Emerging Leaders Program

ACE Track: Emerging Leaders

ICLD 1.4 Leadership and Ethics: Discussion Board

Instructor: Dr. Mitch
  1. Post a new discussion related to the topics covered in this module.  Your post needs to provide specific lessons learned with examples from this module helping you enhance your leadership capacity at work.
  2. After posting your discussion, review posts provided by other students in the class and reply to at least one of them. 


  • I am a Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPAC) evaluator and am testing the system.

  • This lesson was really lengthy, and covered a lot of material. From the models and survey outcomes covered by Dr. Trautman, to the report and findings provided by the Department of Justice about issues at the New Orleans Police Department, a common theme emerged.

    In Module 4: Leadership and Ethics, Part 2, Dr. Trautman discussed Professional Conduct, and the idea that “most of what you need to know you learned as a kid.” He elaborates by providing specific examples: right vs wrong, good vs bad, and helpful vs harmful.

    This theme is carried on from the earlier lesson of Lincoln on Leadership, wherein Donald Phillips discussed the President’s adherence to the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.

    Sometimes, leadership isn’t about the grand, high-minded approach. Instead, it boils down to the most basic concepts. Getting them right will set a foundation for success when things get more complex.

    • I entirely agree. This is definitely a LONG lesson. But I enjoyed how much good advice was in it. I like the way you are connecting lessons learned as children. The golden rule and the idea that you learn professional conduct, probably in it’s simplest form, from a very early age. Now in our later years, we are expected to have mastered much of those core concepts.

  • This is definitely one of the longer lessons. Hopefully the longest. But it hides some of the best gems you can find in theories on being an effective leader and how important ethical behavior is, not just as a member of your community’s law enforcement, but also as a leader in that agency. While I appreciated the robust nature of the lectures, I do think this entire block could have definitely been reduced in its repetitiveness.

    As an FTO, I used to spend a good portion of my first few days with a new trainee explaining all the ways they could ruin their career. It came down, really, to just three very simple rules: Don’t commit crimes, own up to your failures and don’t lie, and don’t go down for someone else’s misdeeds. It was amazing how often my trainees would find these three rules almost revolutionary. Like, as if someone hadn’t told them this in academy.

    Don’t commit crimes is the easy one. Our entire lives revolve around the enforcement of crimes. If we are out there committing the crimes which we are holding our community accountable, then we have no integrity.

    Don’t lie; if you lie, you discredit yourself for the rest of your career. And of what use is a police officer who can’t be trusted? New deputies spend so much time being scared of screwing something up and getting in trouble or written up. They get so wrapped up in this fear they forget that every one of us have messed up way more than they have and we are still here, thriving. Own up to your failures, learn from them, and don’t commit the same errors again.

    …and Don’t go down for someone else’s misdeeds. This is almost entirely on show for the world to see right now. Many people call it the blue line, or the blue cone of silence as authored by Dr. Trautman. We need to strive to be the best we can be for our community, but also for our families. I can not, and will not, suffer a loss of my entire livelihood for the bad behavior of another member. We must have integrity in this job, which means we must also expect the same in those who hold the same titles as we do.

    • I agree that those three concepts, often overlooked or ignored by those deciding to commit career-ending choices, can be revolutionary to new trainees in FTO whether or not having prior experience. Life experience you would think could aid in this, however, if they have been allowed to get away with everything (or not been caught) or been given an entitled life experience to this point, it can hinder the opportunity to make those “right” choices due to the lack of consequence. Right vs. wrong, good vs. bad……granted lapses in judgement have been known to occur, but being able to own and not lie to cover up is highly important as you can learn from and maintain a career depeneding on the violation offense.

    • I also agree with your concepts. However people do not always think about the consequences of their actions when they’re committing something they are supposed to be doing. People become so narrow minded, not only affecting them but how it will effect the people around them and the outside eye of the agency.

  • I have seen other’s careers end and bad choices made by others thoughout my career that have been deemed more of a self-destructive nature. I like that he brought up how “Anger” is one of the most noticable and detrimental emotions in this career path. Anger both during the work place and outside the work place. He mentions that of the numerous conversations had between you and your supervisor or you with your subordinates, there is not many that relate to anger and how destructive it can be.

    I get that being mad happens. I get that it is okay to be mad, however, when trying to maintain a professional atmosphere and always being in the spotlight, we do not always have that luxery. There are times when being mad at events that occur at home can spill over, causing a more explosive reaction should something negatively happen during shift. I have seen people use anger as motivation to fix or try to tilt chance in their favor, but it ended extremely bad and ended up costing careers and reputations. I’m sure that had conversations with those individuals happened at some point in their career, especially after noticing that things were going south, it may have made a difference to help them cope or modify behavior.

