Public Sector Management

Introduction

The ethics of public sector management are essential in promoting integrity and minimizing corruption in public administration. The ethics advocate for proper police’ behaviors and practices in fighting crimes and strengthening the law. One of the major issues in public sector management is constantly increasing police brutality. Police brutality is the use of excessive force and abuse of law enforcement powers to take advantage of and violate people’s rights. Corruption and ignorance of ethics and values are the most common source of police brutality. The wide range of police misconduct cases results in questionings on their ethics and values. Therefore, precise adherence to the public sector management ethics and principles are the key inputs in stopping police brutality. Below is a detailed report on the ethics of the public administration sector and how they are important in stopping police brutality. The causes and forms of police brutality are also included. In the end, a stepwise process on stopping police violence and misconduct is outlined.

Police Brutality

Police brutality is the misuse of power and neglect of ethics by police officers to abuse people. There is a wide range of police misconduct issues ranging from corruption, racism, false arrest and imprisonment, verbal and physical violence, and tampering of witnesses to tampering of evidence and sexual misconduct (STINSON, 2020). Besides, police officers entertain the obstruction of justice by covering up unethical practices among themselves. They have sworn the ‘blue code of silence’ where they do not turn each other whatsoever for a crime committed. This has encouraged the mistreating of civilians despite the laws. There are several factors influencing police brutality in different regions. For instance, the level of one’s education is major because many cases of police injustice are more associated with the less educated police officers. It is also directly influenced by the cultural organization of a place. Some people have developed the culture and beliefs that police officers are superior and should be respected irrespective of what is just. Similarly, the cultures of the police agency, as well as individual perceptions play a major role in the increased cases of police brutality.

One of the key sources of police brutality prevalent in the United States is racial discrimination. Although Americans of different gender, age, and races have faced cases of police brutality, its severity has been felt the African Americans. A recent incident was in 2014 where Michael Brown, a Black American young teenager was killed by a white police officer (Moore, 2020). To make the matters worse, the criminal police officer was let free of any judicial criminal charges. In addition, later riots and demonstrations from the people demanding justice led to the subsequent deaths of two police custody officers who were Black Americans. This and many other cases of racial discrimination in the United States have been rooted in the white’s perception of poor Africans and Black Americans as criminals. It is because of this reason that police officers brutally arrest and harass them. Also, their predominating populations in the urban cities have made them more visible thus posing a threat to the whites who in turn respond by reinforcing harsh rules on them. Other than that, every individual has either witnessed or heard of a case of police brutality.

Public Sector Management Ethics

Public Administration is governed by ethics or rules that define the proper conduct of police officers and advocates for their accountability. Ethics are constantly evolving principles of differentiating between right and wrong. Public administration ethics define all traits expected of both the government and law-enforcing authorities. While the government represents the political level that is in charge of making decisions, law enforcement officers represent the administration level. The latter is responsible for reinforcing the laws and decisions made as well as maintaining the peace and security of the civilians. While the police officers aim to maintain law and order in the justest and fair manner, the laws and decisions made have to adhere to the same ethical practices. The core ethical values in public sector management comprise transparency, accountability, justness, efficiency, and no conflict of interest ( Dobel, 2016). Public administration ethics are classified into Moral and Modern Moral Philosophy which are as described below. 

Moral Philosophy

Moral Philosophy refers to normative ethics that explain the definitions of wrong and right acts. The theory lays basic principles for resolving difficult issues. Under the moral theory, there are three categories. First is the virtual ethics that base their foundation on the need for respecting human life. The ethics emphasize the need for harmonious relationships alongside with the virtues of justice and prudence. Embracing virtual ethics will certainly stop police brutality and give meaning to respecting human life. Consequentialism ethics refer to morally upright actions and values that result in the preferred outcome. In other words, the actions and behaviors of police officers should result in the ultimate happiness and pleasure of all civilians. In other words, police brutality which results in deaths and riots is against consequentialist ethics. Lastly, deontological ethics are what bind police officers to their duties and responsibilities. The ethics evaluate the actions themselves rather than the results. As a result, public administration officers ought to know what is expected of them in a particular situation irrespective of the circumstances. Therefore, deontological ethics explains the general virtues of being mindful of others, respect, and work to promote happiness.

Modern Moral Philosophy

Modern Moral Philosophy explains the modern moral theories that are not only concerned with what the society terms as right or wrong, but also the moral status of the people. The philosophy expands on ethical boundaries formed on human rights and claims of civilians. These human rights ethics could revolve around the principle rights and freedom such as freedom to speech and expression. Being modern, the philosophy emphasizes meeting and satisfying all the claims of people regarding political, civil, socio-economic, and basic human rights hence referred to as claim-based ethics. A prime example of the modern moral theory is the human claim of ‘welfareism.’

The public claims that they have a right to live in a society dominated by security, peace, and basic human rights including health and education. That way, the people have a right-based claim to acquire these services in the utmost claim-based ethics from those in authority. Therefore, the claims of one group result in obligations or duties for the responsible group. This raises two classifications of rights where natural rights are mandatory to all human beings and thus must be granted to them. On the other hand, conventional rights are dependent on various factors that are bound to change in the political or legal context. An example of a conventional right would be the right to association which is legally granted to citizens through the constitution. The public administration should adhere to both conventional and natural rights of the public by adhering to claim-based and moral ethics.

