In our society, criminals are seen as the enemy and fundamentally different from good people. Police are often seen as crime fighters in the army that fights the enemy. Good people accept and understand that police are in a war and must be allowed deference in their decision making. Police perception of their role as crime fighters will lead to certain decisions in their use of force, definition of duty, use of deception and coercion, and other decisions.
Police are also seen as public servants, who serve all people, including criminals. In this context, criminals are not a distinct group in that they shop, pay taxes, have kids and parents, and often are one’s next-door neighbors.
Police have limited ability to affect crime rates one way or the other since crime is a complex social phenomenon. The public favors a police approach that protects due process and equal protection over the use of force.
In your main post, consider the historical development of police roles and the different ethics systems in a criminal justice community context, and respond to the following:
- Differentiate ethical viewpoints and models of police as crime fighters and public servants.
- Explain, as a criminal justice professional, how these opposing viewpoints may affect your perception of yourself and the public.
- Examine the effect self-perception has on a criminal justice professional’s ethical behavior in carrying out his or her assigned duties.