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The Undercover Ethical Dilemma and New Police Supervisor Strategies Can Change The Issue

This is to peer into the case study of two undercover narcotics officers and the dilemmas that happened. In the course of their undercover work together and the abuse of expense used for personal use, as well as the other unethical implications involved. This explores the impact that a new police supervisor can have on this issue in the police department.


            Undercover narcotics agents have expense accounts for which they have to account for.  Unfortunately sometimes there is an abuse of expenses.  There are different reasons for this which will be expounded on.  Ethical dilemmas are something that undercover narcotic agents face often due to the nature of the job.   Ethical dilemmas come with the job and undercover narcotic agents are challenged but should maintain professional ethical police conduct.  Another important factor for solving theses ethical dilemmas can be done with a new police supervisor by implementing strategies and training programs for new officers, as well as continued ethical classes for officers who get reprimanded. This also includes accountability. The different elements of this will be delved into as one peers into this serious problem that does happen in some police departments.  A solution can be achieved and maintained in order to remain so in order to be top notch law enforcement officers. 


            Ethical dilemmas occur in undercover narcotic agents work often.  The officers are out in the field and have leeway to get the job done.  There are certain expenditures of undercover officers.  The problem arises when officers abuse the expense account.  Picture this; two undercover narcotic officers named Tony and Johnny are just assigned to work together as Johnny is just recently hired.  Johnny is a 27 years old and has four years of police experience.  He is also married with two children.  He is very excited about his transfer to the high profile narcotics unit.  His transfer was received on Thursday and was told to report on Monday.

He was not provided any information on assignment, squad, or job description    When he was hired he was assigned to work with Officer Tony. Tony is 32 years old and a six year veteran of narcotics.   He also has received several commendations and has several active informants.  Tony also is the highest squad producer but has had several minor internal complaints that have not been substantiated.  He also is divorced twice and currently lives with his girlfriend who is a ex-dancer.


            In this scenario the officers meet their informant and the drug dealer in a restaurant.  The officers order food and alcoholic drinks.  It is paid out of out of the expense account.  Another element is as time goes on, he gets a call to come over to a club where the other officer has a girlfriend interviewing for a job.  They order drinks and it comes out of the expense account for undercover work.  This is a personal expense and clearly is not a police matter.  Therefore here is an ethical dilemma as this officer is abusing the undercover expense account for personal use.  The problem is the issue of loyalty to the other officer and of taking care of their own.  This can be a conflict as this officer does not want to report his fellow undercover officer.  According to author Mark Zelig, “The most common ethical dilemmas were related to issues of confidentiality, conflicts between the ethical standards of the psychologist and the needs of the agency, and dual relationships.” (Zelig, Mark, Ethical dilemmas in police psychology. , Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Vol 19(3), Jun 1988, 336-338). This clarifies the problem here in this case study.  This is one of the most common ethical conflicts faced among policemen/police women.   This is a conflict that Johnny faced with Tony.  Especially as time went on and he found himself more involved in unethical behavior.

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