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Ethics of Local Enforcement Online Class TIDRC006 Companion website: http://www.tidrc.com/onlineethics.html Approved by Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations Six Continuing Education Units Developed November, 2013 Last Updated on March 14, 2018 John H. Ockels, Ph.D. Copyright (c) 2013, 2018 John H. Ockels No Claim to Original Texas State Government Works All rights reserved.


TIDRC006 Ethics

Ethics of Local Enforcement TIDRC006

Contact:

John Ockels Texas Illegal Dumping Resource Center ockels@tidrc.com Last Update: March 14, 2018 Credits: Six (6) hours

Welcome to the online class Ethics of Local Enforcement. This class is about some of the basic ethical issues that you are likely to encounter while going about the job of enforcing municipal codes, health laws, and criminal laws that protect our air, land, and water resources. It's also about actions you can take to become ethically stronger, more able to deal with difficult situations. At it's most basic level, ethics is about answering the question, "How do I know, in this situation, that I'm doing the right thing?" My name is John Ockels, and I’m your instructor for this class. I'm the director of the Texas Illegal Dumping Resource Center, and I’ve been teaching illegal dumping and other anti-pollution classes for aroiund 20 years. In addition to environmental training, I also have a B.A. in Philosophy (University of North Texas) and a Masters in Theological Studies from Perkins School of Theology at S.M.U. I’ve taught ethics at the college level. At TIDRC our mission is helping Texas cities and counties get better at responding to illegal dumping and other kinds of local pollution, including dealing with the hundreds of thousands of public health nuisances in our state. By the way, in dealing with these violations law enforcement can be more effective in enforcing state laws than local health departments — primarily because hundreds of cities and counties in the state do nit have a functioning local health department. We’ve presented hundreds of instructor-taught day-long classes in various antipollution subjects around Texas over the past ten years. If you haven't attended one, I'd encourage you to do so. They're a lot of fun, you earn CE credits, and you might even learn something useful to you and your city, county, or district. You can find out more about our instructor-taught classes elsewhere on the TIDRC.com website, and if you want to host a class in your community, just drop me an email. This ethics class is also available in a six-hour classroom version, as are all of these online classes. No matter if

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you take a class online or in the classroom, you’ll study the same material. We provide TDLR-approved online classes in several subjects — Illegal Dumping Enforcement; Local Control of Oil and Gas Waste; Illegal Outdoor Burning; Legal / Legislative Update Related to the Profession of Code Enforcement — and this one in Ethics of Local Enforcement. Our plans for 2018 include providing more of these online classes to help you stretch your training dollar and reduce the need for you to travel. To really manage your travel and training cost, check into our Continuing Student program (TIDRC.com home page). This program enables you to access all TIDRC online classes for one low annual fee, which allows you to exactly control your training budget. TDLR-required continuing education for code enforcement officers is defined in TDLR Rule 62.24 Continuing Education. The acceptable curriculum listed at sub-section (i) in Section 62.24 names twelve specific areas where training is authorized, including (11) professional, supervisory or management training related to the profession of code enforcement, and that’s exactly where the subject of ethics falls. TIDRC is an Approved Continuing Education Provider by TDLR and is listed on their web page at http://s.coop/ 26asr. This means that the hours you earn from TIDRC — either in a classroom or online — will be readily accepted by TDLR in meeting your continuing education requirements. Notice that we have put two items early in this document: the TDLR Code of Ethics for Code Enforcement Officers and the TDLR Supervisor Responsibilities of a person managing code enforcement officers. We strongly advise you to read these two documents carefully. For supervisors of code enforcement officers, note that the supervisor herself must be a registered code enforcement officer AND that the supervisor may not supervise more than three code officers. These two provisions will probably cause changes in some jurisdictions.

