In this unit, the focus shifts to “why do people act in ethical or unethical ways?” Philosophers, religious scholars, biologists, psychologists, sociologists, and criminologists have all tried to explain why people do bad things. Biology, learning theory, and Kohlberg’s moral stages are used to explain why people behave the way they do. The focus then turns to issues concerning ethics teaching and training. It seems clear that training alone is not sufficient and must be combined with ethical leadership, which in turn, is essential for the ethical organization. The greatest protection against corruption of power is a belief in a commitment to the democratic process and all it entails.
After reviewing the media Ethical Decisions – Who Do You Owe?, place yourself in the role of the FBI special agent who is faced with dilemma portrayed in the media. What should you do? Would you report this trainee to a supervisor? Would you talk to his father about it and hope he would handle it? What if this trainee becomes an agent and continues to engage in future misconduct?
In your paper:
- Identify the variables that you would consider in determining your approach to the situation.
- Determine whether you would report an FBI trainee for cheating on a written examination.
- Predict the possible implications of not reporting the misconduct.
If using a reference, please include the link and do not use a source that I cannot verify. Please title each paragraph with the bullet in bold above the paragraph.
The Court System – Ethical Decisions: Who Do You Owe? Media Transcript
We all have people in our lives whom we owe, or at least think we do. What effect does a relationship have on the process of making ethical decisions?
In this story you’ll see how feelings about other people can affect decision making. Read on to find out what happens when Agent Alicia Santos, a relatively new FBI agent, confronts a situation that involves two people she cares about.
Alicia Santos is a young woman from Riverbend City who has wanted to be an FBI agent since she was nine years old. After her military service, she passes the Police Officer Selection Test and all other requirements, and becomes a police officer with the Riverbend City Police Department.
With five years of police experience, Alicia Santos decides that she has the right experience and skills for an FBI career, and starts applying.
Alicia Santos has been applying to the FBI for almost four years with no success. But at her younger brother’s college soccer game, she meets Walter Crayton, a Treasury agent whose son John is on her brother’s team.
When Walter learns that Alicia has been applying with no success, he offers to talk to his friend – who just happens to be the Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) of the Washington, D.C. field office. “This is ridiculous!” he says. “Let me do what I can to break through the logjam.”
Alicia Santos graduates from the FBI Academy and becomes an FBI agent.
Walter’s son John starts his own training at the FBI Academy.
Three Days Ago
The following day, Mr. Brewer agrees to come to the precinct to answer some questions. After voluntarily being fingerprinted, he is escorted to a private room for questioning.
Agent Santos: What’s up, Agent Westlake?
Agent Westlake: There’s something I think you need to see.
Agent Santos: Okay, what’s that?
Agent Westlake: Early this morning, the trainees in the Constitutional Law course took an exam. The exam was under video surveillance, like always, but we usually don’t look at the footage unless we suspect something. But I had to step out and handle a small emergency for about 10 minutes. So I decided I needed to review the footage.
Now, if you look here, in the second seat of the third row from the window, this trainee is working right along, until…here.
Agent Santos: What am I looking at?
Agent Westlake: Can’t you see the white thing sticking out of his sleeve?
Agent Santos: Yes, but what is it?
Agent Westlake: It’s a cheat sheet.
Agent Santos: It’s too small to be a cheat sheet.
Agent Westlake: No, it’s not.
Agent Santos: Westlake, it’s a constitutional law course. You can’t even fit the words “constitutional law” on that thing.
Agent Westlake: Agent Santos, he stares at that thing more than once during the 10 minutes I’m out of the room.
Agent Santos: That doesn’t mean he’s cheating.
Agent Westlake: [sounds floored] What?
Agent Santos: We don’t know what that is. For all you know it’s a stray piece of fabric, or a reminder card to meditate.
Agent Westlake: Agent Santos, you’re reaching.
Agent Santos: I’m not reaching. I know who this trainee is.
Agent Westlake: I know you know.
Agent Santos: Well, I also know he wouldn’t cheat. He’s a good kid. He’s not like that.
Agent Westlake: Agent Santos.
Agent Santos: He wouldn’t! Does the video get any more conclusive than that? Because I can’t see launching an accusation of cheating based on that.
Agent Westlake: Santos. I know you like John.
Agent Santos: Damn right I do! But I also know him. He’s not cheating.
Agent Westlake: [Sighs] Look. I know you don’t want to believe this. I don’t either. I like John. But if this were any other trainee, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We would already be scheduling a conversation with the trainee already to confront him with the evidence and ask him if he wants to tell us anything. You know it, and I know it.
Agent Santos: [Pauses] It’s not just John.
Agent Westlake: I know. It’s Walter.
Agent Santos: I owe my career to him.
Agent Westlake: I know.
Agent Santos: Shit.