Law enforcement authorities play the significant role in the modern society. Relationships between people are needed to be strictly governed. While the policemen are exercising this mission, police chiefs and county sheriffs carry out the effective management and control under the law enforcement institutions. Thus, they have to follow all ethic rules and should be intelligent and highly moral.
There are several reasons why ethics and integrity are important for a police chief or county sheriff. The first reason is that these mentioned persons show an example for other officials. The chief’s actions have to be perfect and should exclude any reproaches. Otherwise, what is the necessity for other policemen to be obliged to follow ethic rules when their chief doesn’t do this? Thus, actions of the police chief or county sheriff significantly influence the behavior of the rest of the team. According to Hess, Orthmann and LaDue (2011), “To clarify the expectations regarding officer ethics and integrity, most law enforcement departments have a formal code of ethics, often framed and hanging on the wall”.
The second reason why ethic and integrity are very important is that the intelligent and highly moral manager does not have any problems with the recruiting the new personnel. It is obvious that there are numerous important factors concrning the job, and the chef’s personality traits play not the last role. The policemen who want to work hard and strictly follow all rules and restrictions always tries to find the good leader. Thence, the good behavior of the sheriff or chief is extremely necessary.
The third reason is that the actions of the police chief or county sheriff are the subject of the monitoring of the community. The activity of law enforcement bodies is the most discussed and analyzed issue. Moreover, both ordinary people and journalists pay attention mostly to the actions of police chiefs or county sheriffs, as responsible representatives of the whole enforcement institution. Consequently, the community sizes up the law enforcement office, analyzing actions of its chief.
There are three different notions, which may seem identical: law, ethics and morality. The law is the system of strict and exact rules, established by the authorities and expressed in the current legislation. Ethics comprises of the number of informal rules, which are applicable in the daily life. Morality is the strong beliefs of the person, which don’t let him or her to make inappropriate actions. A police chief or county sheriff always faces the problem of contradiction between these three notions. Expressing its authority he is obliged to follow the requirements of the legislation, but not all rules of law are ethic and moral. For example, the person commits the theft only because his relative is ill and he/she needs to by the medication. It is immoral, but the policemen should arrest this person and charge him/her. Thus, in spite the fact, that the chief is the public person, he is obliged to follow the rules of the law and keep the balance between morality, ethic and law (Pollok, 2009).
The police chief’s and county sheriff’s task is different from the tasks of the ordinary policemen. According to Carpenter and Fulton (2009), “Rather than facing street-level policing situations, they are much more likely to face personnel problems, promotional considerations, disciplinary actions, and a host of other internal situations”. There are several ways to use ethics and the code of conduct. The first way concerns the decision making process. The chief should not be followed by momentary emotions. There are different situations, which can cause anger, hatred, frustration, etc. In this case it is important to make a legitimate decision.
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The second way is to create a code of ethics for previous mentioned group of officials. Such code was created by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. It includes the rules, which can help police chiefs and county sheriffs to select the correct action and to make the right decisions.