|The code of silence should not be broken, or should it be?|
These past class lectures have been dwelling deep into the word “ethics.” “Ethics” is this, and “Ethics” is that. Why are we talking about ethics though? We have been discussing ethics because every professional in the criminal justice field should be displaying this. Lawyers, police officers, and judges are supposed to display ethics every day and every hour while on the job. This is because these professionals make decisions that affect normal people every day. Whether it is an officer issuing a ticket, a state’s attorney deciding on a plea bargain or on a guilty verdict, or even a judge making a final say so; ethics are used every day in the world of criminal justice. So are these professionals supposed to have ethics? I would think so. There is something that stands in the way of me believing that one of these professions have ethics or good morals all the time, and that is the blue code of silence, and that is normally used by police officers. The Blue Code of Silence is an unwritten rule among police officers in the U.S not to report on other colleague’s errors, misconducts, or crimes. That is basically saying if you see something wrong, then do not snitch. I would never snitch myself, but if you are officer of the law you have to report crime whether it is your colleague or a random person (that’s why I will not become a cop). Cops are sworn into law enforcement to enforce the law on others, but they won’t snitch on each other because of their code; where is the ethics in that?I know all police officers are not the same. I understand the brotherhood of not snitching on each other. I am in a fraternity so I know some things are meant to be kept in the family. There does come a time when you have to hold your brother accountable for what they are doing, especially when your job is to enforce the law. Sometimes police officers are faced with the decision on whether to snitch on their fellow employee. What would you do if you were in an officer’s position and you knew that one of your colleagues did something illegal? Would you report him/her? Would you look the other way? Honestly, I feel I wouldn’t say anything at all, but then again I am not an officer and I wouldn’t become one so I wouldn’t have to be faced with that decision. I researched a story on a police officer who broke the code of silence and did report a fellow officer. In fact, that officer testified against the whole department. (see link at top of page) The police officer did the right thing to the eyes of the public and to his peers. You cannot argue with that. The officer is now faced with the deep fact that he knows that he broke the code of silence. He will no longer have the bond shared amongst other officers because he broke the code. He will have to go to work every day knowing that he will be labeled as a snitch. That has to be hard on him.I feel bad for this police officer. I feel bad for officers in general. It’s a terrible feeling for getting ridiculed for doing the right thing all because they broke a secret code. What would you do? Would you testify or keep the corruption on the hush? Like I already said, I don’t think I would become a police officer. The job is already stressful enough. I wouldn’t want any more stress put upon myself all over a code of silence.