Applied Ethics Application Paper
Officer Green?s Dilemma
Terrance Green is a new community police officer for the city of Sweethaven. His first assignment was to the Olive Oaks neighborhood, an ethnically mixed, middle-class section of the city. Olive Oaks is comprised mostly of residences and small, mostly family-owned multicultural businesses. Over the past year, the neighborhood has had a fairly high rate of property crimes ? mostly burglaries and vandalism. The local business owners seem relieved to have their own community police officer assigned to keep an eye on things.
Late one evening, Officer Green was patrolling the area and noticed unusual activity in the alley behind a Greek restaurant. Taking a closer look, he saw that someone had broken in the back door and was in the process of burglarizing the business. The officer apprehended and arrested the suspect, and then called the owner to tell her what had happened.
Upon arriving at the scene, the owner, Mrs. Athens, was obviously thankful to Terrance for preventing the burglary. She shook the officer?s hand enthusiastically and even offered some money to show her gratitude. The owner seemed surprised and a little confused when Terrance politely, but firmly, refused the money. Insisting that she must show her appreciation, Mrs. Athens insisted that Terrance bring his wife and children to dinner at her restaurant. ?You come as often as you want,? she offered. ?I will make you the best Greek food you have ever eaten! You pay nothing. You risked your own safety for me, and you must let me do this small favor to repay you. This is how my people have always shown our gratitude. Please do not insult my family by refusing this small gesture.?
The Sweethaven Police Department has a policy against officers accepting gifts or gratuities, including free meals. But Terrance realizes that business owners from other cultures might not understand the reason behind the rule. Mrs. Athens is not asking for any special favors or services, and refusing the offer might make it harder for Terrance to establish working relationships in the neighborhood. ?I believe that all rules should be strictly obeyed,? the officer told himself. ?But this is a special circumstance. Don?t all rules have exceptions? Besides, I really do love Greek food!?
Terrance explained the dilemma to his supervisor, Sergeant Pepper, who was less than sympathetic. ?We can?t have officers accepting free meals, you dumb rookie! Free meals lead to cash bribes and corruption. Eventually people will be asking you to get them illegal drugs! Besides, the year we started banning free meals, the city?s car thefts went down by 20%! We can?t risk messing with success like that. Anyway, I read that Martha Stewart was against free meals for cops. That clinches it for me! This is the third time I?ve had a restaurant owner trying to get one of my officers to break a rule. I guess restaurant owners just don?t have any respect for rules and policies. Either drop this matter and agree with my decision or you aren?t being a good cop.?
Terrance replied, ?You?re just prejudiced against Greek people! Anyway, I heard that you got into trouble once for using excessive force
on a suspect. Who are you to lecture me about ethics? One recent survey of officers found that 75% of us believe we are entitled to free or discounted meals. That many people can?t be wrong. I don?t care what all the so-called experts in law enforcement ethics say ? there?s nothing wrong with an officer accepting free meals! We?re underpaid and under-appreciated. People on the outside can?t possibly understand all that we go through as police officers.
Central decision to be made: What should Officer Green do about Mrs. Athens? offer?
Assignment: Identify as many logical fallacies as you can find in the scenario. Then apply the ETHICS Model for critical thinking to find the wisest, most ethical course of action.
1. Identifying Logical Fallacies (15 points possible)
Find any fallacies in reasoning used by the various participants in the story. For each fallacy:
a) Rewrite (copy) the fallacy used
b) Identify the fallacy by name
c) Justify your identification of the fallacy by explaining or defining it.
12-15 points 8-11 points 5-8 points 0-4 points
Almost all fallacies found, properly identified, and explained if needed. Most fallacies found and identified properly. Some important fallacies missing or misidentified. Some fallacies found, but many important fallacies missing or misidentified. Very few fallacies found and properly identified.
Applying the ETHICS Model
2. Evaluate the Problem (10 points possible)
Identify as many ethical issues, questions, or problems as you can find in the scenario. (Do not attempt to answer or resolve these issues at this time; just list them.)
