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FBI Code of Ethics

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For FBI agents, a code of ethics goes hand in hand with a code of conduct. The official FBI code of ethics consists of official policies, procedures and regulations for agents on the job.


New agents go through 16 hours of classroom ethics training, including instruction in both a formal and informal code of conduct. This training starts employees out with a foundation of acceptable behavior and informs them of how administrators expect them to conduct their professional lives.


The oath FBI and other law enforcement agents take after training states the code of ethics, both formal and informal, that they promise to uphold: "The officer’s fundamental duties are to serve the community; safeguard lives and property; protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality, and justice." The code of ethics also says that officers must maintain the code in their private lives and recognize the badge they wear as "a symbol of public faith and trust."


Law enforcement agencies enforce compliance with the official code of conduct through a formal disciplinary process. According to the FBI's November 2001 Law Enforcement Bulletin, "Peer pressure, which, for many years, has been recognized as one of the strongest elements influencing behavior within an organization, enforces the unwritten code of conduct."