Some of the most pressing problems that entities both in the public and private sphere are facing right now boil down to ethics. Use of force, bribery, and corruption are some of the issues that could’ve been easily prevented and resolved if the involved actors decided to step back and reflect on the ethics of their actions and decisions.
Joining the Justice Clearinghouse to provide an overview of various ethical frameworks and deep dive on the reasons for unethical actions is Dr. Jeff Fox. He founded Fox Public Safety Training Educating and Consulting where he currently teaches and consults on leadership, development, and ethics. A law enforcement veteran, Dr. Fox has served in different roles throughout his 27-year career, rising through the ranks from town police officer to lieutenant to training director. He’s spent 20 years instructing on various topics in criminal justice academies.
Dr. Fox’s discussion revolved around:
- The definition of ethics that focuses on wrong versus right conduct and juxtaposing ethics with morals.
- An overview of ethical frameworks that dictate people’s concept of right and wrong, their motivations to act accordingly, and how these are applied to the real world.
- The source of people’s ethics – secular vs. religious, natural vs. man’s law.
- The concept of Aristotle’s Moral Virtues that provide guidance on how to conduct one’s self, and what excess and shortage of these virtues are interpreted as.
- Ethical maxims that provide rules of conduct to live by which prescribes:
- The importance of acting ethically at all times, and the idea that ethics is when a specific conduct is accepted and applied universally.
- That ethics must be above the law and law is the lowest acceptable level of behavior.
- That the leader holds a key role in instituting ethics within the group or organization s/he is in charge of.
- The role of norms, values, the individual, and organization in establishing ethical decision making.
- That ethical decisions are integral to government and business.
- There isn’t one ethical guideline to go by.
- Recognizing unethical behavior as a result of many dynamic factors.
- Upbringing as in imprinting, modeling, and socialization that provides the building blocks of ethics.
- Ideologies that an individual is exposed to from the societal to the individual level.
- What is taught and reinforced upon an individual from the home to the workplace.
- Misplaced loyalty where loyalty is assigned on an individual instead of ideals.
- Expecting and normalizing entitlement.
- The organization’s leadership, culture, politics, recruitment and training processes, and unrealistic expectations.
- The individual itself.
- The concept of the continuum of compromise that demonstrates an individual’s pathway from good to bad and the increasing intensity of the offenses committed.
- An introspective exercise to determine one’s propensity to remain ethical or otherwise.
Questions from the audience were about:
- Reporting ethical breaches when there is a reluctance to confront such issues.
- Shaping a culture that upholds ethics in conduct and policies.
- How media is influencing people’s ethics.
- Considering the monetary impact of unethical behavior in an organization.
- Teaching and learning ethics.
Other Webinars with This Speaker:
- Feb 2: Understanding Unethical Behavior (this webinar)
- Sept 23: In Defense of the Police
- Nov 18: Police Professionalism
- “Loved the legacy information he shared. Thank you very much.” — Aminda
- “EXCELLENT Presenter! Faced the topic head-on. Making anyone’s gray area on the subject very black and white! Enforcing to always do the right thing. Everyone is confronted with multiple ethical dilemmas every day. At each Swearing-in ceremony, our Chief says, you must ALWAYS do the right thing – even when no one is looking. — Roseann
- “That there are still people with ethics and morals in this world who will stand up and do the right thing no matter what. It gives me increased faith in humanity and for the criminal justice field. I really enjoyed listening to this presenter.” — Beth
- “Dr. Fox was great! It was the anatomy of ethics! My agency/court requires ethical training every year, but this is the first time the topic has been discussed in such depth and dissection! — Barbara
- “FYI one of the best presentations that I have done with JCH. Never taken seminars or workshops on ethics. However, my values were taught to me in a faith lead household plus Boy Scouts in my youth. Have stood the test of time for me. Thank you.” — Robert
- “As always, Dr. Fox was outstanding.” — Christopher
- “I love this topic and I really appreciate the information presented by Dr. Fox. Although ethics are taught annually in the organization, it seems that many fall short. Thanks for a great webinar and hopefully, ethics will win the war someday, if not always the daily battles!! — Denise
- “Dr. Fox provided detailed information on how ethical and unethical behavior comes about and how to deal with unethical behavior. — Frankie
- “This was the most helpful discussion about Ethics in general. I appreciate the expertise that was gifted through the instructor and the honesty about morals, ethics, and ideas to the change needed in our organizational cultures in addressing and responding to behavior. Thank you!” — Jeri
- “I am an Internal Affairs Investigator. I learned a lot from the presentation and will apply this knowledge when dealing with cases where Ethical behavior is in question. Thank you.” — Jose
- “Excellent webinar! Dr. Fox eloquently presented the general concepts of ethics applying them to the practical aspects of work and daily living. Thank you very much.” — Juan
This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit in Core 2 (Ethics in Law Enforcement) for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine’s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.