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Police Ethics Education: A Waste of Time?

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 69 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2002 Pages: 92,94-96,97
Paul N. Tinsley; Craig S. MacMillan
Charles E Higginbotham
Date Published
August 2002
5 pages
The article reviews the role of police ethics training in the improvement of police conduct and also explores the limitations of such training.
The author provides an overview of police ethics training. The role of ethics in organizational culture is presented. A flow chart regarding the relationship between morality and ethics is presented and the relationship between the concepts is discussed. The relationship between ethics training and the promotion of ethical behavior is explored. Criticisms of police ethics training are discussed. Those criticisms include: 1) the belief that ethics are learned from family and the culture, not from a formal training program; 2) the belief that appropriately ethical behavior is learned in the course of police work and that no separate training is therefore required; 3) the belief that ethics are common sense; 4) the belief that appropriate ethical conduct is too ambiguous or vague to apply rigid training rules; and 5) the belief that traditional ethical models do not apply to the complex dilemmas faced by police during the course of police work. Figure, 19 notes