Ethical Dilemma 1: Gun Rally
One afternoon you receive an anonymous tip that a local gun
advocacy group is going to hold a rally in the town square
the next day. The group hasn’t applied for a permit to have
such a rally, but they’ve held such events in the past and
they’ve always been peaceful. You strongly support Article 2
of the Constitution and the beliefs of the gun advocacy group,
and you don’t want to do anything that will hurt them or
their members. You believe the anonymous tipster is providing
accurate information, but you can’t be absolutely sure. You
also believe no one else in your police department is aware
of the impending event.
What do you do? Give reasons to support your decision.
Ethical Dilemma 2: Chief’s Orders
Assume that in response to question 1 you decided to advise
your fellow police officers about the tip you received. You
gather a group of officers together the next day in case the
unlawful rally is held. As the gun advocacy group begins to
appear on the town square green, you confer with the chief
officer on duty that day. She tells you to wait until the entire
group has gathered and then storm the area, with tear gas
and billy clubs. You’re further instructed to arrest everyone
you can and to charge them with unlawful assembly, trespassing,
rioting, and anything else you can come up with.
She also makes some very derogatory comments about anyone
who supports such a group, claiming they are terrorists
and thugs. You personally disagree with the chief and believe
she’s acting both improperly and immorally, allowing her
personal beliefs to interfere with her legal responsibilities
as a police officer.
What do you do? Do you follow her orders? Why or why not?
Explain your answer.
Ethical Dilemma 3: Accepting Favors
You’re asked to investigate the gun advocacy group and their
activities. To do so, you need to work with the police department
in the next county. After contacting their chief, you’re
assigned to work with another seasoned officer who has also
been conducting some preliminary investigations of the group.
You decide to do some field investigations together the following
day. While you’re out doing your investigations, the other
officer decides to stop at the local convenient market for a
sandwich and coffee. He picks up what he wants, waves to
the owner, and returns to the police vehicle—without paying
for the items. When you ask him about it, he says that he
has an “arrangement” with the owner and not to worry about
it. He explains that he and the store owner help each other
out (meaning the officer provides additional protection to the
store in exchange for the food). Finally, he says, “If you’re
hungry, go inside and pick up what you want.”
What do you do and what concerns do you have? Explain
Ethical Dilemma 4: Reporting a Deal
You happen to be in the courthouse during the trial of some
of the members of the gun advocacy group. As you walk by
the chambers of the judge who is presiding over the trial of
this case, you overhear the judge and the chief prosecutor
discussing the case. The judge is talking about one of the
defendants in the case and is making some very derogatory
comments. In the past, you’ve often appeared in trials before
this judge, and you’ve always felt he has been fair and impartial
to all involved. In this case, however, you’re concerned that
the judge and prosecutor may be engaging in inappropriate
activity. This situation is particularly troublesome because
the trial is proceeding at the request of all parties as a
bench trial, with the decision being rendered by the judge
without the benefit of a jury.
What would you do? Explain your answer.
Ethical Dilemma 5: Breaking Prison Rules
In the course of your investigation of the gun advocacy group,
you have to go to your local county prison to question one of
the group members being held there pending trial. This particular
individual has been a problem inmate and is being held
in solitary confinement. He’s to have no contact with other
members of the group. You meet with him in a private interrogation
room with no one else in attendance. He knows that
you generally support the group, and he does his best to
answer your questions, although his answers aren’t always as
complete as you would like. At the end of the questioning—
just before he rises to leave the room—he slips you a note
in a sealed envelope and asks that you give it to someone
who is involved in the gun advocacy group. He says it’s very
important and implores you to just hand it to the person or
drop it in the mail. He then leaves the interrogation room.
What do you do? Explain your answer.