POLICE ETHICS AND POLICE COMMUNITY RELATIONS
FOUNDATIONS OF POLICE ETHICS
INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
The word ethic, now in revived use by some philosophical writers instead of ethics, refers to the philosophy of morals or the standard character set up by any race or nation. Ethics on the other hand refers to the study and philosophy of human conduct, emphasizing the determination of right and wrong or to the basic principles of right action. Some modern day authors define ethics as the study and analysis of what constitutes good or bad conduct (Barry, 1985, Sherman, 1981). The two words: ethic and ethics are coined from the Latin word ethicus or Greek word ethikos and ethos which mean character (Webster’s).
Character on the other is derived from the French word caractère, Latin word character, and Greek word charaktêr – all referring to a stamp or mark. In the ancient period just like today, stamps and marks are usually imprinted or impressed on articles and documents to identify their ownership or authorship. From these, Webster’s offers the following definition of the word character:
1. The combination of qualities distinguishing any person or class of persons;
2. Any distinctive mark or trait, or such marks or traits collectively belonging to any person, class, or race;
3. The individuality which is a product of nature, habits, and environment;
4. High qualities;
5. Moral force; and
Moral from the Latin moralis or moris literally means custom or manners. Today, the word moral is synonymous to; dutiful, ethical, excellent, faithful, good, honest, honorable, incorruptible, just, pious, religious, right, righteous, true, upright, virtuous, and worthy.
Ethical on the other hand connotes condition in accordance with right principles, as defined by a given system of ethics or professional conduct. Thus a police officer or person...