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FBI Special Agent

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Pretend you are an FBI special agent and give a description of what an FBI special agent is and what they do and retrieve a copy of its professional code of ethics, as well as any information suggesting this profession has an unwritten code of ethics. Create a personal code of ethics using one of the major ethical systems as a guide. How do you think other people's personal code might compare to the unwritten code of ethics present in this career?

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Interesting topic! Let's take a closer look at each section to help you get started. I also attached a supporting article for consideration and extra information at the ed of this response (which is excerpted from the attached resource).


1. Pretend you are an FBI special agent and give a description of what an FBI special agent is and what they do and retrieve a copy of its professional code of ethics, as well as any information suggesting this profession has an unwritten code of ethics.

"The FBI is a law enforcement agency, one of the six Bureaus of the Department of Justice. It is the primary criminal investigative agency in the federal government and is one of the most respected throughout the world. The FBI plays a central role in national law enforcement in the proper administration of justice in the United States. Special Agents carry out the responsibilities of the FBI by enforcing more than 260 federal statutes. This involves conducting investigations in organized crime, white-collar crime, financial crime, civil rights violations, bank robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, foreign counterintelligence, fugitive and drug trafficking matters, and many other violations of federal statutes. Special Agents also work with other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in investigative matters of joint interest". (

From another source:

"Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents investigate violations of U.S. laws and report their findings to the office of the attorney general. They investigate crimes such as kidnapping, extortion, espionage, bank robbery, fraud, and sabotage. To carry out their jobs, they talk to witnesses, observe the activities of their suspects, do research, and participate in raids.

Because their work is strictly investigative, special agents do not express opinions about the guilt or innocence of suspects. These decisions are left to lawyers employed by the federal government. If agents testify in court, they relay the information they have gathered. Much of their work is confidential, so they are not allowed to discuss it with outsiders, including members of their families. On assignments they may have to carry firearms.

Agents work from field offices located in the United States and Puerto Rico and from the national headquarters in Washington, DC. To uncover facts, they use the crime detection laboratory in Washington, where experts analyze blood, paint, and fragments that agents find at the scenes of crimes. They also use a fingerprint database. Some federal crimes, such as tax evasion and counterfeiting, are investigated by other agencies. However, FBI agents may be called in for assistance. FBI agents also run character and security checks on many employees of the government." (

Unfortunately, I was unable to locate a code of ethics specific to an FBI special agent, but on the FBI website it provided the example below that law enforcement professionals are expected to follow. So, perhaps it is generic code of ethics that different professions in law enforcement can use as a guide to develop their own code of ethics. That is my understanding.

Code of Ethics

All law enforcement personnel must continue to adhere to a code of ethics and a code of conduct. And, as with other law enforcement positions, the constitutional constraints on the use of force by law enforcement require reasonableness ( Code of Ethics are often adopted from other organizations.


Organization: International Association of Chiefs of Police
Source: CSEP Library
Date Approved: October 17, 1989
Other Version(s) in our Codes
of Ethics Online Collection: 1957

Disclaimer: Please note the codes in our collection might not necessarily be the most recent versions. Please contact the individual organizations or their websites to verify if a more recent or updated code of ethics is available. CSEP does not hold copyright on any of the codes of ethics in our collection. Any permission to use the codes must be sought from the individual organizations directly.


All law enforcement officers must be fully aware of the ethical responsibilities of their position and must strive constantly to live up to the highest possible standards of professional policing.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police believes it is important that police officers have clear advice and counsel available to assist them in performing their duties consistent with these standards, and has adopted the following ethical mandates as guidelines to meet these ends.

Primary Responsibilities of a Police Officer

A police officer acts as an official representative of government who is required and trusted to work within the law. The officer's powers and duties are conferred by statute. The fundamental duties of a police officer include serving the community; safeguarding lives and property; protecting the innocent; keeping the peace; and ensuring the rights of all to liberty, equality and justice.

Performance of the Duties of a Police Officer

A police officer shall 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.
Officers will never allow personal feelings, animosities or friendships to influence official conduct, Laws will be enforced appropriately and courteously and, in carrying out their responsibilities, officers will strive to obtain maximum cooperation from the public. They will conduct themselves in appearance and deportment in such a manner as to inspire confidence and respect for the position of public trust they hold.


A police officer will use responsibly the discretion vested in the position and exercise it within the law. The principle of reasonableness will guide the officer's determinations and the officer will consider 211 surrounding circumstances in determining whether any legal action shall be taken.
Consistent and wise use of discretion, based on professional policing competence, will do much to preserve wood relationships and retain the confidence of the public. There can be difficulty in choosing between conflicting courses of action. It is important to remember that a timely word of advice rather than arrest which may be correct in appropriate circumstances-can be a more effective means of achieving a desired end.

Use of Force

A police officer will never employ unnecessary force or violence and will use only such force in the discharge of duty as is reasonable in all circumstances.
Force should be used only with the greatest restraint and only after discussion, negotiation and ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes an FBI special agent and their job requirements and duties. Codes of ethics are addressed, both professional and personal, and how other people's personal code might compare to the unwritten code of ethics present in this career. Several illustrative codes of ethics are included.