Officer Requirements
Correctional Officer Ethical Standards of Conduct

Purpose

This policy defines professional conduct and ethical standards of conduct for correctional officers, including identifying conduct which is unbecoming and unprofessional. This policy supplements the ethical standards contained in the American Correctional Association Code of Ethics, a copy of which has been included following this policy.

Policy

Correctional effectiveness depends upon the community's respect and confidence in our ability to manage safe and Constitutional jails. Conduct that detracts from this respect and confidence is detrimental to the public interest. The policy of this Department is to investigate circumstances suggesting an officer has engaged in unprofessional or unbecoming conduct, and impose disciplinary action when appropriate.

Scope

This policy applies to all correctional officers of this agency engaged in official duties, whether within or outside the territorial jurisdiction of this agency. Unless otherwise noted, this policy also applies to off duty conduct. Conduct not mentioned under a specific rule, but which violates a general principle is prohibited. This policy is organized into eight principles. Each principle is followed by the rationale explaining the principle and a set of rules.

Principle One

Correctional Officers shall conduct themselves, whether on or off duty, in accordance with the Constitution of the United States, the Florida Constitution, and all applicable laws, ordinances and rules enacted or established pursuant to legal authority.

Rationale

Correctional Officers perform their duties pursuant to a grant of limited authority from the community. Therefore, officers must understand the laws defining the scope of their enforcement powers. Correctional Officers may only act in accordance with the powers granted to them.

Rules

1.1 Correctional Officers shall not knowingly exceed their authority in the enforcement of the law, or in applying facility rules and regulations to the inmates they supervise.

1.2 Correctional Officers shall not knowingly disobey the law or rules of criminal procedure in such areas as interrogation, arrest, detention, searches, seizures, use of informants and preservation of evidence.

1.3 Correctional Officers shall not knowingly restrict the freedom of individuals under their supervision, in violation of the Constitutions, laws of the United States and the State of Florida, or court orders.

1.4 Correctional officers, whether on or off duty, shall not knowingly commit any criminal offense under any laws of the United States or any state or local jurisdiction in which the officer is present.

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Principle Two

Correctional Officers shall refrain from any conduct in an official capacity that detracts from the public's faith in the integrity of the criminal justice system.

Rationale

Community cooperation with the criminal justice system is a product of its trust that officers will act honestly and with impartiality. The correctional officer must act in a manner that instills such trust.

Rules

2.1 Correctional Officers shall carry out their duties with integrity, fairness and impartiality.

2.2 Correctional Officers shall not knowingly make false accusations.

2.3 Correctional Officers shall truthfully, completely and impartially report, testify and present evidence, including exculpatory evidence, in all matters of an official nature.

2.4 Correctional Officers must obey lawful orders, but must refuse to obey any orders the officer knows would require the officer to commit an illegal act. If in doubt as to the clarity of an order, the officer shall, if feasible, request the issuing officer to clarify the order. An officer refusing to obey an order shall be required to justify his or her actions.

2.5 Correctional Officers learning of conduct, or observing conduct, that is in violation of any law or policy of this Department shall take necessary action and report the incident to the officer's immediate supervisor. If the misconduct is committed by the officer's immediate supervisor, the officer shall report the incident to the immediate supervisor's supervisor. This directive includes reporting illegal, or suspected illegal conduct by other corrections employees, inmates, or other persons working in the facility. 

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Principle Three

Correctional Officers shall perform their duties and apply the law impartially and without prejudice or discrimination.

Rationale

Correctional effectiveness, including the safety of the facility, requires trust and confidence of the inmate population. Diverse communities must have faith in the fairness and impartiality of all parts of the criminal justice system, including the operations of correctional facilities. Correctional Officers must refrain from fostering disharmony in the facilities in which they work based upon diversity, and perform their duties without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, disability, sexual orientation or age.

Rules

3.1 Correctional Officers shall provide every person in our society, including inmates under their supervision, with professional, effective and efficient Correctional services, including the operation of facilities which are clean, fairly managed, and free from violence.

3.2 Correctional Officers shall not express, whether by act, omission or statement, prejudice concerning race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, disability, sexual orientation or age.

3.3 Correctional Officers shall not allow their decisions regarding an arrestee, inmate, or the family and friends of an inmate to be influenced by race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, disability, sexual orientation or age. 

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Principle Four

Correctional Officers shall not, whether on or off duty, exhibit any conduct that discredits them or their Department or otherwise impairs their ability or that of other officers or the Department to provide corrections services to the community.