Importance of Public Administration Ethics

Public administration ethics are important because they help promote integrity in all operations of public administration officers (WRIGHT, HASSAN, & PARK, 2016). The role of police officers is to guard civilians where the latter should trust the former. When the relationship between the two is bound by trust and integrity, then everyone plays their role in a just and fair manner. Besides, with a good relationship and accountability, there will be minimal or no cases of police brutality. Ethics promotes healthy communication between the stakeholders. Due to the transparency formed by trust and respect, the civilians can informatively communicate their needs and issues to the police officers. Similarly, the officers can freely give guidelines and not hold onto information important to the public. This creates a form of understanding and individual responsibility where everyone is committed to achieving the ultimate goal.

Consequently, this reduces the possible cases of conflicts, police brutality, and misunderstanding brought by a lack of good communication. In addition, police officers are entitled to embrace a code of ethics to enhance proper relationships and associations among themselves. With adherence to public administration ethics, the officers will be able to associate professionally. Such cases of covering up each other’s crimes will be gotten rid of. That way, any case of injustice, crime, or discrimination even among the public administrators themselves will be addressed and proper action is taken. This by itself encourages and motivates the civilians to do what is right and enforce the law. The same expectations that police officers have on their people are what they should portray to enhance integrity. Embracing public administration ethics is the key aspect in curbing police brutality and maintaining a safe and secure environment.

Stopping Police Brutality

Together with embracing public administration ethics in their operations, there are other ways of stopping police brutality. First is tracking the problem or root cause of the issue. More often than not, there will be unclear information on police brutality issues. This is because police departments will work with government agencies to cover up data and keep police crimes as a secret. The first step in stopping police brutality is publicizing all police department data. No information should be regarded as missing. All citizens should be able to request and access police records from their agencies. States should be willing to enhance transparency to fight police misconduct. That way, any crimes committed by public administration officers will be publicly displayed and proper legal action taken. The second step in curbing police brutality is the demilitarization of the officers.

Research reveals that public administrator departments that have greater access to military equipment have relatively higher cases of killing civilians. Giving police free access to military equipment encourages them to be violent. Their violence is not only projected to human suspects but also a similar incidence has been reported on police killing of dogs. The free supply of military equipment through the 1033 program should be a legal offense (Pappas, 2020). Additionally, police culture should be changed by adjusting training programs. Police training should be done in a way that limits officers from using force and minimizes police protection. Policies should be established for officers to exhaustively consider other forms rather than settling on deadly forces. All cases of force should be reported and other officers allowed intervening in cases of attempted use of force. Besides, public administrators should refrain from shooting moving vehicles and learn to give verbal warnings during extreme conditions. On the other hand, legal policies should not be designed in a way that police officers cannot be punished for crimes or other forms of misconduct.

Police protection permits officers to mishandle civilians as they are not answerable to any higher authority. The next step in stopping police brutality is investing in special intervention teams. It could be possible that police officers result in brutality and violence because they are overworked. For instance, public administrators are expected to handle all kinds of people including the mentally ill. Research reveals that everyone person of 4 persons killed by police officers is mentally ill (Bor, SVenkataramani, Williams, & Tsai, 2018). The lack of patience and skills on how to handle such people results in their killings. Therefore, special intervention teams would come in to offer treatment services to these people rather than violence and brutality. Police officers’ roles should be redirected away from issues of mentally ill individuals. The last step requires instilling oversight on citizens. Knowing that they are being watched, police officers will have no choice but to portray ethical behaviors and practices in their operations. Police shootings should also be frequently investigated to ensure that the right force is used for specific situations. Civilians should be allowed to use smartphones to record any forms of police physical abuse and brutality on people. That way, the evidence, and proof are brought to discussion and the right charges pressed on the police criminal. Eventually, public administrators will learn to prioritize proper communication and legal punishing of criminals rather than assaults and brutality.

Conclusion

Public administrators should employ a proper code of ethics in their operations. All forms of police brutality ranging from corruption and false accusations to false arrests come down to a lack of ethics in police officers. In addition, officers should be deprived of their protective powers. These are the legal policies designed in ways that make it difficult or impossible for police officers to be punished. It is these powers that encourage them to mishandle and assault civilians. The too much power given to public administrators promotes the police culture of the killing of people. As a result, any form of power given to officers should be correctly evaluated. Before resulting in deadly forces, officers should weigh all other options. To enable this, proper training should be done for police officers to clearly understand the rightful action and force to take during specific situations. Police officers should be accountable for their actions. Covering up of police crimes should be illegal and any cases should be dealt with accordingly. That way, the ‘blue code of silence’ will lose meaning and integrity will prevail. For the ultimate goals of public administration to be achieved, trust has to be the prevalent value between police officers and civilians. When there is trust, proper communication and accountability will be promoted contrary to using violence and force.

References

Dobel, P. (2016). Integrity in the Public Service. Public Administration Review, 354-66.

Bor, J., SVenkataramani, A., Williams, D., & Tsai, A. ( 2018). Police killings and their spillover effects on the mental health of black Americans: a population-based, quasi-experimental study. The Lancet, 302-310.

Moore, L. (2020). Police brutality in the United States. Retrieved July 1, 2020, from Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Police-Brutality-in-the-United-States-2064580

Pappas, S. (2020). How to stop police brutality, according to science. Retrieved June 4, 2020, from Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/evidence-police-brutality-reform.html

STINSON, . (2020). CRIMINOLOGY EXPLAINS POLICE VIOLENCE. [S.l.]: UNIV OF CALIFORNIA PRESS.

WRIGHT, B., HASSAN, S., & PARK, J. (2016). DOES A PUBLIC SERVICE ETHIC ENCOURAGE ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR? PUBLIC SERVICE MOTIVATION, ETHICAL LEADERSHIP, AND THE WILLINGNESS TO REPORT ETHICAL PROBLEMS. Public Administration, 647-663.