Homework Question on Gratuities and Police Officers
- Is the acceptance of gratuities by police officers always unethical?
- Should it depend on the frequency and value of the gratuity (e.g., a cup of coffee at a local diner once a month versus a $500 gift from a defendant’s loved one)? Explain.
Homework Answer on Gratuities and Police Officers
Gratuities are forms of appreciation by the public for the services of police officers. They are also viewed as a way of extending a friendship hand to police officers in a particular area. While gratuities are not a form of corruption, many are of the view that police officers should not be accepting them, because with time they may just seem like other forms of bribery. This therefore brings about the subject; should police officers accept gratuities?
Police are human beings similar to the rest of us. They therefore, from time to time, would like to be shown that the work they do is having a positive impact on the society, especially because their work actually directly deals with service to the public. It would therefore not be a bad thing to show a police officer that his work is appreciated. However, many factors should be put into consideration by those receiving and issuing these gratuities.
One of these factors is the circumstance under which this gratuity is given. If a police officer, a strange one, enters a restaurant, and the owner decides for no particular reason to give him free coffee, it would not be bad to take it. However, in another scenario where the owner of the restaurant was recently involved in a case he managed to get away from, and this police officer was involved, eyebrows may be raised over the gratuity.