Rationale

A correctional officer's ability to perform his or her duties is dependent upon the respect and confidence communities have for the profession. Correctional Officers must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the integrity and trustworthiness expected of them by the public.

Rules

4.1
Correctional Officers shall not consume alcoholic beverages or use chemical substances, while on duty.

4.2 Correctional Officers shall not consume alcoholic beverages to the extent the officer is rendered unfit for the officer's next scheduled shift. A correctional officer shall not report for work with the odor of an alcoholic beverage on the officer's breath.

4.3 Correctional Officers shall not use narcotics, hallucinogens, or other controlled substances except when legally prescribed. When medications are prescribed, the officer shall inquire of the prescribing physician whether the medication will impair the officer in the performance of the officer's duties. The officer shall immediately notify the officer's supervisor if a prescribed medication is likely to impair the officer's performance during the officer's next scheduled shift.

4.4 Correctional Officers, while on duty, shall not commit any act that, as defined under Florida law, constitutes sexual harassment, including but not limited to, making unwelcome sexual advances, requesting sexual favors, engaging in sexually motivated physical contact or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature. This prohibited conduct includes peers, supervisors, inmates, arrestees, families and friends of arrestees, volunteers, contractors, or any other persons working in the facility.

4.5 Correctional Officers, while off duty, shall not engage in any conduct that the officer knows, or reasonably should know, constitutes an unwelcome sexual advance or request for sexual favor, or unwelcome sexually motivated physical contact or other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature. Correctional Officers shall not, in the course of performing their duties, engage in any sexual contact or conduct constituting lewd behavior.

4.6 Correctional Officers shall not commit any acts that, as defined under Florida law, constitute sexual assault or indecent exposure. Sexual assault or sexual harassment does not include a frisk search or other search done in accordance with proper department procedures.

4.7 Correctional Officers shall not commit any acts that, as defined under Florida law, constitute (1) domestic battery/violence and/or stalking, or (2) the violation of a court order restraining the officer from committing an act of domestic violence, having contact with the petitioner, or excluding the corrections officer from the petitioner's home or workplace.

4.8 Correctional Officers shall avoid continuous personal, off-duty, associations with persons who are known to engage in criminal activity. This rule does not prohibit those associations that are necessary to the performance of official duties, or where such associations are unavoidable because of the officer's personal or family relationships. 

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Principle Five

Correctional Officers shall treat all members of the public courteously and with respect, including inmates, arrestees, visitors, and colleagues.

Rationale

Correctional Officers are a visible and integral part of the criminal justice system. Correctional officers are role models for inmates, families of inmates, and their peers. Therefore, Correctional Officers must make a positive impression when interacting with inmates, the public and each other.

Rules

5.1 Correctional Officers shall exercise courtesy in their dealings with arrestees, inmates, facility visitors, the public, fellow officers, superiors and subordinates.

5.2 No correctional officer shall ridicule, mock, deride, taunt, belittle, willfully embarrass, humiliate, or shame any person, including arrestees or inmates, or do anything reasonably calculated to incite a person to violence.

5.3 Correctional Officers shall promptly advise any inquiring citizen of the Department's complaint procedure, and shall follow the established departmental policy for processing complaints. 

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Principle Six

Correctional Officers shall not compromise their integrity, nor that of their Department or profession, by accepting, giving or soliciting any gratuity that could be reasonably interpreted as capable of influencing their official acts or judgments, or by using their status as a correctional officer for personal, commercial, or political gain.

Rationale

For a community to have faith in its Correctional Officers, officers must avoid conduct that does or could cast doubt upon the impartiality of the individual officer or the Department.

Rules

6.1 Correctional Officers shall not use their official position, identification cards or badges: (1) for personal or financial gain, for themselves or another person; (2) for obtaining privileges not otherwise available to them except in the performance of duty; and (3) for avoiding consequences of unlawful or prohibited actions.

6.2 Correctional Officers shall not lend to another person their identification cards or badges or permit these items to be photographed or reproduced.

6.3 Correctional Officers shall refuse favors or gratuities that could be reasonably interpreted as capable of influencing official acts or judgments.

6.4 Correctional Officers shall:


(a) not authorize the use of their names, photographs or titles in a manner that identifies the officer as an employee of their Department in connection with advertisements for any product, commodity or commercial enterprise;

(b) maintain a neutral position, while on-duty, and/or in uniform, with regard to the merits of any labor dispute, political protest, or other public demonstration;

(c)  not make endorsements of political candidates, while on duty, or while wearing the Department's official uniform.
 

