Ethics in Law Enforcement
Rick Parent, Simon Fraser University
Copyright Year: 2015
Conditions of Use
The textbook was very comprehensive on the subject matter of ethics and law enforcement. Students can expect the content to be thoroughly researched by the authors with excellent and appropriate examples that are critical for understanding the... read more
The textbook was very comprehensive on the subject matter of ethics and law enforcement. Students can expect the content to be thoroughly researched by the authors with excellent and appropriate examples that are critical for understanding the concepts. An index would have been helpful at the end of each chapter, however, terms and major concepts were explained and defined within the chapter sections.
The textbook has an extensive list of references at the end of each chapter which supports the material as being accurate, error-free, and unbiased. The references will assist students who want to do further research on the various topics.
The material in the book is up to date and will not be obsolete within a short period of time. A versioning history section was added to the textbook so that the reader knows the latest changes and/or updates.
The style in which the textbook was written makes it very easy for students to understand. Students are provided with examples that are put into proper context so that the connection between ethical behavior and law enforcement is easily understood.
The framework of the individual chapters, subsections, and content makes it easy for students to follow.
The textbook is divided up into main chapters or headings along with subsections which make it easier to read and understand the concepts. Section six, Policing, includes subsections that are quite lengthy and should be broken up further with appropriate graphs or other visuals/information.
This area is one of the strong features of the textbook. The use of this textbook in the classroom is ideal because of the way the individual topics flow in logical sequence.
There were no significant interface or navigation problems with this textbook. One suggestion might be the addition of more appropriate visuals or graphs to underscore the concepts.
There are some grammatical errors in this textbook, but not to the point where the intent and meaning of the text confuses the reader. For example in section 2.2, "The Problems with Utilitarianism" subsection "Happiness" the word planning was used instead of planting. A second example is in 2.9, "Social Contract Theory" where there are missing words in the second paragraph. Again, these errors do not take away from the meaning of the content.
There is one section, 4.4, on "Person, Gender, and Cultural Differences in Conformity" that contains some information to help students begin to understand the importance of cultural competence and its connection to ethics and policing in communities that are or fast becoming culturally diverse. There should be much more information devoted to this topic in this textbook. The current issues of ethics and law enforcement reveal a demand that this topic be covered with students in Criminal Justice.
I would definitely recommend this textbook to be used for students in Criminal Justice. It is a great introduction to ethics and law enforcement. The content of the book can be applied to American policing as well. The issues are relevant. I would like to see more case studies and scenarios where students can do additional critical thinking exercises by working in groups in the classroom. The textbook is very well done overall.
I was astounded at how comprehensive this book is. read more
I was astounded at how comprehensive this book is.
I did not notice any mistakes, or errors.
Very pertinent in this day and age of Covid restrictions, and the protests going on in America right now.
The book is written by Canadian authors, and references Canadian law, but the ethics apply equally to American policing.
Excellent consistency in terms of terminology and framework.
Very well ordered, and very easy to divide.
Excellent flow. Table of contents was laid out very well. Chapters flow in very good order.
No issues with interface observed.
None noticed in the sections I read. Just a few words are spelled the Canadian way, but it is very clear that they have the same meaning as the American version.
I did not detect any offensive or insensitive language.
I was very impressed with this book. It is extremely comprehensive and would serve as a great text book for a course in Ethics in Policing. Perhaps Berkshire Community College will want to have such a course as an elective. I may suggest it.
This book provides an excellent and effective index/glossary for the information contained therein. However, the content of the book as a whole only contains 8 chapters that could most definitely be expanded upon for greater inclusivity of... read more
This book provides an excellent and effective index/glossary for the information contained therein. However, the content of the book as a whole only contains 8 chapters that could most definitely be expanded upon for greater inclusivity of problems, challenges, and ethical issues facing law enforcement today. Moreover, although there are some U.S scholars cited and some U.S. ethical issues and incidents provided as illustrative examples, the book is written from a Canadian perspective. On the whole, this is not a major issue, given that they are also a democratic nation, but do face some uniquely different challenges than do American law enforcement officers in some instances.
I enjoyed reading this text. It is well written in plain, straight-forward language and poses genuinely thought-provoking questions for students to critically consider. I particularly enjoyed the fact that it was written in such a manner that, when appropriate, both sides of an argument or issue were objectively presented for the reader to weigh and consider based upon supporting evidence and assertions. This tone was set immediately by the authors in Chapter 1 with regard to the pros and cons of the "slippery slope" perspective; a very important one frequently debated in law enforcement.
