The first few classes we have discussed two theories of ethics and how they relate to certain situations. To be brief Kantian ethics say that if it’s a rule for one it should be a rule for all. The law is universal and should be adequately applied to everyone. Seems fair and makes sense, however what is right and just for one isn’t always right and just for all. To contrast that, Utilitarianism says that we must sacrifice or act in accordance to please the greater good. Again, what is pleasure for one may or may not be pleasure for all. Ethical dilemmas appear everywhere in professional life most notably in policing. Police work hands down has to be one of the professions that use the most self discretion to make a choice not only for oneself but a choice to suit society. Making a ball or strike call may be hard for an umpire to do, and when making the wrong call the implications can be huge, especially if it is in a World Series game or some game of worth. Or who could forget about Steve Bartman’s decision to try and catch a foul ball and cursing the beloved Cubs once more. But policing is different because it could be dealing with possible life or death situations. Although this one wasn’t it still was an ethical dilemma, albeit on a very small scale.
The blue code of silence, briefly stated, is the understood laws followed by the brotherhood of police officers. Although unwritten, they still are greatly followed. Simply put don’t be a snitch. In one of my other cjs classes, contemporary policing in America, we learned about a small ethical dilemma in which an officer was faced with arresting and detaining a fellow officer for his would be action, going on a hunch of what had taken place in the past, or letting the law play out and making the conviction when necessary.
Former Police Officer Sgt. Jeffery Pelo was sentence to 440 years in prison for his multiple counts of sexual assault in the small town of Bloomington Illinois. I chose to write about this because not only does it tie into what we our discussing in class but also it connects to another one of my classes, AND it’s about a local, of beautiful Bloomington! Jeffery Pelo was not only an officer of the law donning the badge and gun, but was also a serial rapist. He was very methodical in his work making sure to cover his tracks, and which each successful assault he grew smarter and more confident. He was never going to get caught he probably thought to himself. Little did he know that Clay Wheeler and other Bloomington Police officers were hot on his case. While watching the "Who the (bleep!) did I Marry? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oy9aJwdTTLM&feature=related (not the entire 50 minute video, but the best segment I could find) series video I believe in class I thought to myself it was only a matter of time before this got out of hand and the time where Pelo would get caught up in his actions was soon to come. While lurking around the property of his next victim a disturbance call was made and on the scene came office Dave Zeamer. When confronting the offender, Zeamer called out the man to turn around and when he did it was a shock. Zeamer was now face to face with the would be rapist, Pelo. However Zeamer couldn’t fully know just yet that it was Pelo who was to be held accountable for all the past rapes. However he did have the right to arrest him on the spot to prevent more of these occurrences from happening before the long arm of the law finally had its way with Pelo. The choice not to arrest him was one out of perhaps the blue code of silence. He went on with his business and returned to work the next day knowing in his head what had happened but he didn’t want to tell anyone. Don’t be a snitch right?
In this instance I agree with Zeamers actions not to arrest and let the law do its job. Even though Pelo’s excuse for being there was bogus and that he was looking for a new house for his mother, albeit at one in the morning because no one was around to bother him, I could justify Zeamers non action. Pelo was Zeamers superior and both out of respect and perhaps duty to let this one slide, Pelo walked away.