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Police Ethics and Accountability


Content Provider:
Dr. Rick Parent


Length (in hours)
2 hours

Release Date
January 2021

Registration Process Register

Police officers are granted with special powers to enable them to provide citizens with a safe and secure environment. With these special powers are expectations of professionalism, ethical conduct, and police accountability. Unlike many other occupations, police are expected to maintain high ethical standards. Whether on duty, off duty, at work or at home, the public is watching.

Though actual or deliberate acts of unethical police conduct are rare, police misconduct can occur in a variety of forms, including use of excessive force, improper conduct, acceptance of gratuities, and in some instances a criminal act. Education that emphasizes what is appropriate and what is inappropriate is key to avoiding ethical pitfalls.

Police Ethics and Accountability explores the complexities surrounding ethical decisions and dilemmas in policing. Focusing on ways to avoid improper and unethical conduct, this course helps officers ensure their behaviour, judgement, and decisions are appropriate in their day to day duties.

Learning Objectives

When you have completed this course you will be able:

  • Differentiate between morals, ethics, and values
  • Explain why it is important to be aware of and open to ethical issues as a police officer in contemporary society
  • Differentiate between an ethical and unethical individual
  • Explain how to properly respond to an ethical dilemma
  • Describe the development of ethical and professional policing
  • Explain how police misconduct happens and provide examples
  • Discuss the ethical issues and dilemmas surrounding gratuities and noble cause policing
  • Explain how to foster ethics and professionalism in the workplace


Target Audience

Sworn Police, Police Services, Student, Government and Other First Responders

Content Provider

Content for this course was provided by Dr. Rick Parent, a criminologist and 30 year veteran of the Delta Police Department. The development of this course was funded by the Government of Canada's Sector Council Program.