The one great thing about a book on Ethics in law enforcement (and criminal justice more broadly) is that many of the dilemmas are the same across time and space. They will always be there. Thus, the only real issue is occasionally updating illustrative examples. That being said, however, some of the very best lessons and examples in Law Enforcement Ethics have happened in decades past and will forever remain timeless and important examples.
As noted above, this book was actually enjoyable to read and was clear, concise, and to the point. I think even someone not interested in becoming a future law enforcement practitioner could readily read and understand the contents and understand the discussion.
I felt as if it flowed properly and was not confusing; with the exception of the end. This text seemed to end abruptly without any sort of overall summary or reassessment of what had been discussed. It really did not tie together all of the key concepts throughout the book to explain why ethics are so important to law enforcement and/or how law enforcement might go about improving some of the pervasive lack of ethics in certain areas that has persisted over time. I really felt like the book almost "left me hanging," as it were.
Although this book does not follow the same order as the Ethics text I am currently using, I could see how it might be rearranged to closely model my goals for teaching a course like this.
I would say yes. It goes from general to specific so that the reader is first allowed to glean a foundational perspective of ethics in general, and then transition to applying that understanding to the ethical and moral dilemmas faced by law enforcement specifically.
I had no issues of this sort when reading this text. However, I might add that today's student is far more visual that someone from my generation. Thus, I would note that there were relatively few (to none) graphics and visual aids contained within this text. This may, for some students, be somewhat of a "turn off" leading to lack of interest. More photos, charts, tables & graphics would be helpful.
I did not observe any grammatical errors.
I found this book to be culturally appropriate, and as noted previously, non-biased in writing style as well as race/ethnicity where appropriate.
I would have no problem utilizing this textbook in a "pinch," or if it really made a different in my students lives. But it is definitely not my first choice. Further, it does not appear that it has any associated ancillaries whatsoever, so when at a high teaching load institution, I would have to create everything from scratch. While I often do this anyway, I don't always have the time to, and I would have no choice in the event that I adopted this text. given the importance to ethics for Law Enforcement, this class should be included in every Criminology/Criminal Justice program. I would say that with some "tweaks," this would be a fantastic Open resource for students and faculty alike.
The text begins with a good explanation of the foundations of expected ethical behavior in law enforcement careers and ethical systems. As one moves through the text, the focus expands on ethical dilemmas and ethical issues to individual and... read more
The text begins with a good explanation of the foundations of expected ethical behavior in law enforcement careers and ethical systems. As one moves through the text, the focus expands on ethical dilemmas and ethical issues to individual and agency accountability. Additional topics addressed by the text include investigations due to ethical violations by law enforcement personnel, the role that agency leadership and supervisors are involved with and close with an examination of the law enforcement culture. The text includes The British Columbia Police Code of Ethics as an appendix. The text includes a detailed table of contents, and nearly every chapter of the text includes a brief glossary of key terms.
A reading of the text failed to identify any errors, and the information presented in the text is current and accurate. It is important to note that as one moves through the text, it is clear that the authors addressed the variety of topics in a manner free of bias.
The manner in which key topics are presented in the text will allow it to be current and relevant for many years. Chapters 3 and 5 address various criminal laws, accountability, and investigative methods. The laws and investigative models presented that may need to be supported with readily available supplemental material in the future. As with many law enforcement topics, a book published in 2015 and is reviewed in 2019 may need a small amount of support with recent material, but the foundation of the text is strong.
The text presents key issues surrounding ethics in law enforcement in a clear and lucid manner that includes an effort to increase student's understanding of important terminology. The manner in which the information is presented is easy to follow, and the information follows a logical path.
The organization or framework of the text lends itself to consistency in terms of information exposure, presentation of important concepts, and the connection between ethical behavior by law enforcement officers and societal expectations.
The organization of the text is separated into chunks of information at logical points. Any instructor could use the text and present the material in an order that fits their course and will find that the text is set-up to allow such actions. Several chapters may be too brief for some instructors, and the terminology that students are exposed to may need to be increased, but these efforts can be made simply and added to the text that would serve as the core material for the course.
The overall organization of the text is good, but not all instructors may appreciate the order information is presented. I very much appreciate the information presented in Chapters 1 and 2 and would have liked Chapter 8 on law enforcement culture presented earlier. How the author's present the information in the text is easy to navigate and understand.
The text does not present any concerns related interface and navigation issues. Moving through the text was easy and without hindrance.
No grammatical errors were noted in the text.
The manner in which the information was presented by the authors failed to reveal any obvious bias. The text describes situations and concerns related to the ethical conduct of law enforcement officers that would be acceptable to all genders, races, and ethnicities.