    • I can completely understand why someone’s anger could easily become escalated on or off duty. I was actually surprised that anger was the second offence for de-certification, I really believe that it would have been the number one reason. We all like to think that we can separate work and home stressors but unfortunately that is not the case, the do effect each other. I believe as an agency we need to do better with recognizing that anger is an issue and providing techniques to de-escalate specific situations and provide additional training to help prevent a member from losing their control. I like the fact that Trautman mentioned, when you recognize your partner is walking that line you need to step in and take control of the situation and allow them to walk away (2017). If we have more members stepping in when they recognize there is an issue and then addressing it with that member later on to see what was a trigger for them this can get them the help they may need and also may prevent them from crossing the line and losing their careers.

      Trautman, N. (2017). Leadership and ethic. 1.4, Week # 1. National Command and Staff College. Retrieved from https://cloud.scorm.com/content/courses
      /NAGVXPB5E6 /LeadershipandEthicsdd40978a-396d-448c-be1c-27daf024df51/3/index_lms.html

      • There are three important principles: REASONABLENESS, DE-ESCALATION and DUTY TO INTERVENE. Be reasonable and professional in your interactions with the citizens you serve. We are the trained professionals. Our training and experience should allow us to de-escalate the situation. We all have a duty to intervene when we see things going badly.

  • Being a good role model for someone new into this career field is ideal. We want all of our members to be on the same page, morally, ethically, and being able to the do the job the right way. FTO’s are key and should be held to a higher standard than what they are now. They’re the ones guiding us on how we should act, and doing what is right and wrong. Also being held a Sheriff’s Deputy comes with responsibility outside of work. Having integrity and being great when no one is looking.
    Being praised and appreciated also helps with an employees total moral at work. Who doesn’t like being told they’re doing a great job and to keep it up. I know that makes me feel better about myself.

    • I have to agree with you, it is very important for the FTOs to be good role models for new hires. There are many FTOs that take their position very serious and then their are others that don’t realize the impact that they have on new recruits. Many agencies pay the FTOs a stipend for taking on the added responsibility as an FTO, however, I believe that their needs to be additional training for the FTOs so they are all on the same page and are being provided the proper tools to train the new recruits. These FTOs have to model what behavior is expected on and off duty and explain these expectations to the new hires. The times of allowing poor behavior to be swept under the rug is long passed. It is so sad to see law enforcement members being arrested for poor choices, their mug shots all over the paper and their careers over due to choices they have made and may have been prevented if they had the proper guidance and support.

    • To add to your discussion about praising, I would prefer the FTO to be someone who praises in public and chastises in private. New trainees love to be praised. Praise them in front of the bosses, their peers, and on the simple things that do a good job with. If they fail to meet the standard, chastise them away from everyone. Give them the advice and council them in a way for them to succeed. But don’t ever “rip them a new one” in front of others.

  • When members of a law enforcement agency, whether sworn or civilian, accept a position they are immediately held to a higher ethical standard then the average citizen. As an agency we shouldn’t assume that everyone has moral character and understands the ethical standards they are being held to by the agency and the community. It is important that new members receive guidance on ethical standards during orientation and then through the training phase. New members are going to learn behaviors from their trainer, this is the time to shape them into ethical and moral members of the law enforcement community (Trautman, 2017). If a trainer is constantly late to work or takes extended lunch then the new member is going to think that there isn’t anything wrong with this behavior. As well as them sitting around and talking instead of completing tasks. Trautman explained, that documenting inaccurate hours on a time sheet is technically stealing (2017) and I would have to agree with that statement. The Sheriff’s isn’t paying members to sit around and discuss their weekend for 20 minutes with multiple different members; the time can easily add up to an hour that member is not working and an hour of the other members not working. This may not seem like a big deal but overtime it can easily add up and hinders the work of that member as well as others.
    Trautman, N. (2017). Leadership and ethic. 1.4, Week # 1. National Command and Staff College. Retrieved from
    https://cloud.scorm.com/content/courses/NAGVXPB5E6 /LeadershipandEthicsdd40978a-396d-448c-be1c-27daf024df51/3/index_lms.html

  • A topic discussed in the section by Trautman-when you recognize your partner is walking that line, you need to step in and take control of the situation and allow them to walk away (2017). This topic reminded me of a recent ruling by the 11th Circuit, which covers Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. The ruling was on Use of Force Failure to Intervene – Alston v. Swarbrick. The ruling was on a police officer’s responsibility to intervene when he or she sees another officer going astray. Citing a 2008 11th Circuit case the court noted that, “An officer who is present at the scene and who fails to take reasonable steps to protect the victim of another officer’s use of excessive force can be liable for failing to intervene, so long as he “was in a position to intervene yet failed to do so.” When you see that officer going down a bad road or ready to “lose it”, have the courage to step in, tell the officer you will handle it and take the suspect or citizen out of the situation. You may be saving your partner and yourself from a very bad ending. We all have a duty to assure that we practice constitutional policing practices. It may not be easy, but it is what the law requires and what the public expects from each of us.

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