally known someone who was a police officer and was affected by such issues when he saw another officer bring narcotics into an inmate.
When he informed the right individuals, he was later harassed, coerced, and even beaten for snitching. Of course, nothing was done to the officer who was sneaking narcotics in but the officer who upheld his badge with honor was abused so badly he eventually left and wound up with severe mental issues even having to be institutionalized because the threats made on his life made him paranoid. This issue could be addressed in numerous ways however it is whether or not individuals, such as government officials want to take the time and effort to focus on the breakdown and lack of integrity amongst officers.
For one, maybe an individual entity should be created to investigate and overview files and cases that are dealt with within a department. This would be separate from the people the officers work with so there might be less bias and more honesty again depending on who and how they are chosen. More and more of the public should also step up and address the issue such as going to elected officials and demanding issues be addressed. I know, easier said then done. The officers have to know that when they are dishonest and don’t perform their job with the upmost respect and integrity that they have to pay the price.
It’s important as well that the leadership amongt the officers can provide a good example and what they should strive to be like. I also think there should be even more background checks and evaluation as to who is being hired and I believe that with a separate entity that is created evaluations of officers should be done at least once a month to get a feel for how an officer is and how serious they take their job. This is an ethical dilemmia i feel because of the Slippery-Slope method. An officer gets away with a minor offense such as accepting coffee for free from Hess even though it is considered a bribe.
Another officer sees it and says nothing. Then this leads to getting away with something more serious such as pulling over a good looking guy or girl and basically coercing them into a date instead of a ticket and so on until the offenses get more and more serious. It’s basically all down hill after that. There is no accountability for actions because no one will bring it to administrations attention so they get away with more and more. Others see this and join in and then as the saying goes a few rotten apples spoil the rest of the barrel.
Cite this Ethics in Criminal Justice
Ethics in Criminal Justice. (2016, Oct 26). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/ethics-in-criminal-justice/