The text appears to be most appropriate for an undergraduate course that is focusing on ethical conduct by police officers. While the text was published in Canada, much of the material being presented is applicable in North America. The text is brief (only eight chapters) and may be best suited as a supplemental text and not as the primary text for a course. If used a the primary course text, additional resources may be necessary especially as the book ages. Finally, the fact that the material is presented in logical chunks of information and a neutral manner, few students would not find this book as anything other than a great resource.
The text starts with a foundation of ethical systems and behavior and then provides the reader specific instances of ethical behavior in law enforcement. It is comprehensive, but also at times too brief in some topic areas i.e. Chapter 3, Ethical... read more
The text starts with a foundation of ethical systems and behavior and then provides the reader specific instances of ethical behavior in law enforcement. It is comprehensive, but also at times too brief in some topic areas i.e. Chapter 3, Ethical Dilemmas and the Process of Effective Resolution. A glossary of terms is located at the end of each chapter and again is brief in nature and may only contain one term.
The content appeared to be accurate, error-free and unbiased.
Much of the material will remain relevant for a long period of time. The foundations of ethical behavior have been similar and consistent for many years. The areas which may not remain relevant are areas such as Chapter 5 Accountability and Investigation and Chapter 7 Discretion, Supervision, and Leadership where new technology will transform law enforcement ethics and behavior in the future. The effects of social media also play an important role in law enforcement ethics and should be discussed in future texts. There are many examples from Canadian police departments that may differ from other police organizations.
It is very succinct and easy to read.
The book was consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
The book is set up in easily readable sections. However, some instructors utilizing the text may find that some of the sections are too brief in format and may use the text as a supplement to another text and/or course material.
The chapter sequence may not fit the personal needs of all instructors. For example, the last chapter, Chapter 8, discusses the Culture of Law Enforcement which may be better suited towards the beginning of the text. Otherwise, the topics are presented in a clear fashion.
The text is free of significant interface issues. When hyperlinks were utilized there were no navigation issues.
The text contains no grammatical errors.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way.
Overall the book covers the topic of Law Enforcement Ethics thoroughly in an easy to read format. This book ideally is a supplement to an undergraduate course on criminal justice ethics or to be used as a stand-alone text in law enforcement academies.
I I really liked the way the book introduced the importance of ethnic behavior first then followed ethnic in law enforcement. This set a framework to talk about the theory and philsophy of ethnic in the following chapter. I would add so... read more
I I really liked the way the book introduced the importance of ethnic behavior first then followed ethnic in law enforcement. This set a framework to talk about the theory and philsophy of ethnic in the following chapter. I would add so material about the impact and importance of ethnic to the entire criminal justice to end the chapter. Law enforcement is the first stage of the criminal justice which influences the public views of the entire system.
The book was informative accurate and unbiased and addresses issues that are current today
The book was written so it could be easily updated or new materials added to the list of issues. The only issues that might be added to the next edition is material on politics and law enforcement with an emphasis on the professional duties.
The book is well written for undergraduate students. However, students using this book should have taken an introduction to law enforcement course so the can relate ethical issues to the operations of policing.
The book is consist during this period of political change that make influence some perception of the behavior. The may want to address the issues of poverty and race in a proactive manner making should that ethical and cultural addresses.
The book is written so that I can use and will build my face to face and online moduules around certain chapters.
The book is organized in the format that I plan to teach my course and I plan to use videos and other materials.
The interface was very good and easy to navigate.
I did a quick read for content issues and did not find any errors.
See comment in last box
I really liked the book and would on add the material on politics, race and culture to the next edition. Black lives matter and gender issues implicit bias might be addressed.
The text is comprehensive yet concise. It covers all pertinent aspects of criminal justice ethics. The text covers a wide range of ethical systems. Various ethical concepts are applied to the three core components of the criminal justice system. read more
The text is comprehensive yet concise. It covers all pertinent aspects of criminal justice ethics. The text covers a wide range of ethical systems. Various ethical concepts are applied to the three core components of the criminal justice system.
No inaccuracies or biases were observed.
I am reviewing this text in 2017, the copyright is 2015. The material seems to be very relevant and up-to-date. This book is a valuable source of information for both criminal justice students and law enforcement practitioners. Because of the veritable explosion of interest and news in the area of criminal justice ethics this book will remain relevant for years to come. At some point in the future a new edition would be appropriate. The text is structured in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement.
As a teaching instrument it is a valuable resource in that it is presented in a clear, succinct, fashion. It is very easy to follow. An example of one of the features that adds to the book's clarity is an alphabetized list of ethical values found in chapter 3.
