Ethical Decision Making: Policing with Principled Insight

Ethical Decision Making: Policing with Principled Insight, an eLearning course, explores the practice of decision making and the ethical principles that support effective policing with a focus on perspective, purpose, obligation, and integrity. Take a thought-provoking journey that explores the practice of decision making and the ethical principles that support effective policing.

COURSE LENGTH: 4 HOURS

Title slide from course showing the title and a sketch of a helm.

Arizona POST Approved Course
AZPOST Approval 22-323
AZPOST does not require the standard approval form for this course; however, if you would like one, please contact AZPOST directly at [email protected]

Course Overview

This course emphasizes that police ethics are not just an after-thought or a means of discouraging bad behavior; instead, ethics are a controlling insight that inform and guide police practitioners from an internal, personal capacity. Join a 2500-year-old conversation on ethical decision making while exploring realistic, modern-day challenges faced by policing professionals. Recognizing that for policing professionals, public trust, integrity, and liability hinge on every decision, this concise and relevant course addresses the realities of policing in the 21st century.

Target Audience

Law enforcement practitioners, criminal justice and public safety professionals, and other community stakeholders.

Cooperative Partners

This tuition-free online training was developed by the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation (VCPI) and was originally supported by cooperative agreement 2012-CK-WXK-011 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

Learning Objectives

  • Define and identify characteristics of ethics
  • Explain the concept of “A Priori” knowledge (Thinking Backwards) as a means of building a body of ethical knowledge
  • Explain the concept of a controlling insight and a delineated process for developing it as part of ethical decision making
  • Discuss the relationship between effective community policing and ethical decision making
  • Discuss the concepts of Perspective and Paradigms and their relationship to ethical decision making
  • Discuss the relationship between effective community policing and ethical decision making
  • Explain the concept of De-Policing and its relationship to ethical policing practices
  • Access the Police Ethical Navigator (PEN) and apply module content in completing the PEN activities and exercises
  • Explain the concept of Purpose and its relationship to Perspective and ethical decision making
  • Discuss the fundamental purpose of policing in terms of societal stability
  • Explain the concept of Virtue Ethics in terms of a sense of obligation and ethical decision making
  • Explain the concept of Formalism in terms of a sense of obligation and ethical decision making
  • Explain the concept of Utilitarianism in terms of a sense of obligation and ethical decision making
  • Explain the concept of Integrity as it relates to choice and ethical decision making
  • Identify the steps of the decision making process
  • Explain the relationship between ethics and the science and mechanics of the decision making process
  • Identify the physiological processes involved in decision making
  • Identify the role that awareness plays in ethical decision making
  • Explain strategic approaches that tend to improve ethical decision making

Virginia Center for Policing Innovation

The Virginia Center for Policing Innovation (VCPI) is a nonprofit organization that provides innovative community policing training, technical assistance, and program management services to law enforcement organizations and the communities they serve throughout the United States.