Emerging Leaders Program

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. 


  • This session was packed with a lot of good information. I particularly appreciate the segments with the influence that an FTO has on an officer. I do not believe that people realize how much of an influence they can have on others.

    Ethics and integrity are so important in Law Enforcement. There is a general standard that we are held accountable for the actions of others and categorized as a whole. If one LEO does it then it means all of them do it. It is crucial to maintain integrity when faced with ethical issues.

  • Ethics and leadership play a crucial role in the success of any agency. A good mission statement, morals, FTOs/FTO program, and recruitment are all essential components of a successful agency. A good leader will set the tone for the agency, and their values and ethics will be reflected in their work.

    Ethics is the study of moral principles and values. It is concerned with what is right and wrong and helps guide the behavior of individuals and organizations. In the context of an agency, ethics is important because it helps ensure that the agency operates fairly and justly.

    Leadership is the ability to inspire and guide others towards a common goal. A good leader will set the tone for the agency, and they will work to ensure that the agency operates in a way that is consistent with its mission statement and values.

    A good mission statement is essential for any agency. It should be clear and concise and reflect the values and goals of the agency. All agency members should easily understand it and be a guiding force for all decision-making.

    Good morals are also essential for any agency. The members of the agency should be honest, trustworthy, and respectful. They should also be committed to doing what is right, even if it is not always easy.

    FTOs/FTO programs are also crucial for any agency. FTOs are responsible for training new members of the agency, and they should be experienced and knowledgeable. They should also be good role models and demonstrate the agency’s values and ethics.

    Recruitment is also essential for any agency. The agency should seek out individuals who share its values and goals and are committed to doing what is right. The members of the agency should also be diverse, reflecting the communities that they serve.

    In conclusion, ethics and leadership are essential components of any successful agency. A good mission statement, good morals, good FTOs/FTO program, and recruitment are all critical for ensuring that the agency operates in a way that is consistent with its values and goals. References:

    Northouse, P. G. (2019). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.

    Perry, J. L., & Wise, L. R. (1990). The motivational bases of public service. Public Administration Review, 50(3), 367-373.

    Reynolds, W. (2006). Ethics in information technology. Cengage Learning.

    Shafritz, J. M., Russell, E. W., & Borick, C. P. (2013). Introducing public administration. Routledge.

    • All great points and I agree that ethics and leadership are crucial components of any successful agency.

  • Long session, but very important. The instructor went over every important detail and process of leadership for those in the first and second line positions. I enjoyed to session and picked up valuable information. This is a must for all those new to formal leadership positions.

  • I’m not surprised that this was one of the longer modules so far. As mentioned in the lecture ethics and integrity is the moral foundation upon which an exceptional organization is built. When an agency is lacking in integrity it invites trouble. One of the sections that I found to be particularly interesting was the topic of an agency’s mission statement. According to Dr. Trautman the mission statement defines the purpose of the department, and yet most officers do not know what it is. The fact that most officers don’t believe in mission statements or their credibility is troubling. It is important for an agency to have and live by a good mission statement as it is the heart and soul of the department. When people actually believe in them there is a lot of potential for good; morale improves, trust and communication also improve. This is important as often times the biggest issues in a department are lack of trust and communication.

    • I agree 100 percent, I think at least where i work that ethics and integrity are getting harder and harder to come by. Maybe its this generation but to find someone that works in law enforcement and has any ethics at all is becoming more difficult which is troubling to me.

  • There was a ton of good info in this session. I think it is correct to say that most of us know the difference from right and wrong from a very young age. Peer pressure is probably the largest factor that leads people astray who have a good moral compass. The largest factors that can lead to a destroyed career (and possibly prison) are greed, peer pressure, anger, and lust. I do believe it’s important to have ethics courses during in-house training that touches on these topics to address/prevent/limit possible integrity issues. I feel it is important to address the issue with all levels in the department to try and prevent corruption issues. These integrity and corruption issues can be devastating to the victim, individual, department, and a lot of other “innocent” people that get affected.

    The 3 Cs of ethical leadership (character, charisma, and compassion) really spoke to me about how to guide my future leadership style. A well rounded leader should have these three attributes at their foundation to be successful. It is very important for every leader to set a good example of morals/values, communicate clearly, serve with integrity, inspire others, and have compassion for others.

    This lesson also talked a lot about department morale. I think every one of us has worked for a department that has struggled with morale issues and can see how damaging it can be when left uncorrected. Morale can really be the “canary in the coal mine” signaling larger issues. Sometimes its a trouble employee that is toxic, but a lot more often it stems from larger departmental issues that if caught early can be corrected to prevent larger problems. This is where being in touch with the troops and knowing what’s actually going on makes a difference.