Each chapter in the book was well organized and consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
The book was structured in such a format that it was easy to read and can be easily separated into modules for classroom discussion. The text was not excessively self-referential.
The topics in the text were presented in a logical and clear order.
No significant interface issues or navigation problems.
No grammatical errors were observed.
The content was presented in a culturally unbiased way. No offensive or insensitive wording was detected.
This publication seems appropriate for any undergraduate level criminal justice ethics college course. This book is well researched and well written. Overall, I like this text as a supplemental resource to other material I am currently using in my criminal justice ethics course. The clarity and conciseness of the material is the strength of this publication.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Ethical Behaviour
- 1.1 The Importance of Ethical Behaviour
- 1.2 Ethics and the Pursuit of a Law Enforcement Career
- 1.3 As Employees in Law Enforcement Agencies
Chapter 2: Ethical Systems
- 2.1 Major Ethical Systems
- 2.2 Utilitarian Ethics
- 2.3 Deontology
- 2.4 Virtue Ethics
- 2.5 Ethics of Care
- 2.6 Egoism
- 2.7 Religion or Divine Command Theory
- 2.8 Natural Law
- 2.9 Social Contract Theory
- 2.10 Rawls' Theory of Justice
- 2.11 Moral Relativism
Chapter 3: Ethical Dilemmas and the Process of Effective Resolution
- 3.1 Ethical Dilemmas
- 3.2 Values
- 3.3 Solving Ethical Dilemmas
Chapter 4: Key Ethical Issues within Law Enforcement
- 4.1 Ethical Issues
- 4.2 The Ethics of Power and Authority
- 4.3 The Milgram Experiment
- 4.4 Person, Gender, and Cultural Differences in Conformity
- 4.5 Ethical Issues during an Investigation
- 4.6 Gratuities
Chapter 5: Accountability and Investigation
- 5.1 Autonomy and Accountability
- 5.2 British Columbia's Police Act
- 5.3 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act
- 5.4 Investigation Models
- 5.5 Independent Investigations Office
Chapter 6: Policing
- 6.1 Noble Cause Corruption
- 6.2 Policing Public Demonstrations and Crowd Control
- 6.3 Sex Offender Notification Laws
- 6.4 Ethics of Private Policing
Chapter 7: Discretion, Supervision, and Leadership
- 7.1 The Ethics Surrounding Discretion
- 7.2 Discretion and Supervision
- 7.3 Selective Enforcement
- 7.4 Loyalty
- 7.5 Ethical Leadership
- 7.6 Transactional and Transformational Leadership
Chapter 8: The Culture of Law Enforcement
- 8.1 Police Subculture
- 8.2 Socialization of Police
- 8.3 Skepticism and Cynicism
- 8.4 Moral Culpability versus Legal Culpability
About the Book
In this book, you will examine the moral and ethical issues that exist within law enforcement. This book will also familiarize you with the basic history, principles, and theories of ethics. These concepts will then be applied to the major components of the criminal justice system: policing, the courts, and corrections. Discussion will focus on personal values, individual responsibility, decision making, discretion, and the structure of accountability. Specific topics covered will include core values, codes of conduct, ethical dilemmas, organizational consequences, liability, and the importance of critical thinking. By the end of this book, you will be able to distinguish and critically debate contemporary ethical issues in law enforcement.
About the Contributors
Steve McCartney, MSc, retired from the Vancouver Police Department after 28 years of service. While with the V.P.D. he served in a variety of capacities including patrol, Detective Constable with Strike Force, Sexual Offence Squad, the Provincial Unsolved Homicide Unit and VPD Homicide Unit. After leaving the V.P.D., he was seconded to the B.C. Police Academy at the Justice Institute of British Columbia as an instructor in Investigation and Patrol. Upon retiring from the V.P.D. he became the Program Chair of Law Enforcement Studies at the Justice Institute of British Columbia, where he currently teaches Applied Ethics in Law Enforcement and Law Enforcement Communication Skills.
Rick Parent, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University, School of Criminology – Police Studies. Rick completed 30 years of service as a police officer and is a former police recruit instructor at the B.C. Police Academy. His research and expertise is in the area of police ethics and accountability and, the police use of lethal force including the phenomena of “suicide by cop”. Dr. Parent is also the subject matter expert/author of the Canadian Police Knowledge Network course entitled “Police Ethics and Accountability”, the co-author of the book entitled “Community-Based Strategic Policing in Canada, 4th edition and, a senior researcher for the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS).