People often say that no other professions demand higher ethical standards than that of law enforcement. Strangers, neighbors, relatives, and friends see every move police officers make both off and on duty. No matter whether there any other positions requiring a similar dedication to protecting the law, it is impossible to deny that there is the highest degree of expectations placed upon every law enforcement officer. They are called upon to make difficult ethical decisions daily. Thus, police officers should be held to higher standards than any other jobs due to the high level of responsibility that the public has trusted them. We will discuss the law enforcement in this freakonomics essay.
The majority of professions do not require making decisions in an instant. Considering the law enforcement field, almost all its employees (juries, judges, and lawyers among others) have enough time to ponder their decisions. Police officers do not have such a privilege. Their decisions are often impulsive, which may lead to people getting killed or their property getting damaged. The U.S. Constitution guarantees that anyone should not be denied property, liberty, or life without the process of law. Of course, there are cases when a law enforcement officer should make instantaneous decisions. However, even in these cases, he or she should be held personally accountable for all their actions and, therefore, they should be held to much higher standards. Thus, due to particularities of a police officer profession, holding it to similar standards than any other jobs can lead to the violation of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Uncouth acts committed by several unprofessional officers can impact the image of the entire law enforcement system. Simple actions like speeding, abuse of authority, misuse of public office, excessive use of force, and theft are all examples of unlawful behavior on the part of people that society has entrusted to protect and serve them. Although the majority of law enforcement officers are dedicated and hard-working people who strive to do the right thing and serve the community, they rarely make the news. On the contrary, any negative event serves to erode community’s trust in the police, making it much more difficult for the law enforcement system to do its job. Thus, it is crucial to hold police officers to higher standards than any other professions, since they represent the image of the entire law enforcement system.
It is difficult to underestimate the complexity of the police system and the context in which it operates. However, the police should always be an example of integrity and accountability. Depending on the state system, the police can be either independent or a direct instrument of government policy. In both cases, police officers are provided with extensive powers to enforce the law. That is why they should be held accountable in different ways. For example, law enforcement officers may be accountable for the way in which they achieve the goals set before them (like productivity and performance). However, they should always be held to higher standards in fulfilling the duty imposed upon them by law, by protecting all individuals against illegal acts and by serving the community. Thus, the high level of accountability of policing is also required by law.
To conclude, law enforcement officers should be held to higher standards than any other professions due to numerous reasons. Firstly, they would violate the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution in any other case. Secondly, police officers represent the image of the entire law enforcement system, and any minor violation discredits it. Thirdly, the highest level of accountability is imposed by law.