Process The process we’ll follow in this class is very simple and is laid out on the Class Home Page. You’ll be asked to thoughtfully read this document, form some opinions about what the right thing to do is in several situations, and answer a few questions in an open-book test. The test will have objective questions from the reading material. Once you have successfully completed the examination, you’ll receive your Certificate of Completion by return email. That’s all there is to it. To pass the test you must do two things: (1) score a 70% or better overall (25 questions); and, (2) get the first question right: True or false, I completed all of the reading material for this class (this is a requirement). This is our way of having you certify that you completed the material for

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the class. Note that you can take the test as many times as you need to to pass, and that no waiting period is required between re-takes.

Contents Process (2) Contents (3) TDLR Code of Ethics for Code Enforcement Officers (4) TDLR Responsibilities of Supervisors (5) Introduction (6) Why You Need This Class (7) The Same Situations Keep Arising (10) Code vs. Police As Local Environmental Enforcement Officers (17) Ethics is a Branch of Philosophy (20) Choices of Ethical Approaches (22) 1. Religious Approach (22) 2. Don’t Just Use Others (24) 3. Act As You Think All Humans Should in the Same Situation (25) 4. Law of Reciprocity (25) 5. Mercy is Superior to Justice (26) 6. Good People Naturally Do Good Acts (29) A Bad but Very Popular Idea (30) Your Actions Matter (35) You Work in a Fishbowl … Full of Angry and Crazy Fish (36) The Ethical Responsibility To Convey Accurate Information (38) Moral Injury from Our Bad Acts (42) Taking Care of Yourself (44) Applying Head Skills (45) Building Heart Strength (48) 1. Get Adequate Sleep (49) 2. Keep the Sabbath (50) 3. Eat Better (52) 4. Regularly Seek Solitude (53) 5. Get Up and Get Moving (56) Conclusion (56) Finishing Up (58) Short List of Suggested Readings (59)

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TDLR Code of Ethics for Code Enforcement Officers Chapter 16 Texas Administrative Code Section 62.70 (New Section adopted effective November 1, 2017, 42 TexReg 4615) (a) A registrant shall: (1) be knowledgeable of and adhere to the Act, the rules, applicable codes, and all procedures established by the department for registrants; and (2) be honest and trustworthy in the performance of all duties and work performed as a registrant, and shall avoid misrepresentation and deceit in any fashion, whether by acts of commission or omission. Acts or practices that constitute threats, coercion, or extortion are prohibited. (b) A registrant shall not: (1) participate, whether alone or in concert with others, in any plan, scheme, or arrangement attempting or having as its purpose the evasion of any provision of the Act, the rules, or the standards adopted by the commission; (2) furnish inaccurate, deceitful, or misleading information to the department; (3) engage in any activity that constitutes dishonesty, misrepresentation, or fraud while performing as a registrant; (4) consume alcohol or take a controlled substance not prescribed by a physician, while performing as a registrant; (5) verbally, physically, or sexually abuse, or attempt to abuse an individual while performing as a registrant; (6) accept, or offer to accept, any form of compensation for not reporting a hazard as required, or for correcting a hazard which was found while performing as a registrant; (7) fail to report a crime when the report is required by law; (8) claim to be a code enforcement officer or code enforcement officer in training, or use the titles “code enforcement officer” or “code enforcement officer in training,” while the registrant’s registration is expired; (9) use the registration number or certificate of another person, or allow another person to use his or her registration number or certificate; (10) alter a registration certificate in a manner that is deceptive or misleading; or (11) be grossly negligent, incompetent, or engage in misconduct in the practice of code enforcement. (c) A registrant shall notify consumers of the name, mailing address, internet address, and telephone number of the department for the purpose of directing complaints to the

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department by providing notification: (1) on each written contract for services of a registrant; (2) on a sign prominently displayed in the primary place of business of each registrant; or (3) in a bill for services provided by a registrant to a third party.

