A Look at Typical Conduct Policies for Off-Duty Police Officers

National Police Training
August 29, 2012 — 2,636 views  
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Police officers perform dangerous work, as they must serve and protect the public every day. However, these men and women are no different than common citizens when they are off the clock, and may pursue a variety of interests during this time.

Off-duty conduct should be considered by police administrators, as officers must balance a fine line. While they are entitled to a private life, they must also keep in mind their duties as law enforcement officials.

Consider the following guidelines that you can use to avoid conduct unbecoming of an officer when you are off-duty.

1. Play it safe - Should an opportunity arise for police officers to engage in activities that discredit their department or peers, they must do everything possible to avoid such situations. Being a police officer is a privilege - not a right - and the position should be treated with respect. You can set an example by displaying good conduct and behaving in a manner that exemplifies the quality of the profession.

For example, a police administrator should consider the law in his or her weekend activities. A single mistake could put a black mark on his or her accomplishments, along with the achievements of this professional's co-workers and department. When in doubt, play it safe. If you think an activity could potentially get you into trouble, try to avoid it at all costs - failing to do so might force you to pay the price later on.

2. Take accountability - Despite your best efforts, you might find yourself in a situation in which you make a serious mistake. In this scenario, you should take responsibility for your actions, as this might help you make amends and move on with your career.

Be sure to report any issues to your superior, typically a department's chief executive officer. Comply with any internal administrative investigation this is authorized or conducted, and provide accurate information when it is requested. Satisfactory cooperation will help you move past any incident.

It might take time, but hard work and dedication may help you rebuild your reputation as a credible, highly trained police officer. Taking accountability is often the first step toward redemption, and the initial way to develop a responsible approach to future off-duty conduct. 

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