Using ethics and technology in addressing police officer behavior

Marcel F. Beausoleil, Salve Regina University


This dissertation examines how ethics, law, and technology are used to control the behavior of people and in particular how technologies such as video cameras are used to control police officers. In addition, the teaching of ethics to police officers is studied. The use of technologies as control devices will be compared and contrasted with the teaching of ethics to police officers. The thesis of this study is that in current society there is a greater reliance on technology to control the behavior of police officers than on the teaching and reinforcement of ethics. This study assesses which method is most effective at controlling behavior and how the two could work together to achieve the goal of producing ethical behavior in police officers. This is a qualitative study and it will be done by an examination of the literature of the field and by an analysis of research conducted on the effects of video cameras on human behavior. Research into the teaching of ethics to police officers is also studied to assess the frequency of such training and its effectiveness. This dissertation argues that while in Classical Greece the emphasis was on character education and ethics with control coming from within the person, ethics and law in the West have become increasingly rationalized with the shift in emphasis to controls from outside the person. This is manifested in the growth in law in modern society and the proliferation of technology, such as video cameras, that are used to guide human behavior while the emphasis on character education has declined. The concept and theory of the Panopticon as theorized by Jeremy Bentham and Michel Foucault will be analyzed for its contribution to this study. Both saw the Panopticon as the "all seeing eye" which would lead people to proper behavior under the conception that they were always being watched. While it is believed by some that modern society has become the Panopticon as envisioned by Foucault, others disagree, arguing that while there has been a growth in video surveillance, it has not achieved its stated purpose. Those arguments are analyzed in this study as well.

Subject Area

Philosophy|Public administration|Criminology

Recommended Citation

Beausoleil, Marcel F., "Using ethics and technology in addressing police officer behavior" (2007). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI3333054.

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