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Criminal Justice Papers | Code of Ethics in Jacksonville Sheriff's Office


Code of Ethics in Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office AbstractThe work of law enforcement officers is governed by Code of Ethics that determine their conduct while in service. Serving humankind is based on their intricate knowledge of the law and ab...Read More


~Posted on Apr 2019

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Code of Ethics in Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office&nb...

Code of Ethics in Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

 

Abstract

The work of law enforcement officers is governed by Code of Ethics that determine their conduct while in service. Serving humankind is based on their intricate knowledge of the law and ability to exert their power without stepping on anyone’s toes. The trust and respect by the public need to be earned through offering effective service to all residents regardless of their profile. It is based on this that Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has an ethical code that guides all its law enforcement officers and employees. AT times though, ethical challenges are experienced, and it is up to the leader to guide the team towards solving the cases and fostering a good relationship between the agency and the public that they serve.

The fundamental duty of law enforcement officers is to serve humankind, and respect and protect their constitutional rights to justice, equality, and liberty (National Institute of Justice, 2016). They are governed by a code of ethics that ensure the peaceful coexistence between officers of the law and the community they serve. It ensures that the integrity of the job is maintained. Just like other law enforcement agencies, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is governed by a code of ethics. This paper will analyze the Code of ethics that is currently in play in Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, ethical challenges discovered in the agency and possible solutions on the issues.

Agency’s Ethical code

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office ethical codes specifically identity all officers and employees of the agency as public servants that must perform faithfully and efficiently their duties under the local, state and national government laws. They are expected to follow the code of ethics to the core and maintain respect to the citizens as their priority. The agency passed the first chapter of the Ethics code in 1999 with the aim of creating a more responsible government and a guide to public servants o their conduct. The Ethics Code used by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has improved over time with the most recent revision being passed on January 2018 (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, 2018).  They have been keen to incorporate existing laws and coordinating them with behavioral guidelines that aim at a high standard is service provision. Each law enforcement officer and employee of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has the responsibility to create a better government through upholding the highest level of integrity and committing to serve citizens and hence earning their trust and respect.

As of 2018, the Ethics code of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office goal is to ensure the agency preserves and maintains integrity in its service to the public and the process of decision making. They identify the need to put forth any expenditure, activity, and identity of people who aim to influence the officers and employees of the agency. The code stipulates the need for an Office of Inspector general whose responsibility will be to ensure efficiency in the agency and promote its economy. The office will be in charge of all operations and hence identify abuse, waste, and fraud cases. The various chapters cover different sectors that define the service of the employees of the agency (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, 2018).

All law enforcement officers have the responsibility to know the laws of the state of Florida, international law, federal laws, and national law and to abide by them. They are expected to maintain the constitutional rights of citizens. The Ethic code stipulates their duties in exercising their police power following the federal and state constitution (National Institute of Justice, 2016). All officers and employees of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office receive ethical training biannual as specified by the Ethics Code. Another essential part covered by the code are the constraints on their behavior as a result of being officers. This ensures fairness in conduct in all matters and hence general confidence in the law enforcement system. The code also states the actions to be taken when an officer or an employee violates the ethical codes (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, 2018). 

Ethical challenges discovered

The power police officers have on their ability to earn the trust and respect for citizens when they are on and off duty. They are under constant judgment by society, and this puts too much pressure on them. Their social life is always on the limelight. As can be seen in the case of police officers in Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, this puts them under a lot of pressure. Ethical issues arise with the expectation that they should always adhere to the law and respect the residents. This leads to numerous instances of conflicts between society and law enforcement (Conarck, 2017).

The greatest challenge that is being experienced by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is racism complaints from citizens. Numerous charges have been filed in the agency about racist police officers. According to Jacksonville Newspaper, there are several investigations concerning racism in the agency. An example is jaywalking tickets that are mainly given to black people. The laws of the state offer 28 different distinctions of legal walking. Racial discrimination is so quite widespread on the issuance of the ticket. It is hard to determine the truth of these claims are law enforcement officers are protected by their discretionary stance. Other racial controversies have also hit the agency including the arrests of activists and the controversial police shootings.

Ethical proposals

Law enforcement officers have the ethical duty to maintain the legal rights of all citizens regardless of their skin color. Any law enforcement officer, incusing those from Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, have the responsibility to respect and propel the constitutional rights of all residents. They are expected to keep their private life and opinion unsullied to the service they offer. They are supposed not to act officiously and ensure that their personal prejudices animosities, friendship, and feelings do not affect the service their offer.  Based on this, more stringent rules need to be put in place to reduce racial profiling in service provision. Training of officers should be strict in ending this prejudice and hence ensuring that all residents are treated equally, regardless of their race, social status or religion. Including a bias, training will ensure that law enforcement officers have the skills needed to relate to diverse residents. The training should help them focus on negative perceptions and attitudes that exist between residents and police officers (Conarck & Sanders, 2018).

Leadership plays a huge role in ensuring equitable policing (National Institute of Justice, 2016). Through effective leadership, law enforcement officers identify the right traits to copy from their leaders. Leaders also direct them towards making a decision that is ethical. The lead law enforcement officer at Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has the responsibility to keep all other officers in check and ensure that they follow the code of conduct that governed the agency. They also have the responsibility to ensure a good relationship between agency employees and the society they serve. This makes service more natural and more effective. 

Conclusion

The fundamental duty of law enforcement officers is only effectively carried out if the officer follows the code of ethics that govern policing. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has been effective in enacting an Ethical code that is taught to all their officers. The ethics code of conduct stipulates their responsibility in serving the public and developing a relationship of trust and respect with citizens. At times though some law enforcers face ethical challenges mainly based on the high expectation the society has on them. Officers at Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office have also been accused of profiling wrongdoers before arresting them. It is expected that the rights of citizens are maintained by law enforcers regardless of the race, religion, and social class of the resident. Leaders of the agency should make bias training a requirement for all officers. They should also cultivate a good relationship between the employees of the agency and the public they serve. 

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