Law enforcement personnel often face situations where they have to choose between conforming to their principal duties as prescribed by regulatory and administrative guidelines, and using their value judgment in the best interest of justice to alleviate crime from society (Walker, 2006). Intelligence and police detectives are often caught in ethical dilemmas while attempting to make a rational choice between these two options.
Should the detective remain silent and abide by the Canons of Police Ethics (1992), which require the officer to keep secret confidential information unless revelation is necessary in the performance of his duly? What if he says nothing to warn his partner and other investigating officers? Where does the detective's principal duty lie? Should the detective protect his ethical codes, protect the investigation, protect the rights of the person or interest.” protect his family relationships, or adhere to the Canons of Police Ethics? How can the detective determine the proper ethical course? More importantly, how can we best prepare law enforcement officers to untangle the Gordian knot of complicated ethical dilemmas?
This paper presents a case for an ethical dilemma involving investigation of a murder of a prostitute. The case scenario is first briefly discussed and then is critically examined in light of ethical literature on the subject.
A local prostitute is allegedly murdered by her pimp who has been subject of numerous assaultive complaints in the past. However, the pimp has been, to date, escaped any legal proceedings, and is not convicted for any charges as yet. However, the murder of one of his prostitutes puts the investigation detectives into a strong suspicion. It is assumed that the pimp killed her because she was thinking of leaving him and quitting the life. One of the investigation officers believe that if he can get the pimp of the street then the city will be all the better for it.
The initial investigation reveals that the victim had been to the hospital for several beatings at the hand of the pimp. However, when enquired about her torture, the victim put the blame on her 'Date' rather than her pimp. However, the suspicion looses grip when the evidence suggests that another suspect has murdered the prostitute. However, knowing that the pimp had been, in past, evaded legal holds; one of the police officers fabricates the evidence to put pimp for the trial. The other officer is aware of the pimp's innocence of this crime. However, he also knows that the pimp has committed numerous crimes and walked every time. The officers get into an ethical dilemma, knowing that it is morally wrong to send an innocent man to prison, but is he really innocent? We discuss these questions in light of theories relating to investigation ethics, role of detective police officer, ramifications of evidence fabrication, and police ethics and dilemmas.
Role of Detective Police Officers
Most large metropolitan police departments organize their detective units around three central details (Albanese, ...