Justice and crime
An Ethical Police Officer
An ethical police officer is one who never betrays his or her integrity by engaging in unethical behaviors and who is able to hold himself or herself accountable for any actions that he/she undertakes. He/she is that person who upholds the rule of law and acts impartially, justly and looks at the interest of those people whom he/she serves. An ethical police officer promotes understanding and preserves the dignity of human beings.
Unethical Law Enforcement Officer
An unethical police officer is an officer who even upon taking oath of office/work engages in acts that do not depict the characters of police officers. By this I mean, it is he/she who serves with partiality and engages in antisocial and unethical behavior, an example of this is how Ernest Cecil, a police officer at metro police assisted his nephew who was a drug dealer. It is indicated that he and another officer stopped a cocaine dealer, handcuffed the man and took the 3kgs of cocaine, which was given to Cecil to sell on the street. This shows unethical conducts of the officer.
Appropriateness of an officer accepting a free cup of coffee
Though it has not been proved that accepting free coffee leads to increase or reduction of corruption, there is a notion that accepting a cup of coffee or eating a discounted meal may amount to the law enforcing officer acting with partiality towards the person who offers the cup of coffee. The act is inappropriate since it may degrade the role of the police. The officer getting free coffee or discounted lunch may be required to protect the business owner. The seller will do so expecting some preferential treatment from the officer on duty. By accepting the gratuities, the possibilities of being corrupted are many. By accepting free coffee, the owner of the coffee shop expects some preferential treatment by being protected the time the police are in the inn. The continued receiving of gratuities will amount to the officer falling on a slippery rope and become corrupt in future. The cost does not matter since whether a cup of coffee costs $5 or $ 1000 or a gratuity of $1000, it may lead to the police officer compromising his nature.
Whether a bad act makes a good law enforcement officer ethical or unethical
I think the end justifies the means. If a good law enforcing officer does a bad act, the results are negative consequences of the act. This being the case, a bad act explained in whatever means cannot produce ethical judgment, though it may seem so. What people do is to rationalize issues and assume that a bad act done can be justified to be ethical, which is a fallacy.
Should one compromise to be part of a team?
However good and important it might be to be in a team, one should not compromise his/her values in order to fit in the group. Take an example of a team that contains drug abusers of a peer group that smokes. Should a person smoke in order to be part of the group? Of course not. A person should always live by his/her principles. Good behaviors can be emulated but bad behaviors cannot be condoned.
Ethics of misrepresenting oneself
Utilitarianism theory advocates for an individual to undertake ethical principles that maximizes the happiness of the majority. In utilitarianism, the consequences of the acts matters more compared to the motive of the agent. For example, if one misrepresents him/herself to be a cop where in actual sense he/she is not and prevents unethical behavior, could this not be a good idea. Or if a law enforcing agent misrepresents him/herself as a drug dealer and arrests drug sellers, is it not fair and better since vices will be minimized in the society. In the light of the above, misrepresenting oneself during an undercover mission can be ethical as long as the moral standards are not violated. Under the utilitarianism theory, as a public servant, one is most loyal to the state, then the citizens and then to the force. The rationale behind this is that the agent that means to uphold the rule of law, the state, is given the most priority, then the law enforcement agency because it gives the mandate to the officers to undertake their duties. The last people who are given consideration are the citizens because they are supposed to be the law abiders.