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Integrity and Honesty

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Integrity can be defined as “an uncompromising adherence to a code of moral, artistic or other values, utter sincerity, honesty and candor, avoidance of deception, expediency, artificiality or shallowness of any kind” (Webster’s 3rd New International Dictionary 1174). In simpler words this means to maintain high standards and follow the rules, even when no one is watching. Integrity is very important in our everyday life if we wish to be good people. The sad thing is that if you ask some people what integrity means to them they will probably tell you that it doesn’t mean much and some may not even know what integrity is. Certain people feel that in order to get ahead in life they need to break certain rules.

It is also very disappointing that it isn’t easy to find people who have high integrity and are always honest, no matter what the consequence. The United States would be an even better place to live if we could stop all the theft, cheating, lying, and many more crimes committed by people who are dishonest, lack integrity, and have no moral values. Even in government elections we see candidates making up lies about the other candidate and they know that it isn’t true and they don’t care. A high standard of personal integrity and honesty is probably the most important to students. It is also very important in your career and in your personal life. If you are a person who was honest in school and didn’t cheat even if you could have gotten away with it then you will most likely show the same respect in your career.

Academic honesty and integrity is very necessary for someone to be a good student. If you are someone who works really hard for your grades and never has cheated but you aren’t a straight A student then you still are a better student than someone who has straight A’s but always cheats to get them. Academic honesty and integrity is a major problem at schools, especially colleges. It isn’t easy for a teacher to detect a student who plagiarized, cheated, or maybe even had someone write their paper for them. A lot of the time the teacher will just have to trust that the student is an honest person, which sometimes they aren’t. There are probably so many students who cheated their entire way through college, not even caring that they are dishonest people and never really learned anything. These people graduate from college thinking that they are prepared to go out in the real world and start their career with a diploma that they don’t really deserve to have. They don’t realize that they just wasted all the money that they paid to go to college because the point of college is to learn what you need to know to start a career in the specific field you majored in and they cheated their whole way through so they never really learned the skills and information they need to move on.

You may be able to cheat your way through school but it is very unlikely that you will be able to cheat your way through a job. Each school has its own academic policy. For example, the Delaware County Community College’s policy of academic honesty says, “Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism, cribbing, or cheating on examinations or quizzes.” It also defines plagiarism as “unacknowledged borrowing or duplicating of another’s words or ideas whether intentional or not”. So, if you are someone who cheats off of someone else, has someone do your work for you, plagiarizes, or do anything else with your schoolwork that you know is wrong then you do not have a high standard of academic honesty and integrity. If you are someone who always does your own work, writes your own papers, studies and works really hard, and you follow everything else mentioned in your schools honor code then you are a person of high academic honesty and integrity and you will go far in life and in a career. If a person is taught by their parents at young age the importance of being honest and having high integrity then they will most likely keep this characteristic with them their whole life, they will learn more in school, enjoy learning more, be a better person and friend, be more successful in their career, and probably be much more happier in life because they are doing the right thing.

Having a high standard of personal integrity and honesty will really help prepare one for employment in the justice field in many different ways. Integrity and honesty is one of the most important requirements for any criminal justice career. It is extremely important to know what is right and wrong and to be honest no matter what the consequences if you are planning on entering the justice field, especially a police officer. Police officers must commit to the highest moral and ethical standards, they can’t be prejudice or favor someone without knowing every single detail, must show good personal conduct, have high integrity on and off duty, and plenty more. One major reason to have a high standard of integrity and honesty at all times is because if you are a person who has ever been in trouble for something that showed you had been dishonest (such as theft, cheating, lying, and more) and you apply for a job in the justice field, they will most likely find it no matter how off your record it supposedly is and you will not be hired. In their minds they are most likely thinking that if you could be dishonest once then you can be dishonest again and they don’t want someone likely that employed with them.

