The dismissal of a police officer lying during investigations or as a witness in a court of law is a necessary procedure for fairness. It is critical to note that a criminal justice system is developed to seek justice and does not resort to enticement to prove to the public that law enforcement agencies have a fair prosecution and conviction of an individual. The aim of the system and those working in it should be to ensure justice at all times. That principle faces threats from falsehood used to procure a score for security agents. As a basis of the public policy, the position of law enforcement agents requires utmost public trust.
Therefore, the dismissal of untrustworthy agents will help restore trust of the public in institutions of the criminal justice system. Again, the failure to dismiss such an officer and eventually allow him or her to become witnesses in a court can inevitably give the defense a chance to defeat prosecutor’s assertions. In fact, according to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Giglio v. United States, the nondisclosure of correct information is deemed as falling within the general rule. Therefore, the prosecution was required to make agreements known to defense attorneys. The failure to divulge such information and the denial by the prosecution to disclose a deal were tantamount to lies and preempted the evidence given by a witness (Judge, 2005).
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Withholding exculpatory evidence is a violation of the due process, and in most situations, courts throw out evidence perceived to be from individuals who have a reputation for lying constantly. As such, it is only fair to dismiss lying officers to ensure public trust as well as minimize chances of evidence being rejected. However, despite this being a rightful step in achieving justice, it runs the risk of the dismissal of high-quality agents who have messed up only once in their career.
Although dismissing an untrustworthy officer may be good for a law enforcement agency and the general public, it will have far-reaching effects on the affected individual’s family as well. First, if these officers are not breadwinners in their households, they contribute at least a substantial amount of money to the family budget. Their dismissal will ultimately have an underlying effect, as there will be an income reduction. Secondly, there is a substantial reason for dismissal, which may be supported by the officer’s family. Close family members may feel betrayed by actions of the agent. Relations within families strengthen on the basis of trust. Although some may stand up to defend their members in the public domain, it may be contrary behind the scenes. It can raise issues of the lack of trust within a family framework against the dismissed officer. Thirdly, considering the society’s perspective, due to the dismissal from work on ethical grounds, an officer’s family may incur public ridicule causing depression (Judge, 2005).
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Moreover, the retaining of an unethical officer in such an institution may taint the image of the agency. It is critical to realize that organizations working for the criminal justice system should have integrity because the responsibility for ensuring fairness and justice lies with them. Should that trust lapse, the institution will lose its moral authority in fighting crime. In the public eyes, ethical standards matter and should be upheld at all times.
Further, the credibility of an officer accused of lying continues to diminish and eventually leads to wavering trust in the entire organization. It may happen when other governmental and non-governmental organizations working for the justice system may opt to avoid contact or close association with the agency where the accused individual has been still working. It can be explained by the fear of being betrayed. For example, applying the ruling of the Brady v. Maryland case, an officer who has been found to lie on various occasions will have his or her evidence discarded. Furthermore, retaining a distrusted agent can be a cause of disharmony among police officers diminishing integrity of the entire institution (Judge, 2005).
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In conclusion, despite the fact that the issue of dismissal brings about the question of the ethical dilemma, the writer concludes that it is only fair if a dishonest officer faces dismissal (Judge, 2005). According to Judge (2005), the institution of law enforcement is anchored on several principles with truthfulness as its main one. When a police officer deviates from the ethical conduct and behaves in a manner likely to impede efficiency, then a disciplinary action should be taken against the one. However, an outright dismissal is avoided to ensure equal fairness to the personnel. Accused employees need time to defend themselves and have deliberations with the agency leadership. Nevertheless, it does not insinuate that the prolonged process can preempt the reasons for a disciplinary cause of action.
To avoid such situations in the future, the management should ensure the existence of unambiguous policies. It will eventually promote effectiveness and efficiency in operations of the department and offer counseling as well as advice to its employees. Leaders have a responsibility to remind their agents of the ethical and integrity requirements expected of them. In fact, it should be done more often for police officers as they are custodians of the law. Thus, dishonesty on their part is a proof that they may not be suitable to guard the law, failing an accountability test eventually. Moreover, it becomes apparent that citizens should expect upholding ethical and professional standards of officers as custodians of justice.