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Curriculum for California police officers


After reading the required text on the many hours of police training the officer candidates receive during their days at the academy I found many items to be lacking in their training. Ethics and crisis intervention made the top of the list. We can all say that firing a gun, using a taser, or having a nice pressed uniform is important but in all truth knowing right from wrong as a police officer is paramount as well a being able to render assistance to a family during a crisis, be it a loss of a family member, a break in, or a fire. There were other classes the had more hours to them that many officers might experience only once or twice in their careers but are still important. Training in such areas as ethics, community responsibility, and the proper role of the police is seen as boring and unimportant. While skills training is engaging and captures recruits’ attention, the non-skills training is routinely provided through lectures in a “cold, preachy fashion.” This problem calls into question the ability of a department to adequately train and instill community service and problem-solving values in recruits. (Gaines, 2012) Having experienced “Death by Powerpoint” many times in my military career I understand that the information being put forth is boring and dry. It could be utilized in better ways by using improvisation to improve the officers ability to think on their feet instead of sitting in a cold classroom staring at a screen. Mock citizen senerios are a great way to test how an officer will react to a situation during training and know how better to improve and prepare them for their future. Another way to improve in officer training it to have refresher classes over time after graduation.



Gaines Larry K. POLICE ADMINISTRATION. 2012. Delmar, Cengage Learning. Prior editions, published by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.,




On page 303 in the table chart 10-6, the most important areas that I see in the list are report writing, physical fitness and weaponless defense.  The reason why writing reports are important because an officer is the first point of contact in a criminal situation.  “A written report is often the first impression an officer makes on commanding, lawyers, or judges and a poorly written report can cause an inaccurate portrayal of competence level” (Gaines, L., & Worrall, J. 2012).  The importance of physical fitness is because police work can be physically demanding.  Being fit helps to protect police officers from becoming victims and good muscular strength will have an impact on officers ability to apprehend and agitated suspect sprint up a set of stairs, or burst through locked doors” (Gaines, L., & Worrall, J. 2012).  The importance of weaponless defense is knowing that the officers can be more effective in an hands on type of situation when not utilizing a weapon.  Some weaponless training would consists of many different types of martial arts practices.  What I would do to alter the curriculum to ensure that officers receive adequate training would be to put more hours into ethics and professionalism.  I say this because people must be able to trust the police to protect the community and uphold the law.  “In policing, ethics includes values such as allegiance, honestly, loyalty and courage”  (Gaines, L., & Worrall, J. 2012).  This would be adequate training because being professional is good conduct and qualities that characterizes a particular profession.  “Professionalism is policing necessitates viewing the position of police officer as a profession, rather than simply as a job”   (Gaines, L., & Worrall, J. 2012). 

Gaines, L., & Worrall, J. (2012). 

Police administration (3rd ed.). United States: Delmar Cengage Learning





Police Productivity.




The administrator may select strategies that will not produce the maximum results but that can be afforded. In essence, budgetary constraints are one of the factors that determine which strategies will be implemented. In other words, the budget often drives police activities. The administrator will be willing to implement more expensive strategies on higher-priority goals while implementing less expensive strategies for lower-level goals. The end result is maximizing the department’s resources by expending a greater proportion of the resources for the most important goals. (Gaines, 2012) Using my experience from the military at a Headquarters, Many times the budget would be limited but we would always start with what we needed for training and everything else would fall in line where it could. There were times when we would be months from the new fiscal year and be dead broke on the budget for everything. The people above me would decide what was priority for the year and what could be passed up for another year. Saving money was not an option. Sometimes we would have to cut out certain training just because we could not afford it at that time. The budget can be a tricky item to work with. You as a manager know that you have a limited amount of money and that is it. If it is wasted you have no more in reserves to work with. Today, most governments and police departments use the line-item budget for several reasons. First, its departmental breakdowns (departmental budgets) make it fairly simple to administer. Cuts in line-item budgets do not give the appearance of cutting programs. Second, the line-item budget allows mayors and other  executive branch officials to exert maximum control over expenditures and agency heads. (Gaines, 2012) Looking at what departments have the most priority of action and assets needed to accomplish their appointed jobs can help break it down.







