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Don't Like the Orders? Will You Follow Them Anyhow?

March 23, 2009

You’ve got to know that there will come a time when you will get an order that you don’t like or perhaps think is overly harsh and just plain contrary. So what do you do? That’s the question your police examiners are going to want to know. How will you handle that situation?

You are in an organization where it is essential to follow orders. Following lawful and reasonable ones is your job. While you may find the order offensive, it has to be followed. Here is the question: do you know the difference between a lawful and unlawful order? And if in that knowing, will you still carry out the order that you don’t agree with? This is one situation that is definitely likely to happen during your career, and possibly even more than once. So, what would you do?

Those questions go to the heart of being honest and standing up for what you believe is right, and actually IS the right thing to do. That is what being a cop is all about. If you have that backwards and want to be liked by others for following the “pack” rather than being honest, this is one popularity contest you will likely lose. The ramifications tend to be serious if you are caught out. It doesn’t say much about your integrity either.

Your examiners will be looking for whether or not you would also compromise your ethics (integrity again) and allow police officers that may be committing a crime to continue to do so. What you need to have here is intolerance, not for the job, but for corruption. Minor misconduct by an officer is one thing, but rank corruption is another. Will you stand up for justice?

These scenarios and questions make ideal conversation topics for a forum or for online chats with your fellow recruits. Try asking them these questions and see what kind of responses you get. You’d be surprised at the different points of view you will run into.

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