Does policy or law dictate an appropriate response, or does it require that professional discretion be applied?

Lon L. Fuller, former Carter Professor of Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School, observed in The Morality of Law, “Even if a man is answerable only to his conscience, he will answer more responsibly if he is compelled to articulate principles on which he acts.”

Source: Lon L. Fuller. (1975). The Morality of Law. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. (p. 159)

 

Assignment:

In this Assignment you are required to apply Fuller’s Principle, as cited above, and respond to three real-life scenarios regarding ethical decision making within the field of criminal justice and policing.

In considering each of the three scenarios, you are asked to respond to the following four questions:

  1. Is there a moral problem presented in the scenario? If so, what is it?
  2. Does policy or law dictate an appropriate response, or does it require that professional discretion be applied?
  3. What criteria (considerations), principles, and consequences should guide your decision?
  4. What would you do? Articulate, justify, and defend your position.

First, read each scenario. Second, analyze the ethical dilemma within the context of the four questions specified above. Third, respond in writing to the each of the four questions.

The entire paper should be 2 pages in length. Each essay response should be brief, not more than one page. You may use references to support your responses, but the essay responses must be original.

Scenario 1 – Drugs at a Friend’s House

You are an off-duty police officer at a party at the house of an old high school friend. Everyone is still in the backyard drinking. You go into the house to use the restroom and observe several of your friend’s friends (whom you do not know) snorting cocaine. You do not know whether or not your friend has knowledge that people are using drugs in his house.

Scenario 2 – Accepting a Gift

It is the day before Christmas and you are a community police officer. An owner of a small market has been friendly to you throughout the year, and has participated faithfully in community crime-prevention meetings. He calls you behind the counter and gives you a fruit basket for your family, and a Christmas card with a $30 gift certificate as an expression of his appreciation.

Scenario 3 – Homosexual Partner

You are a supervisor on a medium-size police department. Office Ted Jones is an excellent officer and has been on the force for 16 years. He is also a homosexual and hangs out at a known gay bar in his off time. You have two person patrols and Jones was recently teamed with Officer James Davis. Officer Davis comes to you and asks to be assigned to another partner because Jones is a homosexual.

Respond to each scenario using the four (4) questions listed above.

 

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