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Drugs at a Friend’s House
In this scenario, there is no ethical dilemma since reporting on the occurrence of an unlawful act is the duty of any citizen (regardless of the professional occupation). Since there is no knowledge of the friend being involved in drug use, the situation should be resolved by calling the local police department and reporting the usage of drugs, as dictated by the law. Since an off-duty police officer does not have the legal authority (Flatow, 2014) to stop individuals from doing illegal drugs at a private party, there is a possibility of incorporating professional discretion and placing the lawbreakers under citizen’s arrest until the arrival of the law enforcement. Because the first consequence of not doing anything would be allowing crime to continue, there is a moral responsibility of the off-duty police officer to act as a law-abiding citizen that protects the community.
Accepting a Gift
Accepting a gift from a fellow member of the community is an ethical dilemma that many police officers can face. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with accepting a gift that expresses an appreciation for one’s service rather than a direct “payment.” If the scenario included the officer providing some specific services to the owner of a small market (e.g. helping to solve a case or providing surveillance for the market), the gift of a fruit basket and a $30 certificate could be considered as a direct payment for the provided services. There is also no need in applying professional discretion because the gift in the scenario is just a sign of respect and appreciation of a community member for the service of a police officer in the protection of their neighborhood.
Despite the fact that some may apply the concept of bribery to this situation, and despite the fact that bribery has become a tremendous problem for the law enforcement (Goodfellow, 2015), there is no association with the act of gift-giving by the market’s owner. In contrast to the intentions behind bribes given to the law enforcement (covering up for a crime, avoiding punishment, etc.); the scenario describes a community member being appreciative of the services of the police officer. In the described situation, it would be best for the police officer to accept the fruit basket for his family and avoid taking the $30 gift card since it could raise some questions about the relationships with the market owner.
According to Fuller’s (1975) The Morality of Law, there is a need in having open conversations and spreading knowledge within a society. This scenario correlates with the idea of bias and the lack of knowledge about the representatives of sexual minorities. With the legalization of same-sex marriages in the US and the move towards an accepting society, the fact that Officer James Davis is asking to be assigned to a heterosexual partner speaks about his biased beliefs. While there is a moral problem of Davis not respecting the minorities, the supervisor should not abide by his requirement and try to make the team of Jones and Davis work together. The supervisor should apply professional discretion and make sure that Jones does not experience any pressure or disrespect from his partner. Overall, there is a need in promoting acceptance in police departments to avoid similar situations.
Flatow, N. (2014). The incredible power of ‘off duty’ cops. Web.
Fuller, L. (1975). The morality of law. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Goodfellow, M. (2015). Police officers reveal the worst bribes they’ve been offered. Web.