None of these rules shall prevent officers from engaging in the free expression of political speech in their capacities as private citizens, or the rights of police fraternal or labor organizations to endorse political candidates or express views on political issues or other matters of public concern. 

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Principle Seven

Correctional Officers shall not compromise their integrity, nor that of their Department or profession, by taking or attempting to influence actions when a conflict of interest exists.

Rationale

For the public to maintain its faith in the integrity and impartiality of Correctional Officers and their Departments, officers must avoid taking or influencing official actions where the officer's actions would or could conflict with the officer's appropriate responsibilities.

Rules

7.1 Correctional Officers shall, unless required by law or policy, refrain from becoming involved in official matters, or influencing actions of other Correctional Officers in official matters, impacting the officer's immediate family, relatives, or persons with whom the officer has or has had a significant personal relationship.

7.2 Correctional Officers shall, unless required by law or policy, refrain from acting or influencing official actions of other Correctional Officers in official matters impacting persons with whom the officer has or has had a business or employment relationship.

7.3 Correctional Officers shall not use the authority of their position as Correctional Officers, or information available to them due to their status as Correctional Officers, for any purpose of personal gain including, but not limited to, initiating or furthering personal and/or intimate interactions of any kind with persons with whom the officer has had contact while on duty.

7.4 Correctional Officers shall not engage in any off duty employment if the position compromises or would reasonably tend to compromise the officer's ability to impartially perform the officer's official duties. 

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Principle Eight

Correctional Officers shall observe the confidentiality of information available to them due to their status as Correctional Officers.

Rationale

Correctional Officers are entrusted with vast amounts of private and personal information, or access thereto. Correctional Officers must maintain the confidentiality of such information to protect the privacy of the subjects of that information, and to maintain public faith in the officer's and Department's commitment to preserving such confidences.

Rules

8.1 Correctional Officers shall not knowingly violate any legal restriction for the release or dissemination of information.

8.2 Correctional Officers shall not, except in the course of official duties or as required by law, publicly disclose information likely to endanger or embarrass victims, witnesses or complainants.

8.3 Correctional Officers shall not divulge the identity of persons giving confidential information except as required by law or Department policy. 

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American Correctional Association Code of Ethics

Revised August, 1994 at the 124th Congress of Correction

Preamble:  The American Correctional Association expects of its members unfailing honesty, respect for the dignity and individuality of human beings and a commitment to professional and compassionate service.


To this end, we subscribe to the following principles: 
 

Members shall respect and protect the civil and legal rights of all individuals.

Members shall treat every professional situation with concern for the welfare of the individuals involved and with no intent to personal gain.

Members shall maintain relationships with colleagues to promote mutual respect within the profession and improve the quality of service.

Members shall make public criticism of their colleagues of their agencies only when warranted, verifiable and constructive.

Members shall respect the importance of all disciplines within the criminal justice system and work to improve cooperation with each segment.

Members shall honor the public's right to information and share information with the public to the extent permitted by law subject to individual's right to privacy.

Members shall respect and protect the right of the public to be safeguarded from criminal activity.

Members shall refrain from using their positions to secure personal privileges or advantages.

Members shall refrain from allowing personal interest to impair objectivity in the performance of duty while acting in an official capacity.

Members shall refrain from entering into any formal or informal activity or agreement which presents a conflict of interest or is inconsistent with the conscientious performance of duties.

Members shall refrain from accepting any gifts, service, or favor that is or appears to be improper or implies an obligation inconsistent with the free and objective exercise of professional duties.

Members shall clearly differentiate between personal views/statements and views/statements/positions made on behalf of the agency or Association.

Members shall report to appropriate authorities any corrupt or unethical behaviors in which there is sufficient evidence to justify review.

Members shall refrain from discriminating against any individual because of race, gender, creed, national origin, religious affiliation, age, disability, or any other type of prohibited discrimination.  

Members shall preserve the integrity of private information; they shall refrain from seeking information on individuals beyond that which is necessary to implement responsibilities and perform their duties; members shall refrain from revealing nonpublic information unless expressly authorized to do so.

Members shall make all appointments, promotions, and dismissals in accordance with established civil service rules, applicable contract agreements, and individual merit, rather than furtherance of personal interests.

Members shall respect, promote, and contribute to a work place that is safe, healthy, and free of harassment in any form.