Read more about Ethics in Law Enforcement

Ethics in Law Enforcement

(11 reviews)

Steve McCartney

Rick Parent, Simon Fraser University

Copyright Year: 2015

Publisher: BCcampus

Language: English

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Reviewed by Christopher Sharp, Assistant Professor, Newberry College on 9/28/22

The book does a great job of introducing basic ethical views and applying them to the job of policing. However, many of the discussions are superficial and there would be a great deal of additional reading and work for my course. There is a lack... read more

Reviewed by Wendy Perkins, Assistant Professor, Marshall University on 12/30/21

The book grounds itself in ethical theories and an application of these theories to several facets of law enforcement activities. Students are offered an examination of ethics related to general policing practices, individual police officer... read more

Reviewed by Cathryn Lavery, Professor of Criminal Justice, Pace University on 8/18/21

This book, although only eight chapters, provides the reader/student an excellent overview of ethical systems and how ethics is applied to law enforcement. Although written from a North American perspective (primarily Canadian) it does sync with... read more

Reviewed by Adina Giannelli, Assistant Professor, Holyoke Community College on 6/1/21

Ethics in Law Enforcement offers a concise and accessible introduction to the topic of ethics in law enforcement, in a Canadian context. Learning objectives at outset of book are clearly worded; many chapters include thorough list of... read more

Reviewed by Ronald Brevard, Professor Criminal Justice, Middlesex Community College on 6/22/20

The textbook was very comprehensive on the subject matter of ethics and law enforcement. Students can expect the content to be thoroughly researched by the authors with excellent and appropriate examples that are critical for understanding the... read more

Reviewed by Patrick Barry, Adjunct Professor, Berkshire Community College on 6/19/20

I was astounded at how comprehensive this book is. read more

Reviewed by Connie Koski, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Longwood University on 4/5/19

This book provides an excellent and effective index/glossary for the information contained therein. However, the content of the book as a whole only contains 8 chapters that could most definitely be expanded upon for greater inclusivity of... read more

Reviewed by Paul Bowdre, Director of Assessment/Coordinator of Criminal Justice Positions, Oakland City University on 2/26/19

The text begins with a good explanation of the foundations of expected ethical behavior in law enforcement careers and ethical systems. As one moves through the text, the focus expands on ethical dilemmas and ethical issues to individual and... read more

Reviewed by Andrew Kozal, Lecturer, Bowling Green State University on 2/1/18

The text starts with a foundation of ethical systems and behavior and then provides the reader specific instances of ethical behavior in law enforcement. It is comprehensive, but also at times too brief in some topic areas i.e. Chapter 3, Ethical... read more

Reviewed by George Wilson, Professor, North Carolina Central University on 2/1/18

I I really liked the way the book introduced the importance of ethnic behavior first then followed ethnic in law enforcement. This set a framework to talk about the theory and philsophy of ethnic in the following chapter. I would add so... read more

Reviewed by William Lopez, Assistant Probessor, L.E. Fletcher Technical Community College on 6/20/17

The text is comprehensive yet concise. It covers all pertinent aspects of criminal justice ethics. The text covers a wide range of ethical systems. Various ethical concepts are applied to the three core components of the criminal justice system. read more

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Ethical Behaviour

  • 1.1 The Importance of Ethical Behaviour
  • 1.2 Ethics and the Pursuit of a Law Enforcement Career
  • 1.3 As Employees in Law Enforcement Agencies

Chapter 2: Ethical Systems

  • 2.1 Major Ethical Systems
  • 2.2 Utilitarian Ethics
  • 2.3 Deontology
  • 2.4 Virtue Ethics
  • 2.5 Ethics of Care
  • 2.6 Egoism
  • 2.7 Religion or Divine Command Theory
  • 2.8 Natural Law
  • 2.9 Social Contract Theory
  • 2.10 Rawls' Theory of Justice
  • 2.11 Moral Relativism

Chapter 3: Ethical Dilemmas and the Process of Effective Resolution

  • 3.1 Ethical Dilemmas
  • 3.2 Values
  • 3.3 Solving Ethical Dilemmas

Chapter 4: Key Ethical Issues within Law Enforcement

  • 4.1 Ethical Issues
  • 4.2 The Ethics of Power and Authority
  • 4.3 The Milgram Experiment
  • 4.4 Person, Gender, and Cultural Differences in Conformity
  • 4.5 Ethical Issues during an Investigation
  • 4.6 Gratuities

Chapter 5: Accountability and Investigation

  • 5.1 Autonomy and Accountability
  • 5.2 British Columbia's Police Act
  • 5.3 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act
  • 5.4 Investigation Models
  • 5.5 Independent Investigations Office

Chapter 6: Policing

  • 6.1 Noble Cause Corruption
  • 6.2 Policing Public Demonstrations and Crowd Control
  • 6.3 Sex Offender Notification Laws
  • 6.4 Ethics of Private Policing

Chapter 7: Discretion, Supervision, and Leadership

  • 7.1 The Ethics Surrounding Discretion
  • 7.2 Discretion and Supervision
  • 7.3 Selective Enforcement
  • 7.4 Loyalty
  • 7.5 Ethical Leadership
  • 7.6 Transactional and Transformational Leadership

Chapter 8: The Culture of Law Enforcement

  • 8.1 Police Subculture
  • 8.2 Socialization of Police
  • 8.3 Skepticism and Cynicism
  • 8.4 Moral Culpability versus Legal Culpability

Ancillary Material

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  • About the Book

    In this book, you will examine the moral and ethical issues that exist within law enforcement. This book will also familiarize you with the basic history, principles, and theories of ethics. These concepts will then be applied to the major components of the criminal justice system: policing, the courts, and corrections. Discussion will focus on personal values, individual responsibility, decision making, discretion, and the structure of accountability. Specific topics covered will include core values, codes of conduct, ethical dilemmas, organizational consequences, liability, and the importance of critical thinking. By the end of this book, you will be able to distinguish and critically debate contemporary ethical issues in law enforcement.

    About the Contributors


    Steve McCartney, MSc, retired from the Vancouver Police Department after 28 years of service. While with the V.P.D. he served in a variety of capacities including patrol, Detective Constable with Strike Force, Sexual Offence Squad, the Provincial Unsolved Homicide Unit and VPD Homicide Unit. After leaving the V.P.D., he was seconded to the B.C. Police Academy at the Justice Institute of British Columbia as an instructor in Investigation and Patrol. Upon retiring from the V.P.D. he became the Program Chair of Law Enforcement Studies at the Justice Institute of British Columbia, where he currently teaches Applied Ethics in Law Enforcement and Law Enforcement Communication Skills.

    Rick Parent, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University, School of Criminology – Police Studies.   Rick completed 30 years of service as a police officer and is a former police recruit instructor at the B.C. Police Academy. His research and expertise is in the area of police ethics and accountability and, the police use of lethal force including the phenomena of “suicide by cop”. Dr. Parent is also the subject matter expert/author of the Canadian Police Knowledge Network course entitled “Police Ethics and Accountability”, the co-author of the book entitled “Community-Based Strategic Policing in Canada, 4th edition and, a senior researcher for the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS).

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