Another reason to have a high standard of integrity and honesty at all times would be because if you were able to make it through your life without cheating in school, lying to friends to get what you want, etc. then you will most likely be able to make it through a justice field the same way and the criminal justice careers really need someone like you. It also proves that you can be honest and do the right thing even if difficult and being dishonest would be much easier. In every justice field, if you apply for a job the hiring procedure is very long and involved, they aren’t going to just skim your application and hire you. If you look through job openings in the justice field you will notice that most of them say that you need a degree of some sort, you will need to successfully complete a comprehensive background investigation, successfully complete a written exam, get an intensive formal interview, pass a drug test, and some even have you take a polygraph test.

If you have to take a polygraph test then they will most likely ask you questions about how you feel about the importance of integrity and honesty and if you are a person of high integrity and honesty. They will find out if you cheated to get your degree and if you have then you won’t be hired and you will see how worthless your degree is when you don’t work hard for it. If you pass everything above then most justice careers, especially police officers, will require you to take a training class in something involving the position you are applying for. At this class the subject of integrity will most definitely be discussed. Some criminal justice companies are starting to make all employees take a formal training class about high moral standards and a peer group socialization and ethics training class.

Police corruption is defined as ” The abuse of police authority for personal or organizational gain”(Criminal Justice: A Brief Introduction). Police corruption is a major growing problem in the United States that affects us all because of police officers who don’t care about honesty and integrity. These police officers have so much power and the possibilities to take advantage of their power that some officers just can’t resist the chance to gain something for themselves. Police corruption can be as little as an officer accepting a free cup of coffee from a local business to as large as an officer physically abusing or even raping a suspect. Police corruption involving the drug world has been a growing problem. Officers are taking money from drug dealers to let them go free and some are even taking the drug dealers money and drugs and keeping it for themselves and then they let the drug dealer go. In my opinion I don’t think that there will ever be an end to police corruption because police are just like regular people who can’t resist the temptation of getting something for nothing. Saying that there will be no police corruption in the world one day is just as ridiculous of saying that there will be no crime in the world one day.

I will be honest when I say that I am not really a big fan of my local police station, Kennett Square Police Station. I witness police corruption in my town daily. I’ve never witnessed anything major but I do see these police officers taking advantage of their power all the time. These officers never use turn signals, go down one way roads just so they don’t have to wait in traffic, run through red lights even when they aren’t going anywhere specific, they are always hanging outside of the local WaWa where they get free coffee and when they get a call they take their precious time leaving. I went to the police station and there were no police officers there that I could interview because there aren’t that many officers to begin with because it is a small town and a couple of the police officers don’t speak English very well, only Spanish. I decided to go to the WaWa and I found Chief Albert McCarthy.

Chief McCarthy is not very like by people in Kennett Square because about a year ago he was a the local elementary school doing a D.A.R.E assembly and he left his gun in the boys bathroom for a little kid to find and luckily the kid went and got a teacher. I asked Chief McCarthy to discuss the importance of honesty and integrity to good policing, he responded by telling me that he believes the most important traits of a police officer is honesty and integrity and without it there would be no control of this world. He also told me that everyone makes mistakes and just because someone is a police officer that doesn’t mean they are perfect. He said that police have a lot of rules and regulations that they have to follow. I asked Officer Davis who was standing next to Chief McCarthy what keeps him from being dishonest and taking advantage of his power and his response was that he became a cop to help stop crime and if he would do something dishonest and take advantage of his power then he wouldn’t be stopping crime, he would be causing more.

As you can see America has a lot of problems with dishonest people and no matter what anyone tries to do to make people be more honest and have a high integrity there will always be the people who don’t care. I think that the only thing we can try to do is make people more aware of the consequences in cheating your way through school or cops taking advantage of their power. I know that just writing this paper has made me look deeper into how often I am actually following all the rules that I should be. I also realized how much respect I have for the police officers that actually commit to the high morals and standards that they are agreeing to follow when they became a police officer. Not all police officers are corrupt and everyone should really appreciate them.

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