22 hours ago
Discussion Board 5
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- I believe that in today’s law enforcement culture, there is less of a chance of a situation happening as it happened to Frank Serpico back in the 70’s. Many of the officers were identified, and many lost their “protection money” for covering criminal activities. With the opportunities these officers had, there was a strong resistance to Serpico for ruining their “business.” Back then, the culture was simple, don’t betray your brother. You don’t have to be a part of it, but you had better turn an eye to it. I believe it was more of an intimidation factor of not assisting him, and it was sending a message to the other officers, especially when it comes to a crisis. Personally, I have witnessed this intimidation. A female officer came out publicly about harassment in a specialty unit in our department. There were immediate sides taken, those with her, and those with the unit. I was a neutral party privy to the stories from both sides, and it was discouraging. “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way” (Romans 14: 13). This was over 5 years ago, but there are some who refuse to acknowledge her even today, and as a soon to be supervisor, there will undoubtedly be those who offer her little respect. Serpico said it best, “A policeman’s first obligation is to be responsible to the needs of the community he serves…The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist in which an honest police officer can act without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. We create an atmosphere in which the honest officer fears the dishonest officer, and not the other way around” (Shetterly, 2006).
- The blue wall of silence is the notion that officers will refuse to speak up about any improprieties from another officer to protect them, especially seeing it is a driven point that it is always “us verse them.” Unfortunately, it does exist today. Even an officer with strong morals, ethics, and sound values could be tempted to remain silent. “I know what the officer code is, and it is very strong. A person can come into this work with all good intentions, but a lot of people just give up and fall into the pit (the subculture).” (Duff, 2017). One begins to question the leverage of speaking up over remaining silent, as the long-term effects could be damaging to a career. It can lead to a constraint of values unless the officer realizes “it is important for officers to individually and collectively believe in certain fundamental principles” (Goodman, 2013, P.30). An officer must have the courage to stand alone against the storm and “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Mark 4:7, KJV).
- Effective leaders must have trust they are doing the right thing, and trust that those who follow them are doing the same. They must always lead by example, and not be a hypocrite. Leaders must be willing to accept and forgive, all while teaching and not judging. 1 Timothy 2:2 states “For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (KJV). By being the example of those we lead, we set the standard for all to follow. Tillman states “there is nothing more powerful than a leader who understands the people” (1988, P.158).
- Initially, if I knew the reputation of this officer for sleeping on duty, I would take the steps to tell him that as long as we are working together, he won’t be sleeping. If he did take a nap and I needed assistance, I would have little recourse but to report him. Placing my life at risk, as well as the inmates fighting, is inexcusable. The officer is paid to do a job, and he should have the principles to adhere to the rules. “One of the oldest and most basic approaches to decision making is the one which suggests that we follow the rules” (Tillman, 1988, P.80). It is not my job to judge this man, nor condemn, I simply ask that he do the right thing. “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:37, KJV).
Duff, Wayne. Subcultures from the Practitioner’s Perspective, Liberty University Online, 2017
Goodman, Debbie. Enforcing Ethics, 2013.
Shetterly, Robert, 2006-2017 https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/frank-serpico
Tillman, Jr., William M., Understanding Christian Ethics, 1988.
3 hours ago
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1. About the Frank Serpico situation and today’s situations I believe that the two-time periods are far from comparison. In the 1970’s it was not uncommon for police in New York to receive payoffs from illegal operations, such as brothels and gambling dens (Newburn, 1999). So, when you look at the subculture of the 70’s, officers would ostracize someone that “rats” or “snitches”, but in present time I feel it is not a common thing. In today’s time, leaders have stepped up to ensure that their departments are following the laws laid out by the Constitution and punishing those officers that break the law and the department’s policy, all while protecting those individuals that are considered whistleblowers. Most officers realize that threats exist on the streets and not within the department, especially now more than ever, so even if an officer were to inform on a fellow officer, which lead to disciplinary action, I feel most officers would respect that and not hesitate to back that officer up in a crisis. Police currently have an image of being liars and abusing their power, but they want to get back to the image of being public servants and be protectors of the community. In our readings Tillman says that “A Christian citizen is a person who applies Christian principles to political issues” (Tillman, 1988), meaning when police are faced with these situations they need to ask themselves, what would God want me to do?
2. The “blue wall of silence” does truly exist, to a certain extent. I believe police officers will do what they feel is right when it comes to protecting the rights of the public, but there are situations where an officer will have another officer’s back. In most cases of police brutality, you see multiple officers involved in the situation, and most times their actions turn out to be in accordance with use of force policy. I believe this is due to the blue wall of silence, because the officers are not going to say that they assaulted someone without cause and turn on their brothers in blue, but an officer with strong morals and ethics would not hesitate to report true facts of the incident. The bible tells us “Truthful lips will endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19, ESV).
3. The things that leaders need to remember to do is to hold everyone, and I mean everyone, accountable for their actions. A leader cannot expect his followers to respect and adhere to their message if they are not willing to enforce their own policy on everyone equally. I also believe they need to be fair and just when issuing out discipline and not be influenced by outside sources, such as the media and the public. A leader should be committed to his people and not let someone dictate punishment when they may not understand the whole situation.
4. Without hesitation, I would have notified my supervisor of the situation. The main reason being is not only did he put the inmate’s life in danger, but mine. From an ethical standpoint that officer went against everything that is right and chose to do the wrong thing. He obviously knew I would be out on the floor, because he most likely had to open the door for me, but choose to sleep anyway. Correctional officers are bound to also protect and safeguard inmates and although they may be criminals they are still human. The fact they he was unable to respond could have led to a tragic incident where loss of life was a possibility.
Newburn, T., (1999), Understanding and Preventing Police Corruption: Lessons from the Literature, http://www.popcenter.org/problems/street_prostitution/PDFs/Newburn_1999.pdf
Tillman, W.M., (1988), Understanding Christian Ethics: An Interpretation Approach, Chapter 6, Page 124
Proverbs 12:19, ESV, https://www.openbible.info/labs/cross-references/search?q=Proverbs+12%3A19