Saturday, September 12, 2009

Conduct of an Officer

Important among the general guidelines of any military organization (or local police organization) is the requirement that its employees conduct themselves with dignity, honor and good conduct. It's probably phrased something like, "An officer shall not conduct himself in a manner that is unbecoming to himself or to the Department."

So, how are "matters of the heart" handled by a Department, such as when one officer becomes romantically involved with a married woman - and that woman happens to be married to another officer in the department?

Should the Department look the other way and adopt the attitude that "so long as it doesn't happen on company time, we're not going to get involved"? Or should the attention of command personnel of the department be attracted by this conduct?

Further, what happens within a department when the above conduct does not involve two officers but, more importantly, involves two supervisory officers of the department? That is, one supervisory officer and the wife of a second supervisory officer in the same department.

Such a sticky situation is quite likely to affect the morale of many officers in the department. All will know about it. Will they talk about it? You bet.

In such a situation, the top cop in the department (let's call him the Chief) should be obligated to take immediate action to halt such "conduct unbecoming an officer" and recognize the harm it causes within a department. One solution might be to direct the offending officer to cease such romantic involvement; another might be to "suggest" that the offending supervisory officer resign "for personal reasons" (before he gets fired). There are, of course, other ways of handling the problem.

For the good of the department, no delay whatsoever should occur between the time the Chief learns of the problem and he takes definite action to maintain the morale within his department.

Thoughts, anyone?


Karen12359 said...

Tough one Gus. The chief can try and halt the conduct all he/she wants ... but that won't stop anything. It'll just make them more "sneaky" unless of course it's all caught on video like this sad case:

whatmeworry? said...

Should be interesting when the WHOLE story comes out, if it does.

Brian said...

Why is the OFF duty conduct of the officers of the police department so damn important? My god they are human, Im so surprised. What about the ON duty conduct of the fire department? There is a fire engine at a local repair shop being worked on while the fire department mechanic works on his horse trailer on the tax payers dime. What is that all about and why does NO ONE see that? Lets loot at all the indiscretions, not just the PD.

Frank said...

Is this another one of your hypothetical situations gus?

Gus said...

Frank, you seem to be suggesting that "hypothetical" situations have been the subject of previous articles.

They haven't been, and this one isn't.

Frank said... of your most used phrases is "what if". Those words are the exact start of a hypothetical question. So yes many of your articles or scenarios have been hypothetical.

Gus said...

Frank, what if your comment isn't true?

Piotr said...


Police Officers are human first and Police Officers second. When you call 911 because (GOD forbid) someone just kicked your door in and wants to hurt you or take your property. That Police Officer good or bad is driving as fast as he or she can to help you. That may be the same Officer who just wrote you that petty traffic ticket or slept with another officer's spouse. The bottom line is that officer is still willing to put their life on the line for people who don't appreciate the ultimate sacrifice they face. Look at all the Police Officer's and Firefighter's that died on 9/11. I think we all agree they are ALL hero's! But guess what...I'm sure some of them were just like that Officer that gave you that petty traffic ticket or in some way abused their power, ect. But they still were willing to fight for other life's before there own. Just remember were all human...We all make bad decisions. Take it easy on Law Enforcement, they put there life on the line for people like YOU and me. Let the Judges, Attorney's, Union's and State/County/City/Village Administration's handle the misconduct. You are not a lawyer, judge or Law Enforcement Officer. You rarely know the facts or have ALL the information on anything. These facts are needed to make an educated UN-bias conversation. I question your intention's and integrity. How does that make you feel, not too good I bet. I don't know you from Adam but, I will still respect you as a person just as you should with your TARGETS of conversation.

Gus said...

Piotr, thanks for your comment.

I think it's important to separate responsibility from duty. I don't want the cop to come "as fast as he can", if someone is breaking down my door. I want him to come as fast as he SAFELY can.

In 1970 Chief Pierce Brooks of the then-new Lakewood (Colo.) P.D. restricted his officers from running hot except in the most extreme circumstances. You never saw a speeding police car, and you seldom heard a siren.

The fact that an officer might have to put his life on the line does not give him license to choose to make bad decisions or to continue to so choose. If the City administration took care of it, then it wouldn't come to the attention of the People.

Your questioning my intentions and integrity do not cause me to feel one way or another. I value your opinions and thank you for expressing them. I do ask myself whether it is important to me that I express the opinions that I do. When my answer is Yes, I express them.

Thanks again for writing. I hope you will continue to post your comments.

Karen12359 said...

POITR said

"Take it easy on Law Enforcement, they put there life on the line for people like YOU and me. Let the Judges, Attorney's, Union's and State/County/City/Village Administration's handle the misconduct".

How do the Judges, Attorney's, Union's and State/County/City/Village Administrations going to handle anything if they aren't made aware of it?
You seem to think holding people accountable or revealing bad decisions and corruption is a bad thing. Yes, we are all human, yes we all make mistakes. When the same "mistakes" are being made over and over, one has to question if it's really a "mistake".