Assume you are a probation officer, married to a police officer in the same community where you both reside. You are invited to another police officer’s home for a party attended by other police officers. Your spouse introduces you to her new partner, an individual you recognize immediately as one of your probation clients recently convicted of a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge off-duty. His probation status was kept confidential as a favor to the chief of police, and you have been asked by the director of probation to be very discreet with this case.
You say nothing during the personal introduction, other than to pretend that the two of you have never met. Later, during the party, you observe your probationer drinking steadily, which is a violation of his probation conditions. You start to go over to talk with him, but you hear him mention to another officer that he is at the party alone, and then makes the comment that he needs to be careful getting home tonight. You are shocked. He does not make any effort to conceal the fact that he is already under the influence of alcohol.
There are many things for consideration. What do you do to ensure that he gets home safely? Do you allow him to drive home? Do you disclose to your spouse that you know this individual? Do you advise the director of probation or the chief of police? In this scenario, to analyze this public safety ethical issue, you will have to continue to define your personal philosophy of ethics, distinguish between moral and ethical issues, and apply ethics to decision making.
Consider the scenario above and address the following in your main post: