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,
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
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|Copyright © 2020 Barry M. Baker
"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."
~ Barry M. Baker