Very sophisticated theories exist which assert a hierarchy of good even when morality is held to be absolute; thus, for instance, lying is always wrong, but to lie to save the life of a fugitive Jew during the Nazi era was good: it prevented a worse evil.
Additionally, policy establishes operational standards to assist Department employees in the necessary exercise of discretion in discharging their responsibility.
An officer in the performance of his duty is confronted with an infinite variety of complex situations which require police action.
The traditional concept of business based on Adam Smith's imagery of the market's "hidden hand" assumes that business entities bring about social goods by maximizing profits while operating within the law.
Social goods are thus a by-product of market forces—not an objective assigned to corporate management to meet.
The key difficulty surrounding business ethics is that ethics, by definition, goes beyond the merely legal—but how far beyond? Opinions even on environmental issues are subject to change depending on such pocket-book issues as the cost of gas.
No institutionalized rules exist defining an upper limit. By its very nature, therefore, business ethics is embroiled in philosophical and operational difficulties.
Policy is based upon police ethics and experience, the desires of the community, and the mandate of the law.
Policy is articulated to inform the public and Department employees of the principles which will be adhered to in the performance of the law enforcement function.
Active reviews of strategic plans and objectives can also be undertaken to make certain that they are not in conflict with the company's basic ethical standards.