Discretion and Hiding the Truth
As is in every establishment of a workforce there is a hierarchy of position, in the police force there is a chain of command. This chain of command directs the manner through which information command and reporting flows in the department. As such, the police force is arranged in a hierarchy of grade in line with the powers of command each officer possesses. That is from the bottom to the top on how information flows. This means that every officer reports to a one grade higher officer and so forth. In my role as a patrol officer I report to the sergeant at site or sergeant on duty. Equality, I am bound to take orders from this sergeant in accordance with procedures of work and cases. This means that I must do what the sergeant officer or any other officer above the sergeants rank orders me to do; but must be with the knowledge of the sergeant on duty. However, this duty is legally bound which means that the activities and procedures bound by it are also legally bound. Anything that is out of the realm of professional legal conduct is not binding in the observation of this duty.
The falsifying of the arresting report by the sergeant is morally wrong and unconstitutional. This renders it an illegal act. As a result of this it does not hold as a binding order of duty to be asked to go with the flow of the falsified report. The sergeant cannot order a lower ranking police officer; such as a patrol officer like me, to agree on falsified information. There is no legal duty binding this to the police officer thus the decision on what to do is entirely dependent on their moral character.
In this situation would not agree to go with the flow of the falsified report. This is illegal and unconstitutional which means it has a great effect on the weighing of the case against the accused (Levine, 2008). According to the constitution, the accused has the right of getting a full and true hearing. The falsification of the arrest report obstructs on this making it unlawful.
Additionally, there are ethical laws and regulations that all police officers are bound by in their work. These hold more grounds than any professional or personal duty an officer may hold over another as they are equally binding to all ranks. Falsifying an arrest report and knowing about it and going with it is as such a breach of ethics and is protected under the federal criminal enforcement (FDLE, 2013).
As stipulated in the beginning, there is a chain of command in the police force. This chain of command holds in passing information as well as holding officers responsible and accountable for their actions. In reporting this case, I would follow the chain of command from the grade above my sergeants grade; the sergeants bosses. They should know the manner through which such a case is treated and inform me. This means that I should be part of the resultant actions until a conclusion that establishes the true report and punishes the sergeant and his team is achieved. This would involve the superiors filing a case report with the FBI and the Attorney general’s office through the public prosecutor which will commence an investigation into the falsified report and those involved such as the sergeant.
However, in most of these cases there is a lot of reluctance in pursuit of justice within the department if it means the prosecution of a fellow police officer. A silent blue code of conduct exists in the force that makes police morally obligated to protect their own in such cases regardless of the consequences of their actions (Mullen, 2000). In the possibility that this should happen there will be a lot of laxity in pursuing the case, delay, threats, and even the dismissal of my involvement among others. This I will handle by climbing higher the chain of command in the police force to the top.
In the case that this still has no effect and no action is being taken against the sergeant and towards the case, I then report it further. This means reporting the matter directly to the attorney general’s office and to the FBI. Both the attorney general’s office through the public prosecutors’ office and the FBI will investigate the matter. The public prosecutors’ office will focus on authenticating the credibility of the falsified arrest report as per my claims, while the FBI will launch a full review investigation against the sergeant and his accomplices in falsifying the report and knowingly concealing that the report was falsified (FDLE, 2013).
The challenging of a falsified police arrest report is hard and even harder is the launching of an investigation against police officers to prove that they actually did falsify the report. However, with the right procedure and determination, the truth shall be achieved. A truth that will enable on launch of a case against the arrested suspect based on true information as per his rights, and the prosecution of corrupt individuals in the police force.
- Levine, H. (2008). Perjury and Falsifying Documents. Queens College New York.
- Mullen, A. (2000). “Breaking the blue code”. Metro Times.
- Officer Requirements: Law Enforcement Officer Ethical Standards of Conduct 2013. Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).