The profession of law enforcement personnelcan be tough as there are subjects that an officer must balance to do their professionin an impartial and unbiassed way. It isimperative to recognize that there needs to be a sense of balance amid theindividual rights that a citizen has and being able to guard the public good. One more subject that can arise in lawenforcement is the usage of rewards and punishment within criminal justicealong with law enforcement’s usage of trickery to complete their profession.
It is vital to keep in mind that making moralchoices can help to make these topics a little easier for the law enforcementofficer that finds themselves in a status quo where these situations come intoplay. Itcan be difficult to regulate the right balance for individual rights and thepublic’s safety. There are some countrieswhere the residents don’t have rights, and in the name of public safety, thegovernment can go overboard.
Accordingto Ferdico, Fradella and Totten (2008), “The citizens of these countries livein daily fear of official intrusion into the home, the disappearance of a lovedone, or tight restrictions on movement, speech, and association”. Obviously, if the country lets individualrights to be above safety of the public, the reverse could happen where residentsdon’t dread being disciplined for committing crimes. Myphilosophy and approach in the direction of balancing these two issues is thatit’s vital to respect an individual as far as their rights go, but to followthe truth. By following the laws that permitan officer to investigate or pursue a suspect, the person’s civil liberties arebeing respected, but the officer is defending the public good within the limitsof the law. It is vital to remember thateven those that have broken the law have civil liberties that should be respectedby law enforcement because, without this respect, the country would no longerbe a true democracy that follows the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The use of reward and punishment within the criminaljustice system is a subject that can be debated over as there are those thatbelieve rewards don’t belong in the criminal justice system at all. These rewards that can be obtainable shouldbe well-adjusted with the need of the court. There are certain actions by the courts that could been seen as rewardingin reference to criminal events. These actions include plea bargaining andusing confidential informants. Accordingto Heumann, individuals are “… taught one of the central norms of the localcourt: there is a consequence attached to going to trail and losing; on theother hand, there is a reward given to the defendant who abandons his right totrail and pleads guilty”. Plea bargainscan give criminals a reduced sentence if they are willing to plead guilty or ifthey have evidence about a criminal that law enforcement may see as a bigger criminal. Such as, a small drug dealer that works on alocal corner may be given a lighter sentence if they are willing to makeavailable evidence on those that are higher up in the drug organization. This evidence may allow for law enforcementto indict the individual that they feel has committed the more serious crime,such as importing the drugs into the country to be circulated by numerousdealers.
My viewpointand approach to balancing this is that there would be no way for the courts togo through a trial on each event that comes in as they are already overworked. This is also a way to gain evidence on those offendersthat might remain at large because there isn’t any actual evidence to link themto a crime. I trust that this is one ofthe best ways to handle something that can be viewed as deficient as within ourjustice system. It might not continuouslywork with every person that is guilty being punished, but it does its best totry to protect the good of the residents of the country. There are phases when law enforcement can use dishonestmeans to achieve necessary ends, such as lying in questioning or goingundercover. These actions can be a formof trickery on the part of law enforcement, but in some cases, it might be the loneway to get to the bottom of a case or get justice.
For example, a law enforcement officer mayneed to go undercover to gather evidence about a criminal group like theItalian mob or street gang. This is a rusebecause the officer isn’t being truthful about his background, but this wouldbe the only way to gather evidence about secretive organizations that are ableto hide their tracks when it comes to their criminal actions.Myphilosophy and method to balancing this is that there are times when it is essentialto do what is required to catch a criminal. Criminals aren’t acting in a way that is moral and are doing everythingthat they can to get off scot-free with their crimes. It makes sense that to apprehend a criminalthat law enforcement has to find ways that they are able to work within the rubricsof their organization to be better armed to deal with this issue. Police officers can exceed the speed limitwhen they are heading to a call or chasing a suspect because of this very subject,so it makes sense that there may be other things that law enforcement ought tobe able to do their profession. There are ways to use morals in decision making aboutthese subjects in criminal justice.
Oneis understanding the notion of morals and your own way of seeing theworld. As stated by Pollock (2011),”When individuals have discretion, individual prejudices and preconceptions ofgroups such as women, minorities, and homosexuals can influence their decisionmaking. Officers’ views of the worldaffect the way they do their jobs”. Understanding this is an option may aid in dealing with individuals that,otherwise, an officer may view suspiciously and possibly violate their civilliberties only because of a typecast or bias that was entrenched in an individualwhen they were young.
One more way touse morals in choice making when it comes to these subjects in criminal justiceis to know the rubrics and guidelines along with thinking about an individual’sown moral stance before an individual is placed in this kind of status quo. This can empower them to make a better choicein the heat of the moment because they previously thought about this subjectand how to handle it. Likewise, to use moralsin choice making when it comes to these subjects in criminal justice, it wouldbe vital to try to keep calm about a status quo. For example, having a alleged kidnapper incustody with a missing child could be a situation where some law enforcement membersmay think about crossing a line to try to locate the child.
Remaining calm may permit them to find a wayto get the evidence they need without compromising their morals.Lawenforcement can be a morally complicated occupation where circumstances come upwhere the law enforcement officer has to make a choice on the best action totake. It is vital to know that thereshould be a sense of balance between the rights that an individual has and the responsibilityto protect the public good. It’s also difficultto balance the use of rewards and punishment in the criminal justice system asthere are periods it can be in the good of the system to reward some criminalsfor their activities even though they committed a crime. There are also times when law enforcementneeds to use trickery to be able to catch the criminal, but it should bebalanced with moral behaviors.