To identify the characteristic of the police profession, We first must understand what makes a good police officer. The eight traits that a police applicant should possess to become a successful law enforcement officer are the ability to direct others, interpersonal skills, perception, decision making, decisiveness, adaptability, oral and written communication skills (More,Miller, & Braswell, 2017). Choosing a police applicant that posses a strong moral compass is important to the hiring department and could prevent corruption within the ranks.
Department seeking new officers have a series of test and task that the applicant must pass prior to starting employment. There is often a written examination to test the basic knowledge and a physical agility test to show the applicant is physical prepared for the task associated with the profession. After these test the department will utilize a background investigation, a mental health evaluation, and often a polygraph interview to root out unethical candidates.
As soon as new hires are on the job, it is important that a set of core values are instilled in the officer. It falls on the leaders of the department to continue to work toward creating an atmosphere of ethics and integrity. Fostering such a climate is an integral part of reducing unethical behavior (Martin, 2011).
As it relates to ethics, police are viewed as role models in the community and it is imperative to communicate the importance of ethical standards and have officers accountable to theses standards. Unethical behavior by public officials including police will lead to distrust within the community. Most police department have a set of core values which revolve around integrity, service, and professionalism. Integrity is often listed first due to the importance. Integrity means holding ones self to high moral principles. Values of service means doing what you can and helping whenever you can, at times putting your duty before yourself. Professionalism means being respectful even in highly stressful and delicate situations.
It is up to the officer to hold themselves to a high level of personal responsibility and follow the set of core values. Departments can use the four elements of the New Professionalism, accountability, legitimacy, innovation and national coherence (Stone, Travis, 2013) to build better community relationship and show transparency.