Ethical Considerations and Professional Responsibility Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Cultural beliefs transmitted by media include such notions as police officers are heroes. In reality, the media works in strengthening and affirming the cultural notions present in a society.

It holds true particularly for the messages about the ethics involved in the crime and justice incidents transmitted by the media. Many people do not experience crime firsthand or the system through which justice is brought. In this case, it is the media that helps to communicate the relevant information and implications of the ethics of a crime and its justification to the general public. Thus, in order to understand the system of ethics in policing the information portrayed by the media needs to be taken into account. Thus, any content conveyed by the media about the system is considered to be right and an accurate sample of reality. Thus this is how the present notions about crime and criminal justice are affirmed and are taken to be true (Mason, 2010).

As the media outlets have the power to be of considerable impact on the perceptions of the people about the police, it is important to assess the kinds of content portrayed by media sources either displayed intentionally or unintentionally. A number of times, nevertheless, the content portrayed through about crime and criminal justice is not right or representative of real life or ethics. It can be biased or misleading and can also strengthen existing cultural beliefs that may be incorrect (Mason, 2010).

Incorrect media messages are significant because of the influence such content can have on the public. As has been stated before, many people get their information about the ethical system in policing and crime through media instead of experiencing it on their own or inquiring from other people. Thus, their understanding of the ethics in dealing with crime and justice system is reliant upon what the media depicts about the topic. If the messages portrayed by media are flawed, it helps to inculcate the flawed comprehension in the public (Mason, 2010).

This is dangerous as it hampers the right kind of change, helps to nurture notions against the police that are unjustified ultimately affecting the behaviour of the police officers that can bode nothing good to the overall health and safety of the society. Prospective police officers entering into the field may also have a flawed understanding about the institution and thus may have to undergo severe consequences if their belief is reflected in their practices (Mason, 2010).

The person harbouring inaccurate notions about the institution of ethics in policing may have to undergo grave consequences. If he meets up with a police officer, the person may have to give up their freedom or may have to experience entire reliance on the country when in front of the courts. If such a person exists on the jury, improper services may be provided. All of these can translate into serious consequences for the person himself or for other people (Mason, 2010).

Incorrect ethical content about the practice of policing can be identified in a number of areas. For instance, an article of Christian Science Monitor apparently stated that police officers are not honest and are likely to sideline or harm minorities. The article went on to say that a huge gap existed between the police and the minorities (Marks, 1999).

The text present on the depictions of media about the police almost unanimously coincides on the opinion that the institution as depicted through the media and its reality is quite apart. Even though the nature of the institutions portrayed through television programs is not correct, the criminal events that took place are shown as if happening in real time. This is a kind of formatting and is carried out through the process of editing. It enables the program to convince the audience about the accuracy and authenticity of the show (Cavender & Deutsch, 2007; Doyle, 1998; Eschholz, Mallard, Flynn, 2004; Kasinsky, 1994; Prosise & Johnson, 2004). As the audience comes to recognize that what is being shown on the television about the events is indeed true (Doyle, 1998; Kasinsky, 1994), it assumes so about the portrayer of institution as well, and, therefore the difference between what might be fiction and what is reality becomes significant.

Police role and behaviour:

Certain types of media depict that belief about the law and order situation is images of crime and police, and the ethics involved thereof. As these images present the dominant cultural standpoint, the viewers do not always take them seriously (Cavender & Deutsch, 2007). A number of features are embedded in the ideology of law and order. Firstly, the society is in a fix as crime rate continues to increase, particularly street crime. Secondly, true justice is sometimes not possible to enforce when the due process becomes problematic. Thirdly, liberal policy restricts the policy. Moreover, there is always a need to have more police officers (Doyle, 1998). Lastly, it is believed that an element of class and race discrimination also exist as the criminals on the street who don't have the required ethical perspective are taken to come from a lower class (Doyle, 1998).

The law and order ideology is also backed by what is shown on television about police and their ethical responsibilities and roles. The aggressive kinds of crime are overly depicted in the media instead of real crime rates (Cavender & Deutsch, 2007; Doyle, 1998; Eschholz et al., 2004; Oliver, 1994; Prosise & Johnson, 2004; Ready et al., 2008; Scharrer, 2001). Simultaneously the same television programs depict police officers are those individuals who are fighting against the crimes (Kasinsky, 1994). Furthermore, portrayals of aggressive crime and cleared studies can develop misleading hopes from the prospective and the newly inducted police officers. People may come to believe that crime cases are solved as quickly as they are shown on television. In reality, the newly inducted police officers may find themselves spending most of their working time carrying out administrative tasks instead of catching criminals (Kasinsky, 1994).

Even more so, the duties of police when contrasted with what media portrays is not necessarily centred on fighting crime. Most of the time, the police officers have to carry out activities related to maintaining order in the city instead of brandishing out their guns and chasing criminals on the roads. When they actually are fighting crime, they are not as aggressive as shown on television in order to minimize the level of disruption in the society (Mason, 2010).

In real life, police officers do not have as much freedom in being as aggressive as they want because they are mostly ethically bound by human rights even for the criminals. Also when the media portrays police officers as being really aggressive and warding off criminals from every crime scene, it creates an unhealthy expectation on the part of the society who expect police officers to be super-heroes who can save their society from any and everything and tend to forget they are human beings working like any other regular employee in any kind of a job with its moral codes and restrictions. Also the level of authority a police officer has is also misjudged. Most people believe that police officers always have the authority to make any decisions they want. This is not true in real life (Mason, 2010).


Fostering an ethical environment in the work place is of critical significance. The duties of police officers revolve around maintenance of peace and order. Thus, they are required to take decisions independently sometimes and it is then, that ethics come into play. The police officers have to identify who do they owe a duty to? Do their personal incentives come before the interests of the society and the general public? Nevertheless, threats to personal safety should also be considered (Smith, 2009).

The past numbers of years have seen an ever increasing amount of events happening that revolve around police engaged in misconduct and brutality. Because of such events there is an increasing need to explore and delve into the ethical nature of such events and to identify the level of integrity existent in the police officers. Even though initiatives have to taken to remedy the situation, misconduct by the police continues to be a cause of concern (Smith, 2009).

A quantitative design was employed by a number of researchers in the past to evaluate if a connection is present between the moral development of the officer and his emotional intelligence to understand the situation making use of a correlation design. According to researches if the ethical standpoints and the emotional intelligence of police officers are understood, it may become easier to gain an insight about the causes leading to misconduct and brutality by the police officers (Ashkanasy, Hartel, & Daus, 2002; Barchard, 2001).

Without a doubt, not a lot of professions make that high a priority of moral demands as with police officers. Nonetheless, the administration of the police without considering a lot of factors empowers, as part of their routine, the…

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