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The
first article was based on the principles of good policing. What
is good policing? The first thought goes to catching criminals, and punishing
offenders, but good policing prevents
crime and disorder before they occur. The power of the police to fulfil
their functions and duties is not absolute. It dependents on public approval of
their actions and behavior. Police must secure and maintain public respect.
The public has to cooperate in
enforcing the laws. Importantly, police must recognize that
the public co-operation diminishes
the more police use physical force and compulsion in a community. Another
important factor for police maintaining public favor is demonstrating absolutely impartiality without
regard to the justice or injustice of individual laws. Police should offer of
individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard
to their wealth or social standing. They should always exercise courtesy and
friendly good humor. They must offer individual sacrifice in protecting and
preserving life. It is best if police only use physical force as a last resort,
and when persuasion, advice and warning have failed. Police should always use
only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular
occasion for achieving a justified police objective.
The relationship with the public has a
historic tradition. The police are the public and the public are the police.
That is the police are members of the public who happen to be paid to give
full-time attention to duties and responsibilities of every citizen.
It is this aspect of module seven that I found very interesting. It is easy to
think of police as different and above the normal public. But realizing the
police are members of the public, who just happen to be dedicated full time to
law enforcement, was eye opening for me. The police are part of the executive
branch of government. Accordingly, the police must avoid the perception of acting in a
judiciary role. Police should never be perceived as avenging individuals or
the state, and should not try to judge guilt or punish the guilty. These
responsibilities lie with the judicial branch. Police effectiveness is best
measured by the absence of crime and disorder, rather than by police actions
dealing with them. Finally, each police officer must consider it his or her
responsibility to protect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of all
individuals. By doing these things well, the police become the most important
employees in the vast structure of government (The
U.S. Department of Justice, 2003).

            The second article was on police
integrity. To establish and maintain officer integrity, police administrators
must look beyond recruiting persons of good character. Police need to establish
integrity enhancing policies and rules in their agencies. This way police
forces imbue their organizations with a culture of integrity (Enhancing Police
Integrity). Police integrity is about applying basic values to the decision-making
process in a way that expresses the Codes of Ethics, Law Enforcement Codes and
legal requirements these must form the basic foundation of policing culture.
Integrity requires police officers to accept living within and uphold these
ethical standards. Police should know that integrity can come at a personal
cost. It is documented that those who stand up for standards and integrity can
be marginalized by colleagues and organizations. This aspect was something I
thought about deeply while studying this module. Am I ready to make personal
sacrifice to stand by the ethical code when push comes to shove. Unfortunately,
integrity is an ongoing challenge, and is evidenced by a lack of ‘misconduct
reporting’. Organizational integrity is the key to individual integrity, and
the foundation of integrity support. The challenges of integrity within police
culture are further evidenced in the terminology we use. The term
‘Whistleblower’ has a negative connotation, and refers to a person who speaks
out against wrongdoing by their peers. Others include ‘Grass’ and ‘Snitch.’
These have been replaced in favor of the term ‘Professional Standards
Reporting’ in order to stop vilifying people with integrity. Integrity is not
about the individual. It is about the ‘ethical codes’, ‘law enforcement ethics’
and ethics training of an organization. It also includes organizational
standards for handling corruption, Police misconduct and police discipline.
Together these things provide the support and value sets for an individual
police officer to use in their decision-making process. Integrity is not simply
about making the right or wrong decision. Integrity means basing a decision on
a genuine belief, taking into account the values of the society, community and
organization in which the decision is made. An understanding of integrity is an
essential requirement of police officers but is insufficiently taught.

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            In the third article, I
learned the various ways police departments can improve their officer training.
By maintaining and updating standards for officers, the community and members
of the force can feel that there is transparence. The Virginia Beach Police
Department has started emphasizing training in 3 areas: leadership and management development, an internal
organizational focus, and an external organizational focus. By having these
training initiatives it requires officers to be tested regarding their
integrity. Integrity is important especially in a position like a police
officer dealing with many types of people .In today’s society people have a
fear of the police, but VBPD is trying to work against it. If the community
feels that their police force is trustworthy they will be more willing to
communicate with them. This can result in cases being solved faster. I want to
be a police officer one day and I think these type of trainings would be
helpful for me as I rise throughout the ranks. I am glad this reading was
assigned, because it shows that not all cops are bad, but some want to help the
communities they serve. 

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