What role does “character” really play anymore and what is its relationship to good policing? In our highly cynical, ultra-hip, post-modern society, the very word seems little more than a throwback to another era. Modern technologies that monitor, document, and report our every move distances us ever further from the idea that “character” is an important concept to develop internally, even in criminal justice work.
When it comes to policing, data gathered by automated logs, dash cams, CCTV systems, body cameras, and other technological devices are often held out as a proxy for what are arguably internal processes alone. We can’t monitor a person’s thoughts or beliefs in real-time (yet), but we can monitor outward behaviors that make it easier for us to differentiate those we perceive as having character from those who we believe lack it.
And isn’t that enough? Do we really care about a police officer’s actual…
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