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The Immeasurable
Importance of Integrity
You’ve led a sheltered life if you’ve never
heard the word integrity associated with
police work.  In fact, you’ve probably
heard it so often that you probably don’t
give it all that much thought.

The primary definition of integrity is
honesty:  “the quality of being honest
and having strong moral principles; moral
uprightness.”  Synonyms that apply are
honesty, probity, rectitude, honor, good
character, principle(s), ethics, morals,
righteousness, morality, virtue, decency,
fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity,
truthfulness, trustworthiness.

When you consider the effect(s) that an
individual police officer can have on
another individual and society at large,
you can begin to understand the
immeasurable importance of integrity
when applied to a police officer.  Integrity
is important when applied to anyone in
the criminal justice system like
prosecutors and judges.  However, your
actions as a police officer will most often
introduce a person, whether victim or
defendant, to the effects of prosecutors
and judges.

Let’s examine integrity with just one
word… truthfulness.  When you look at
all the synonyms associated with
integrity, truthfulness has to stand out
at the top of the list when you consider a
police officer’s interaction with others.  
Make no mistake.  If your integrity ever
comes under scrutiny during your police
career, it will almost certainly be related
to an issue(s) involving your truthfulness.
Truthfulness will touch every aspect of
your daily duties.  Every time you commit
anything to writing…every time you
testify in court, truthfulness will be all
important.  In fact, here’s an easy way to
apply truthfulness.  When it comes to
every aspect related to your duties as a
police officer, every word that comes out
of your mouth should be truthful to the
best of your knowledge.

There is only one exception.  You’re
allowed to lie to a suspect under
interrogation.  Even then, the purpose of
lying to a suspect is to extract truth and
establish fact.  This is subterfuge, and it
is a legitimate investigative technique.  
Look at it this way, lying to a suspect
versus lying on a suspect.  The first is
legitimate; the latter is illegal and
catastrophic for the suspect.  You must
never adhere to the philosophy promoted
by the term, “The end justifies the
means.”  When this philosophy is
implemented, the means is almost always
corrupt no matter how the end may be
interpreted.

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