Ethical Response and Professionalism In Emotionally charged situations
Do law enforcement officers ever break from being professional and let their emotions lead in their decision making? Well I’ll start by saying, an officer is a single individual whose intellect and emotions are solely his or hers unless they allow another person or group (fraternal order members / civilian of any creed or color) influence them. It simply means generalization should be out of the question because every cop can think for his or her self. All humans have emotions no matter what you do for a living. The question is do you allow your emotions to take charge, pushing your ethical boundaries to its limits way beyond going back leaving chaos and irreversible actions in its path? Anger is a common emotion in the work place due to frustration with the person you are dealing with. Sometimes the other party ignites the tension while other times you create the tension or allow it to grow. But where does an officer draw the line between anger, vengeance and breaking code of conduct?
Lets take for example a situation were the officer has the upper hand. The peace officer pulls over a vehicle for traffic violation.
Officer: Do you know why I pulled you over?
Civilian: Did you already forget?
Ok that is extreme, what if the civilian was just trying to debate on whether he or she violated a traffic law. The cop has a choice, issue a citation and move on or get in a “winner takes all verbal contest”, which becomes heated and emotional. The driver is thinking of how to get your a** wrote up, the cop is thinking what else can I get this guy for. His eyes make a quick sweep through the car because that is part of his training. Oh Oh shinning object. He makes a rash decision to get him out of the car, he is not sure of what he saw, but this is his ” way ” into the guys car to get him for something else. whereas if the situation was calm, he would try to engage in a longer conversation buying time to observe the shiny object more closely.
Since the driver knows he does not have a weapon. He Gets angry, steps out of the car confronting the cop.
Officer: Get back, Get Back!
Driver: You f*cking pig trying to frame me, because of a stupid ticket.
Officer: Taser! Taser!!
He gets booked for non compliance and trying to assault a cop. Traffic ticket thrown out because the officer observed it from his rear view mirror, while the other stuff was caught on dashcam. No shiny object recovered. Mistakes:
Officer: Could have controlled the situation from the beginning by keeping emotions low.
Driver: Driver was pissed because a ticket was almost upgraded to a gun charge, emotions took over because he was shocked by the accusation. Biggest mistake was he approached the officer like he would a fellow civilian.
How should this have gone. Considering professionalism and ethical boundaries
If the situation was calm, the driver could have gotten a warning or still a ticket.
If the cop got angry, the driver is leaving with a ticket and no chance for a warning. ” – That is where it should have ended.”