Law enforcement officers need to practice high levels of honesty in their day to day work. If law enforcement officers are not entirely honest in their work, huge problems are bound to arise. You will start hearing incidents of misuse of power by police officers. You will start hearing incidents of police corruption, brutality by law enforcement officers, skewed enforcement of the law… and so on. And once you get on this path, you are likely to end up with a breakdown of law and order, soon or later. It is a predictable sequence.
Having appreciated the need for law enforcement officers to be honest in their day to day work, the question that follows is as to how honesty can be inculcated in the officers. And when I reflected on this question, I came to the conclusion that there are at least three strategies that can be used, to inculcate honesty in the law enforcement officers.
Firstly, it is important to vet the people who apply for law enforcement work positions thoroughly. The objective is to ensure that people who have inherent dishonesty tendencies are not hired.
Secondly, the training that law enforcement officers are put through should emphasize honesty. The starting point here is that of the induction training that the officers go through, upon recruitment. But that shouldn’t be the end. Law enforcement officers should be put through refresher courses every now and then — you know, continuous training programs, to re-emphasize the things they were taught in their induction courses, including honesty. If there are no resources for residential training, the courses can even be run online: using platforms modeled like CVS Learnet (which is accessible at cvslearnet.cvs.com).
Thirdly, accountability systems should be put in place, to ensure that the law enforcement officers are honest in their dealing with the citizens. This is where, for instance, the law enforcement officers can be made to wear name tags, for easy identification. That is also where the law enforcement officers can be made to carry body cameras and where systems can be put in place, to ensure that the specific officers patrolling various areas can be easily identified, in case of anything.