While I was pursuing my degree in philosophy, I avoided ethics classes as much as possible. I can’t remember what it was that really put me off, I am sure it was a professor that made ethics unattainable as a concept, but all I remember was my abject aversion to anything that seemed “ethicsish”.
I don’t regret how I felt, but I am grateful that I have learned the truth.
One of the first classes I had to teach at Germanna Community College was Ethics in Law Enforcement. After teaching that class, I absolutely fell in love with ethics. I didn’t like the book in the least and finally tossed it out and developed the class myself.
A few semesters later, I am teaching the class again. The director of the program rejected the book I preferred because it was “too small” and opted for another text that was wholly inappropriate for the class. Again, I found myself teaching the class, using the book more for reference and back fill.
Now I am fascinated with ethics, especially how they are applied in law enforcement. One of the greatest issues I have had with some of the books I have read is how they assume that cops are naturally prone to corruption. That really troubles me.
I have flirted with the idea of going back to graduate school specifically to get the credentials to write an ethics book. A book that is not only based on common philosophical theories and is attainable to all levels of students, but also comes from the perspective that cops are good people with a few that occasionally fall. Too many books I have read focus on the corruption of law enforcement officers, instead of looking at the overwhelming majority that are not.
This is important to me. I know a lot of good people that are in law enforcement and seldom do we hear about them. I think it is time that we talk about the good in LE and what their ethics are, and why and how they maintain them.