    • I liked your comment about morale being the canary in the coal mine. You are absolutely correct that it is usually signaling a larger issue. My agency currently struggles with extremely low morale and unfortunately we checked every box mentioned in the lecture. Our staffing is extremely low, crime is high, communication is poor, our admin exercises favoritism in discipline and unit selections, there is political interference, and our admin is extremely out of touch with the issues in patrol. A lot of our issues also stem from unethical hiring practices. The best that we have been able to do as leaders is to maintain positive attitudes as negativity feeds on itself and be good role models for the younger officers. The sergeants also do our best to consistently hold people accountable even without the necessary support from our administrators.

    • I completely agree with you! This session had a lot of valuable information that resonated with me. Most of us learn the difference between right and wrong at a very young age, but the influence of peer pressure can lead people astray from their moral compass. In-house ethics courses that cover these topics should be a part of every department’s training to address, prevent, and limit possible integrity issues. It’s essential to address these issues at all department levels to avoid corruption that can devastate everyone involved.

      The 3 Cs of ethical leadership – character, charisma, and compassion- particularly struck me. These three attributes should be the foundation of every leader’s style to be successful. Leaders need to set an excellent example of morals and values, communicate, serve with integrity, inspire others, and have compassion for others.

      The discussion on department morale was also very insightful. I’ve worked in departments that have struggled with morale issues, and it’s clear how damaging it can be when left uncorrected. Sometimes, the problem is caused by a toxic employee, but more often than not, it stems from more significant departmental issues that can be corrected if caught early. This is why leaders need to be in touch with their team and know what’s going on so that they can address issues before they become more significant problems.

  • This lesson described the top reasons how a law enforcement officer destroys their careers are: 1. Anger, 2. Lust, 3. Greed, and 4. Peer pressure. I agree with the reasons and their order from personal experience. I have seen time and time again people get angry at things they either don’t understand or are completely out of their control. I see this anger perpetuate in some people until they become what are referred to as ‘Trolls.’ They are angry at everything and everyone. Everything is “bullshit” and viewed in the most negative light possible. This anger may result in justification to doing illegal and immoral things. The anger is the gateway to the others on this list.

    I have seen careers end because of lack of control of sexual impulse, greed and pressure from peers to do the wrong thing. I try and focus that no matter how bad things have become in the past, I was lucky to be there. There are others lined up to have my job. I considered myself very lucky to have a pension. I think it’s important to keep things in perspective and count our blessings.

  • MISSION STATEMENT: The Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to fighting as one to build a more just, peaceful, and flourishing County, so that every citizen, even the most defenseless, feels safe and protected.

    I wanted to share the mission statement for my agency. It is true that I forgot what the mission statement was and then I had to look it up. One of the questions in the lecture that was asked is, ” What would you say to your subordinates to get buy in for the mission statement and the value statement?” My answer would be to ask my subordinates why they chose this field of work and how does that align with the mission of the agency. I would also discuss their role in the agency and ask them to think about their daily work actions and how these actions have demonstrated elements of the mission statement.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

    • I definitely agree that our training officers have a huge impact on employees. That goes for new hire training as well as in-house continuing education training. These trainers set the tone for what’s expected, how serious the agency is about certain topics, and how things are handled overall. When someone new comes into a department and is immediately immersed in an environment where the people they’re surrounded with for 8-12 hours a day are negative, trash administration, and say that certain rules/procedures don’t matter, it creates a very poor foundation for that employee. Very quickly they can develop those feelings/beliefs as well and will result more troubled staff. Alternatively, they may quit and now you spent a ton of money/resources on a potentially good employee that was ruined/lost due to a toxic trainer.

  • 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.

        • I agree with you. The public is looking at us and our behavior from a level reasonableness from their perspective. They expect us to be the bigger person and de-escalate. If you see something wrong stop it through intervention. Some of the high-profile police incidents that are in the media lately may not have happened if another officer intervened.

  • 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 am a Child Protective Investigator for the sheriff’s office. When I am mentoring trainees I make it a point to discuss how important it is to be honest. This was repeatedly told to me when I was a trainee. The manager said to always tell her the truth and she can help fix the issues that arise however if I lie no one will help me. When I have these discussions with trainees, I will explain that if they make a mistake or they become overwhelmed or they are or they are going to miss deadlines it is far better to own up to the issue or incident which can be easily rectified rather than falsify or lie about it.

  • 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.

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

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