8-10 points 4-7 points 0-3 points
A thorough listing of the ethical issues in the case, most or all of the issues are relevant. It?s clear that the student understands what ethical issues are. Several issues given with some of them showing little relevance to the issues in the case. Answers may show incomplete understanding of ethical issues. Very few issues given with little or no relevance to the issues in the case. Answers may show little understanding of ethical issues.
3. Think Through the Options (10 points possible)
Identify optional responses or actions that could be taken in the situation. List as many practical and realistic options as possible. Then choose 3 options that you think have the best potential to end up being the wisest/most ethical courses of action at the end of this decision-making process.
8-10 points 4-7 points 0-3 points
A thorough listing of optional responses, most or all of them are relevant and practical. It?s clear that the student understands how to identify these options. ?Best three? options show careful reflection. Several options given with some of them showing little practical relevance to the main ethical issue. Answers may show incomplete understanding of identifying optional responses. Some of ?best three? options may seem somewhat random or illogical. Very few options given with little or no relevance to the main issue in the scenario. Answers may show little understanding of the process of identifying optional responses. ?Best three? options are either missing or make little logical sense.
4. Highlight the Stakeholders (10 points possible)
Identify the individual stakeholders and stakeholder groups relevant to the main ethical issue in the scenario. Identify as many as possible, and explain how each person or group listed could be affected by the decisions made in the case.
8-10 points 4-7 points 0-3 points
A thorough listing of relevant stakeholders. It?s clear that the student understands what stakeholders are and how to identify them. Clear and thoughtful explanations of how each stakeholder could be affected. Several important stakeholders missing. Answers may show incomplete understanding of how to identify stakeholders. Somewhat shallow explanations of how stakeholders could likely be affected. Very few stakeholders given. Answers may show little understanding of stakeholders and how to identify them. Explanations of how stakeholders could likely be affected are either missing, or show little thought or reflection.
5. Identify and Apply Relevant Ethical Principles (45 points)
In question #2, you identified what you thought to be the central or main ethical issue. You will now utilize some of the ethical theories that we have studied to resolve that issue three times.
(15 pts.) Resolve the main moral issue by applying Immanuel Kant?s
Theory. Summarize the key points of Kant?s theory thoroughly in at least 1-2 paragraphs. Then, in another paragraph, show how Kant?s main ethical principles would apply to the central issue that you identified in question #2.
(15 pts.) Resolve the main moral issue by applying John Rawls? theory of Contractarianism. Summarize the key points of Rawls? theory thoroughly in at least 1-2 paragraphs. Then, in another paragraph, show how Rawls? main ethical principles would apply to the central issue that you identified in question #2.
(15 pts.) Resolve the main moral issue by applying any ONE of the following theories (your choice). Summarize the key points of the theory thoroughly in at least 1-2 paragraphs. Then, in another paragraph, show how that theory?s main ethical principles would apply to the central issue that you identified in question #2. Remember to choose only ONE of the following theories:
Egoism Virtue Ethics
Act Utilitarianism Natural Rights
This grading rubric will be used for each theory that you apply.
12-15 points 8-11 points 5-7 points 0-4 points
A thorough discussion of the theory?s principles. All important principles are included and explained. Principles are applied logically and systematically. Most of the important principles are discussed. Explanations are somewhat lacking in depth. Applications may not be totally appropriate. A more shallow discussion of principles, although several are included. Summary of theory or applications may be shallow and cursory. Very little discussion of principles; few are mentioned. Little or no summary of theory. Applications are either missing or are irrelevant to the issue at hand.
6. Choose the Wisest Option and State Your Justification (10 points)
This is where you put it all together. Drawing from your analyses of the options and stakeholders and your applications of the ethical theories, choose the option that you think represents the best and wisest course of action. Take a couple of paragraphs to explain and defend your answer using sound logical thinking.
8-10 points 4-7 points 0-3 points
A thorough explanation of the decision. Best option is clearly identified. Best option is logically justified with substantial information from earlier steps in ETHICS model. A less thorough discussion. Justification of best option seems incomplete or illogical at times. Some important supporting information is missing or incomplete. Very shallow discussion of the decision. Justification for best option either missing or woefully incomplete. Very little supporting information from earlier steps is provided.
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