In life, it is important in life to have a code of ethics. It acts as a guide or compass to remind one of what they stand for and what the priorities are in life. When a person has a personal code of ethics it shows he aims to be a better person and even a better employee at the workplace. Many companies have instituted a code of ethics which they expect their employees to comply with. In different professions if a professional violates any of the codes of ethics they will face suspension or their practicing certificate will be taken away from them. In my life, I have a code of ethics to guide my behaviour and reinforce acceptable behaviour.
My personal code of ethics:
In setting my personal and professional codes I have applied a virtue-based approach. I have considered treating others well and not discriminating against persons of different race, ethnicity, gender or religion. In ensuring justice, I will be a person of integrity and honesty and report illegal and corrupt activities.
1. I will not discriminate against persons of different religion, sexual orientation, race, gender or ethnicity. I will treat them with respect.
2. I will be a truthful or honest person in life. I will aim to tell the truth and tell the truthful opinion I have on a situation once I am asked to volunteer information.
3. I shall be a good steward of the resources that have been placed in my care. I shall not act negligently or carelessly. If I am the custodian of the petty cash in my company, I will ensure the money is used for the intended purpose it was originally meant for.
4. I shall participate in initiatives to help people who are disadvantaged in the society. I shall participate in events that raise money for charity purposes.
5. I shall stand for the values that I believe in whether I am in the majority or in the minority. I will not allow other people to influence who I am and what I believe in negatively.
6. There is also the great element of a person’s human rights and dignity. A human being has a right to life, education, food and shelter and good health. I will not participate in activities that endanger a human’s being right to enjoy these important things in life.
7. I shall be a person who honours their commitments and promises. To avoid breaking promises, I will be wise and not promise what I sincerely in my heart cannot deliver. My word should have a great reputation and carry great weight enhancing trust in the people I interact with.
8. I value my family and I will choose to spend quality time with my family and be there for them. I will attend their personal functions; celebrate their birthdays with them and every other milestone that they accomplish. I shall not make my work, studies or friends have a higher priority than my family. They shall always come first.
9. In my personal life I choose to be an optimistic person. Being pessimistic causes depression and low moods. I choose to look at the glass half-full, ready for the wonderful things that will happen in my life.
10. I will treat people as they would like to be treated. I shall always ask myself if I interact with a person whether they way I treated them was fair and just.
Professional Code of Ethics
1. At the workplace I will not misuse the company assets or time. I will not steal the company’s money or stock at all. I will also not collude or collaborate with any other staff member to defraud the company.
2. I shall not use my position in an organisation to harass anyone or influence negatively decisions made at the work place.
3. I will report on any illegal or irregular circumstances at the workplace.
4. I shall strive to be a team player in the working environment. I shall strive to work harmoniously with the people at work.
5. I shall aim to improve in my career through continuous learning and training. I shall strive to learn from my peers. I shall also to attend trainings so that I can improve in my career. I shall strive to have professional mentors.
6. I shall strive to be objective as I carry out my work. I shall not act emotionally in a situation rather I shall aim to be objective as possible. In situations where there is vested interest which may impair my judgement I shall aim to avoid such a situation.
7. In my work, I shall perform exceptionally. I shall go the extra mile; I will be flexible so that the level of performance will be at the best level.
8. In the event that I am indeed negligent, careless or irresponsible, I will be accountable and take responsibility for my actions. I shall not deny the truth or go to absurd lengths in order to cover up my mistakes.
The Law Enforcement Law of Canons
In the professional environment, there are codes of ethics in the law enforcement known as the Canon code of ethics. Analysing the ethics, I realise there are certain similarities between my personal and professional code of ethics and the canon code of ethics. The 9th Code of ethics in the canon code of ethics corresponds to my personal code of ethics of objectivity in my work. The law enforcement officer is not expected to accept gifts and favours that would end up influencing his judgement in how he discharged his duties. This is so that he can maintain the honour and integrity of the government organisations. The officer should be firm in refusing the gifts and favours (Grace, et al, 1974 )
Another similarity in the code of ethics is in the area of being non-discriminative. The officer is expected to present the evidence he has gathered in order to lead to the prosecution of the wrongdoer and ensure the innocent are defended. The officer is expected to ignore the differences in the arrested persons in terms of social, political, and financial qualities. The officer should not strive to assist a politically powerful person and be disinterested in helping a poor, non-influential individual. The officer is also expected to avoid emotional motivations in conducting his work. He is expected to work without malice.