Gaines Larry K. POLICE ADMINISTRATION. 2012. Delmar, Cengage Learning. Prior editions, published by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.,





If I were a police chief the techniques and strategies I would use to improve productivity and maintain it at a high level is to start off by making sure I know the different schedules of my employees. I would have a meeting with everyone and encourage my employees to keep up a routine everyday because doing this will benefit both employees and the department. For example, a person is able to keep their personal errands, like dropping off their kids at school in a timely manner and still make it to work without stressing out. This will benefit the department because the person can go to work without having that stress to rush things through and instead they would be able to start their job calmly. Another thing I believe would help productivity would be to encourage my employees to get enough rest and not to over work themselves because it will benefit them and the department too. For example, getting enough rest will rejuvenate their brain function and it can help the department because the person can have better reaction time and reduce mistakes at work. Also making sure officers are physically fit because this will increase their energy level, blood flow and they are better alert. This would also reduce illness and reduce injuries. Getting mid-level managers to agree productivity shouldn’t be that difficult because they want the same things, they want officers to be productive and to do their job to the best of their abilities.When it comes to motivating officers to do their job maybe given them capital investment. For example, issuing updated equipment to help them do their job better. Using productivity bargaining can increase productivity with police employee unions. Another point is that police managers cannot afford to make strategic decisions without giving due consideration to rank-and-file police officers. Managers could also use principled negotiations when dealing with unions and employee associations. Management audit can be used to manage the effectiveness of operations.

Gaines, L. K., & Worrall, J. L. (2003, 1991). Police Administration (3rd ed.). Clifton Park, New York: The McGraw- Hill Companies, Inc





Both the father who steals food to feed his family and the mother who speeds to get her sick child to the hospital are in level three stage six of Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. Both parents know what they are doing breaks the law. Christopher Williams and Bruce Arrigo (2012) in the textbook Ethics, Crime and Criminal Justice state “however, by stage 6 commitments to higher ethical principles trump what are believed to be limited (and flawed) regulations, laws, and codes” (p. 128). The father in the writing prompt feels he has no other choice than stealing food to feed his family. The mother in the writing prompt believes that she must break the speed limit in order to get her child to the hospital before their condition worsens.

The writing prompt mentions two officers one who steals from a convenience store and the other who watches him do it and says nothing. Both officers in this situation are acting immorally. The officer who steals from the store in in level one stage one of Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. This action was driven by the officer’s desire for the candy and he felt like he could get away with taking it without paying for it. The officer who does not say anything about the theft is in level one stage two of Kohlberg’s stages of development. The officer does not say anything about the theft either for fear of what the other officer will say, embarrassment or possibly both. Therefore, his lack of action is driven by fear of personal consequences.

The writing prompt mentions a man who walks by a possible rape but chooses to do nothing about it. Personally, if that was someone I loved being raped I would be just as upset with the person who did nothing as I would be with the person committing the act. This person is in level one stage two of Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. His lack of action is immoral, like the officer who did not say anything about the theft.

            The final scenario in the writing prompt refers to a couple who due to a computer glitch is put in the position to be truthful or lie and save themselves $50. The couple chose the immoral decision and lied placing them in level one stage one of Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. This couple lied which led to a $50 loss for the store witch is theft.




Williams, C. R., Arrigo, B. A., 2012, Ethics, Crime, and Criminal Justice, VitalSource for Ashford University, 2nd Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from



  In the Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development, it is broken up into three levels and each level has two different stages. In the first scenario where a father that is laid off and is steeling food from a grocery store to feed his family of five is a level three stage six according to Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development. According to Williams and Arrigo (2012), “Stage 6 moral development, persons typically adopt the wisdom of these universal ethical principles as a basis for their reasoning, judgment, choices, and actions” (pg.128). The father felt that he was doing the right thing because of his reasoning of being able to feed his family.

            In the second scenario with the mother driving 80 mph in a 55 mph zone would be considered level three stage six or level two stage three. The reason I have decided the two different levels on this scenario is because it would depend on were you live. If you live in San Diego, California it would be considered a level three stage six because you might have to weight 30 minutes for a 911 operator to answer your call and at that point the mother would be making a sound judgment to help her child out before the Childs fever worsens. On the other hand if the mother would be living in Gainesville, Florida it would be consider level two stage three according to Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development. According to Williams and Arrigo (2012), “stage 3 thinking defines morality in terms of what should be done to win the support of others” (pg.124). The reason is that I personal had to use 911 for my wife in Gainesville, Florida and it took only three to five minutes for the ambulance to come. So within five minutes that child could be getting medical treatment versus having to drive 30 minutes to the hospital.

