Keeping the Agency in Order
It is the responsibility of every law enforcement officer to uphold the law and to see that it is upheld by their contemporaries. Looking the other way while blatant violations are going on makes the observer just as guilty as the perpetrator. Unlike the public that often has no legal obligation to come forward when they witness a crime, a law enforcement officer is sworn to do just that.
Keeping the agency honorable is done by first making certain that the agency is compliant with the law. Without casting stones at any particular individual or group of agents, making sure that the agency itself is playing by the rules is the first step. Sometimes what might be perceived as individual initiative is actually the way things are done by that agency, and there's no sense in casting stones if people are only following orders.
Larger agencies have entire divisions devoted to the internal affairs of that agency. The people who staff these units are often feared by their fellow officers and agents, but they serve the cause of justice by making sure that department members who enforce the law are themselves compliant with the law.
Defending fellow officers accused of wrongdoing is a knee-jerk response for most law enforcement employees. Allegations against agents from within an agency, and from the public at large, are commonplace. It is just as common for there to be no validity to the accusation, and it is commendable to defend a brother or sister officer all of the way. That is, until it is proven that the officer has crossed the legal line.
Policing the police is a tough assignment for those who draw that duty, but the load of the job is made easier by those who not only obey the rules, but who are willing to step forward and call out those who don't.
Few applicants that make it through the law enforcement hiring process are without the ability to understand and empathize with the pain and suffering of others. It is an essential quality for law enforcement officers. No agent is expected to be overly sympathetic, but being able to get inside the hearts and minds of those she deals with is expected. Understanding is the key; by demonstrating an ability to understand the plight of the people, the law enforcement agent is illustrating that she is meeting the ideal that the public expects of their representatives.
There are as many different ways to show empathy as there are law enforcement officials. Sometimes it is accomplished with a wink or a nod. No matter how it is accomplished, being able to convey an understanding of what people are feeling is one of the most valuable characteristics that a law enforcement officer can possess.