TDLR Responsibilities of Supervisors Chapter 16 Texas Administrative Code Section 62.71 (New Section adopted effective November 1, 2017, 42 TexReg 4615) (a) A supervisor must: (1) be a registered code enforcement officer; (2) have adequate training, knowledge, and skill to consult competently concerning any code enforcement services which the supervisee undertakes; and (3) provide an alternate registered code enforcement officer to provide supervision for the supervisee in circumstances when the supervisor will not be available for more than four consecutive weeks. (b) A supervisor may not: (1) supervise more than three supervisees at one time; (2) accept payment or other consideration from a supervisee in exchange for supervision; or (3) be employed by the supervisee, lease or rent space from the supervisee, or have any relationship with the supervisee which could impair the supervisor's professional judgment. (c) A supervisor who has ceased supervision of a supervisee must submit a notification of termination of supervision to the department and the supervisee within 30 days of the date supervision ceases. The notification of termination of supervision must include: (1) the name and registration number of the supervisor, as well as the name and registration number of the supervisee; (2) a statement that supervision has terminated; (3) the reason for termination; and (4) the date of termination of supervision.

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Introduction The word “ethics” traces back to the Greek “Ta Ethika” (the science of morals) and Aristotle’s work Nichomachean Ethics (350 B.C.) as well as to the Greek word “ethos,” the characteristic spirit of a culture. That’s not on the test, but it is worth noting that people have been reflecting on their behavior as long as we can remember. Every time we take any action in the world, ethical questions arise. There’s simply no way to avoid the basic “What's the right thing to do?” that is present in literally every situation we face. Usually, the “right” thing to do at home or work and everywhere else is clear; habit or our mother's voice in our head or the opinion of others or departmental policy guide our thinking, and we just act automatically, without thinking, secure in the knowledge that our actions are "right." Others have decided how we'll act. Like trained bears, we dance. And usually that works. But this isn’t always the case; sometimes life unexpectedly pulls us up short, and we are momentarily befuddled while we work out a clear path forward. Sometimes following our habits seems wrong or mother's voice in our head is silent. Or pleasing others becomes absurd in the circumstances. Or departmental policy never considered the situation we're now facing. Or when what we’re “supposed” to do just doesn’t feel right. Sometimes standing there in our freedom, discerning the "right thing to do" can be nearly impossible and is almost always extremely uncomfortable; all options seem full of contradictions. Yet we must and do act. •

You find yourself in a relationship at home that is becoming more and more toxic and painful. You met an extremely attractive person at work who thinks you’re great and invites you to “Stop by my apartment some time so we can visit.” You find yourself wondering, "What is 'love,' exactly?" What is the right thing to do? Why is that the right thing to do? After all, my partner is breaking their vows too!

You are laid-off from your job because of budget cuts at the city, and your aging parents are dependent on you for their support, as is your adult child with mental problems who lives in another city. Your savings won’t stretch to cover everything. You think, "Me, my parents, my child: I have enough savings to support any two of those, but not all three." What is the right thing to do? Why?

Your boss has just told you to ignore a significant sewage leak in a backyard of a small apartment building in a poor part of town, maybe because the place is owned by a councilman, but who knows? Your manager won't talk about it, and he, in turn, seems to be well loved by his own boss. However, you know that children

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are playing unsupervised in the sewage, and from prior work in the neighborhood, you even slightly know some of the children. You're the sole breadwinner for your family and really need to keep this job. What is the right thing to do? Why? None of these are examples of easy situations where we can just act automatically without thinking, nor are they particularly uncommon. As many writers have pointed out, the decisions we face in life are not just those that are between “right” and “wrong.” The tough ones are those between “right” and “right” or between “wrong” and “wrong.” Every time we take any action, we are doing so according to some criterion, usually unconscious and unspoken. Ethics explores what that criterion is, and why we act on it but turn our back on others. Every time we take any action, we're making the implied statement: "What I'm doing is the right thing to do!" And in answer to this silent assertion comes the quiet undertone: "Oh? And why do you think that?" We're interested in these questions because we want our actions to be based on what we ourselves decide is right, not early indoctrination by others that we simply haven't yet challenged. Our basic drive toward authenticity as a human leads us to these questions; we want to know why we're doing things. We want to do what is right.

