Highway Patrol releases new code of conduct

July 9, 2010 10:36:05 AM PDT
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol has released its new code of conduct on the heels of criticism and a vow by Governor Beverly Perdue to "reform" the organization.

"We must restore power and respect to the Highway Patrol," Perdue said Wednesday.

As a part of her mandate, the Highway Patrol developed a two-page code of conduct outlining trooper's ethical responsibilities both on and off the job.

"This particular code of conduct goes in greater detail," Sgt. Jeff Gordon explained to ABC11 Eyewitness News is a phone interview. "To kind of make sure there's no stone unturned, that there is no questions that are unanswered as far as what we would require for our troopers to do out on the highway and also in their personal lives."

Gordon says the new code is a collaborative effort between the governor's office and the Highway Patrol. It is comprised of nine areas of interest that include integrity, discretion and private life.

Under the code, Troopers are to avoid any conduct that might compromise their integrity and undercut the public confidence in the agency.

Troopers also are required to have a character and conduct while off duty that is "always exemplary?maintaining a position of respect in the community."

The document goes on to say, "My personal behavior will be beyond reproach."

"They're going to be held to these standards, which we find and stress are very, very important," Gordon said.

The code of conduct is one of many things the Highway Patrol says it will be doing in the next 60 days -- all with the hope of improving the public perception of state troopers.

"We're gonna learn from this, and we're going to continue to build upon this reputation that the highway patrol has earned since its inception in 1929," Gordon added.

The Highway Patrol is in the process of distributing the information across the state and expects to complete the distribution within the next week.

Once troopers read and sign the code, it will be place in their personnel file.

NCSHP CODE OF CONDUCT

All members of the North Carolina State High Patrol (NCSHP) must be fully aware of the ethical responsibilities of their position and must strive constantly to live up to the highest standards of professional law enforcement

.

Integrity


As a Trooper, I will not engage in acts of corruption or bribery, nor condone such acts by other law enforcement officers. I will avoid any conduct that might compromise my integrity and thus undercut the public confidence in the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. I will refuse to accept any gifts, presents, subscriptions, favors, gratuities or promises that could be interpreted as seeking to cause me to refrain from performing official responsibilities honestly and within the law.

Primary Responsibilities


As a Trooper, I will always act as an official representative of government who is required and trusted to work within the law. The Trooper's powers and duties are conferred by statute. The fundamental responsibilities of a Trooper include: regularly patrolling the highways of the State and enforcing all laws and regulations regarding travel and the use of vehicles upon the highways of the State and all laws for the protection of the highways of the State.

Performance of the Duties


As a Trooper, I will perform all duties impartially, without favor or affection or ill will and without regard to status, sex, race, religion, political belief or aspiration. All citizens will be treated equally with courtesy, consideration and dignity. I will never allow personal feelings, animosities or friendships to influence my official conduct or duties. Laws will be enforced appropriately and courteously and, in carrying out my responsibilities, I will strive to obtain maximum cooperation from the public. I will conduct myself in appearance and actions in such a manner as to inspire confidence and respect for the position of the public trust I hold.

Discretion


As a Trooper, I will use responsibly the discretion vested in my position and exercise it within the law. The principle of reasonableness will guide my decisions, and I will consider all surrounding circumstances in determining whether any legal action shall be taken.

Confidentiality


Whatever I see, hear or learn that is of a confidential nature will be kept confidential unless the performance of my duty or legal responsibilities requires otherwise.

Use of Force


As a Trooper, I will never employ unnecessary force and will use only such force in the discharge of duty as is reasonable in all circumstances. While the use of force is occasionally unavoidable, I will refrain from unnecessary infliction of pain or suffering and will never engage in cruel, degrading or inhumane treatment of any person. Cooperation with Other Police Officers and Agencies
As a Trooper, I will cooperate with all legally authorized agencies and their representatives in the pursuit of justice. A Trooper or agency may be one among many organizations that may provide law enforcement services to a jurisdiction. It is imperative that I cooperate fully and completely with respect and consideration at all times.

Personal-Professional Capabilities


As a Trooper, I will be responsible for my own standard of professional performance and will take every reasonable opportunity to enhance and improve my level of knowledge and competence. Through study and experience, I will acquire the high level of knowledge and competence that is essential for the efficient and effective performance of my duties

Private Life


As a Trooper, my behavior will not discredit the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, my community or the State of North Carolina. My character and conduct while off duty will always be exemplary, thus maintaining a position of respect in the community in which I live and serve. My personal behavior will be beyond reproach.

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