            In the third scenario the police officer that took the candy was level one and stage one and the second officer was level two stage three who witnessed, bud did not say anything. Level one stage one according to Williams and Arrigo (2012), “Within this phase, then, moral thinking does not extend beyond the association of certain behaviors with particular rewards and/or punishments” (pg.123). The officer new right from wrong and still took the candy. The other officer that did not say anything is considered level two stage three because he wanted to please the other officer.

            For the person who walked passed the rape scene would be consider level three stage five according to Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development. According to Williams and Arrigo (2012), “stage 5 generally believes that a good society is best conceptualized as a social contract in which everyone agrees on” (pg.128). The person believed that everyone is part of a good society. I find this hard to believe because I am taught in the Marine Corps that if I see anything wrong in this aspect I need to stand up and fight against it.

            In the last scenario the couple that lied about the movie charges would be considered level one stage one according to Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development. They new what was right and wrong and decided to take the wrong side on the situation to save them money.



Williams, C. R., Arrigo, B. A., 2012, Ethics, Crime, and Criminal Justice, VitalSource for Ashford University, 2nd Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from




Ethical Egoism Decision-making

            The officers nearing the end of their shift would be motivated by their own self-interest and continue to the station despite seeing a group of teenagers smoking marijuana. If the officers were to handle the situation it could lead to several arrests and a ton of paperwork which is not in their personal self-interest. What is in their self-interest is continuing to station and ending their shift on time.


            Christopher Williams and Bruce Arrigo (2012) in the textbook Ethics, Crime and Criminal Justice state “utilitarianism argues that actions are morally right so far as they maximize good consequences and/or minimize bad consequences; more specifically, however, classical utilitarianism understands only one thing-happiness” (p.146). Looking at this definition of utilitarianism the officer’s motivation to not pursue the teenagers marijuana would be their own happiness. At the end of shift what makes the officers the happiest is returning to station and getting off duty.


            This is the approach I found the hardest for me to understand and apply to this situation. From what I understand this form of decision making is motivated by a social contract. In this scenario one would assume that the social contract is that if an officer observes a group of teenagers committing a crime they would handle the situation. However, these officers did not fulfill this social contract.


            Regardless of which approach to decision making was used by these officers, they have a duty to act. Their lack of action was motivated by their own self-interest and not what was best for the youth they discovered breaking the law or for the community these officers are supposed to serve. Officers have just as much responsibility to act when they come across someone committing a minor crime as they do when they observe a major crime regardless of how close to the end of shift it is.  



Williams, C. R., Arrigo, B. A., 2012, Ethics, Crime, and Criminal Justice, VitalSource for Ashford University, 2nd Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from



Ethical Egoism:

If the officers’ decide to not pursue the matter, in this approach, they would be very focused on how this decision is going to affect them personally.  Their focus might be on being in a hurry to get home, or are just tired and feel lazy, or perhaps they already have a bunch of other stuff to do and don’t want more work.  This generally would not be ethical behavior, but a possible way to resolve the ethical issue would be to communicate with other officers who might be more available to handle situation.  Everyone can understand having things to do after work and needing to get home on time for some things, but using your team as a resource to still achieve both goals would be an ethical choice.



If the officers’ decide to not pursue the matter, in this approach, they might argue if they were Colorado officers, that marijuana is essentially legal, and that the use of marijuana is treated very similar to the use of beer as far as enforcement in this type of situation is concerned.  The Officer’s would want to be fair and provide justice equally to all people in this argument, so a comparison might be made where the officers’ ask themselves something like “If that was a beer instead of marijuana, would I bother with it?”  If the answer is no, then they shouldn’t treat the possession and use of marijuana any differently.  But if the officers’ are in a jurisdiction where the possession and/or public consumption of marijuana is a serious crime, then they might be obligated to take some action, an choosing to not pursue the matter might be a violation of policy or law. 



If the officers’ decide to not pursue the matter, in this approach they would be trying to decide what is the greater good.  They might be focused on the local government budget, as many places are having a hard time making ends meet financially.  Perhaps they have already been given orders that no overtime is authorized, or they make the independent decision that it would negatively affect a lot of other people if they start eating up overtime pay on what appears to be a small drug investigation. 




Williams, C. R., & Arriago, B. A. (2012). Ethics, crime, and criminal justice (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.









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