U.S. v. Warren Oh: The Case for Applying Aristotelian Modeling in Police Reforms
22 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2016
Date Written: May 10, 2016
Scholarship regarding police reform tends to emphasize the bureaucratic nature of problems in policing, and, in turn, proposes administrative solutions, such as providing more training or critiquing specific language in a manual. I argue that instead of viewing policing problems as at their core administrative, we should be willing to view them, at least in part, as moral failings warranting ethical solutions. This perspective allows research on police reform to draw from a much larger corpus of existing ethical writings. I realize the application of ethical theory to police reform in the specific context of U.S. v. Warren, arguing that the success of the reforms implemented in the Warren Police Department is due in large part to the department's use of Aristotle's theory of "ethical modeling," which argues that ethics is best taught by providing people with moral models whose behavior they can emulate. Other police departments can apply Aristotelian ethical theory by providing positive models from whom officers can learn proper policing practices. This can be accomplished in several ways, such as expanding the use of mentoring programs, using more hypothetical role playing in training, and publicizing stories of officers who properly de-escalated tense situations.
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