Why You Need This Class You need this class for self preservation. You’re probably taking this online class in order to earn a quick six hours of continuing education credits, and that’s fine. That is, after all, the primary reason we provide these classes: To give officers a way they can earn needed credits on their own time schedule and without having to travel or pay high fees. However, a real benefit of all education is that you might learn something that will make your life easier to live or your job easier to do. Our classes in Illegal Dumping Enforcement, Local Control of Oil and Gas Waste, and Illegal Outdoor Burning are examples of classes that provide information that can be immediately used at work. In several of our instructor-taught class, police officers have left the classroom for awhile to go make an illegal dumping or water pollution arrest. They had suddenly discovered some law they could immediately use to deal with a situation that was frustrating them and their code enforcement colleagues. When the answer was presented in class, the most important thing to them became applying their new knowledge immediately. Scratch that itch; solve that problem. As an instructor, I find this enormously gratifying: we show an officer something, and he or she immediately rushes out and successfully uses it. What could be more satisfying for a teacher to

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experience than that? But other than providing continuing education hours, what’s the point of a class on ethics? It doesn’t seem to provide any additional information that we can immediately use to deal with dumping or health nuisances. So what’s the "cash value" of these ideas, as the nineteenth century American philosopher William James would have put it? "How do these ideas make an actual difference in our lives?" Great question, and certainly one that is always present in all training. I think that the answer to this is found in considering what we actually bring to any task, including dealing with family and work situations. We always actually bring two distinct things: (1) Head Skills: the knowledge, technical skills, and experience that we possess concerning the particular situation; and, (2) Heart Strength: our understanding of what is right in a situation and our commitment to achieve it. For example, suppose that you are the father of a 16 year-old teenage son — Robbie — who was stopped last night by a peace officer in a nearby town. He was given a citation for being in possession of alcohol. This is his first offense, and he is a good student, and the family is in a big uproar. In this situation your Head Skills would include your knowledge of the laws that have been violated, your knowledge of how such cases are processed in the neighboring community, your personal relationships with the officers (whom you know), your knowledge of how such charges actually impact juveniles beyond their formative years. Your Head Skills would also include your knowledge and experience of your son and how he relates to authority, your general knowledge of family dynamics, your understanding of patterns of alcohol use and addiction in present and past family members, your understanding of how this is may impact the two younger children in the family, your knowledge of how your wife reacts to such things, and other knowledge of how other “externals” are likely to work in the situation. But that’s only part of what you bring. You also bring your Heart Strength, which is often the more important. This is your understanding of and the level of your commitment to doing what’s right in this situation. This includes your internal answers to the questions, “What is the right thing for Robbie to do?” “What does Robbie think the right thing is for him to do?” "How much influence should I assert on Robbie?" “Should he take his punishment for the low-level crime he has committed, or should I use my influence to get the charges dropped?” “How can I best help Robbie find the life lessons in this situation?” These are ethical

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questions that have other implications involved, including “Do I want Robbie to learn that all of his actions — especially his stupid ones — have consequences, and the graceful thing to do is simply accept the consequences for our actions?” or “Do I want to save my son from the imagined consequences of his youthful indiscretions, even if that means running roughshod over his sense of personal responsibility?” When we’re wrestling with these kinds of questions, we are in the Realm of Ethics, which can sometimes be confusing for awhile. Or perhaps you are faced with a difficult situation such as this at work: The neighbors complained to the city about the tall grass and unkept appearance of the house, and investigating the complaint fell on your desk. This is what you do as a code enforcement officer for the city. You knew the neighborhood. It was going through a steady process of gentrification; older homes are being purchased cheaply from original owners, improved, and sold for a much higher price to the young families that saw the area as being on the up-swing. The house in question, however, hadn’t gone through the process yet, if the high weeds and scattered rubbish in the front and back yards were any indication. When the you knocked on the door, you had a difficult time getting the attention of anyone inside. You were about to leave a door hanger requesting the occupants contact you when the front door slowly opened. There stood a very old, small, frail woman. She was still wearing a bathrobe even though it was early afternoon. She looked to be around 80 years old. As you introduced yourself, you heard a man’s voice from another room: “What is it honey? Do I need to come help?” Slightly embarrassed, the lady at the door explained that the other voice was that of her husband, David, who was wheelchair bound. You listened closely as the lady told you more. “I just don’t know what we’re going to do. We’re all each other has in the world, and neither of us drives. Our son is supposed to bring us groceries every week, but he hasn’t come for the last two. I think he’s gotten mixed-up in drugs and may be in jail. Those drugs ruin so many good children. We don’t have a thing in the house to eat. David’s out of his heart medicine too, and we won’t get our Social Security checks to buy more for another week. I just don’t know what we’re going to do.” The woman began to weep, and you felt tears coming to your eyes too. Then the woman looked right into your eyes and said, “Please excuse me. I’m sorry for burdening you with all this. None of this is your problem. How can I help you?” You thought, “These poor folks have all of these problems, and I’m here about the weeds and a little trash? Oh man!” The officer has at least two problems. Her Head Skills, which were sufficient to spot