The third similarity between the codes of ethics is in the area of self-improvement and continuous study in law enforcement. In my personal code of ethics, I shall strive to go even for trainings in order to give the best in my work. In my code, I have specified that I shall strive to
be a team player and work well with people. The law enforcement officer is expected to cooperate fully with other professionals in the criminal justice system. He is expected to work with other people without any personal prejudice. Furthermore, he should not allow the officials in other fields in criminal justice to influence his investigation (Kleining, 1996).
He should also ensure his name or office is not linked to any illegal activities. This code is similar to my professional code of ethics on the issue of not misusing the company’s assets or money. As per the Canon code of ethics, the officer should not use his name or office for illegal purposes. There is the code on integrity where the law enforcement officer is expected to conduct his affairs in order. The end does not justify the means in any way. As much as the officer is looking for an arrest and conviction, the officer should not violate the law, endanger human lives or damage someone’s property (American Correctional Association, 1994).
The professional code of ethics and my personal code of ethics are a bit different in that the professional code does not generalise on the expected behaviour. In my code of ethics, I have said I will generally operate with integrity and strive to be a great performer. However, the Canon code of ethics specifies all the areas where the officer should practice integrity and what he should do to ensure he performs better at his work. The officer is expected to be well versed in the law. Where he faces difficult issues, he should always refer to the code of ethics. The officer is also expected to refer to his supervisors or other more experienced law enforcement officers. It is also allowed to seek other public officials and ask for their assistance.
There are certain codes that would be a bit of challenge. One of these codes states that the officer should be aware of the limitations that have been put on him by the criminal justice system. I believe that in the zeal to ensure that the guilty are convicted and the innocent are defended, I may find the limitations and the proscriptions in place a little restrictive. However what will help me in the end is to appreciate why these limitations have been put in place. They were put in place, to ensure that no one has absolute power. Secondly there needs to be a checking mechanism on the powers one has in the criminal justice system to ensure justice is not perverted.
The American Correctional Code of Ethics
There are certain similarities between my code of ethics and the American correctional codes. I had mentioned respecting the human dignity of individuals, being objective, working with others harmoniously and refusing to abuse my position or power. The correctional officers have similar codes of ethic. They are expected to protect the civil and the legal rights of the individual. They are expected to have respectful relationships with colleagues. They are expected to work with officers in other criminal justice fields. They are meant to conduct their work with no expectation of personal gain. They should refrain from using their positions to get privileges and advantages.
A correctional officer should avoid situations where he or she has a vested interest. They are directed not to accept any improper gifts as they impair objectivity. The officer may receive a gift from an inmate and end up favouring the inmate which is not allowed. In my code of ethics I had mentioned I will report any illegal activities in my place of work. The correctional officers are also expected to report any corrupt or illegal activities.
A difficult code to implement in the Correctional code of ethics is where an officer is expected not to discriminate against the prisoners because of their faith, nationality, gender or any other qualities. I may find it hard since there are certain crimes that are deemed to be very serious and I may emotionally develop a dislike for the individual. There is the tendency to be hostile to specific prisoners. Another difficult code to implement may be in the area of objectivity. One may become emotionally bonded to an inmate yet at the same time I am an officer of the government. It is important to define the boundaries of the relationship I would have with the inmates if I was a correctional officer.
Looking at the similarities between the professional codes and my personal code, I feel that the career I have chosen in the criminal justice field is appropriate. My own personal values will assist me in performing my job ethically. It is important for a person’s personal code of ethics to coincide or match the organisation’s code of ethics so that there is no conflict. If a person has different values from the organisation, there will be a lot of frustration.
In the professional world, the professional codes of ethics act as a protector of the company’s interests. If the employee acts negligently the company have the right to take them to court.
American Correctional Association (1994). ACA Code of Ethics. Retrieved from <http://www.aca.org/pastpresentfuture/ethics.asp>
Grace, R., Coffey, A. & Eldefonso, E. (1974 ). Principles of Law Enforcement. New York: Wiley.
Kleining, J. (1996). Ethics of Policing. New York: Cambridge University Press