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the code violations, may not be sufficient to identify the real issues that are keeping the yard unkept. Her knowledge may not be sufficient to know, for example, how to organize resources that would not only actually deal with the code violations, but also with the underlying problems that will make this a chronic enforcement address unless somehow solved. Where she may find the biggest difficulty, however, is in having insufficient Heart Strength to deal adequately with the question, “What should I really do in this situation?” and act accordingly. She is going to do something, but how can she know the "right" thing to do is and find the courage to do it? Like the problem with Robbie the teenager, this work situation has landed the officer right in the middle of the Realm of Ethics. The study of ethics helps us reflect on what the “right thing to do” might be before we find ourself in these situations. Is there knowledge or insight that could help us make better decisions? And how do we maintain our physical and spiritual strength to hang in there and keep dealing effectively with these problems as they regularly surface? This class also reminds us that there is a lot more to code and health enforcement than simply informing people that their property needs spiffing up. •

The code enforcement officer knocks on the door to talk about the weeds and rubbish in the yard; instead, she is confronted with a human situation that breaks her heart.

The code enforcement officer shows-up in a conflict situation where the neighbors are arguing with each over over a straying pet dog or the height of one’s weeds or where one of them has parked his car. The officer's very presence keeps the peace in so many of these kinds of situations. Code and health enforcement officers reduce violence between neighbors, which means the police are less likely to have to respond later to a shooting or fistfight in the street, with the neighborhood kids watching.

At home that evening the officer thinks, “Why am I so tired? I need a glass of wine. Or two.” The study of ethics reminds us: “Dealing with difficult situations always comes at a price! The physical and spiritual effects of your decisions will absolutely keep grinding on you under the surface, unseen. So, what are you doing to take care of yourself?”

The Same Situations Keep Arising Environmental enforcement officers around the state seem to deal with the same situations over and over, yet some officers seem to do a better job of dealing with these

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issues than others. Some officers smoothly navigate the situations, and others seem to be on-edge and bothered by everything that happens. There are common problems that confront officers, no matter where they work. They are "structural" in that they are simply built into the situation. Nevertheless, different officers often react very differently to these and other situations. Perhaps there are common approaches that have been worked out over the centuries that can provide guidance to officers dealing with these situations? There is an old saying that runs this way: Our problem is never our situation; the problem is the relationship we take to it.

That’s most likely true. For example, three people lose their jobs for the same reason from the same city, brought on by staff reductions for budgetary reasons. Even when all three have approximately the same financial obligations to meet, people often respond differently to the same situation. •

The first person sees the situation as a personal attack, falls into depression, begins drinking, fights with his wife, discovers opioids, and never works again;

The second acknowledges that the next job he lands will have its own unique and interesting challenges too, wonders what’s next for him, is appreciative for the skills he has acquired at his former job, and starts actively looking for his next position;

The third decides that this is his great opportunity to go back to school, do so, and changes careers.

Withdraw; hopefully engage; go do something else: these responses to unanticipated change are timeless and worldwide. People simply handle difficult situations differently, in accord with the way they were raised, their basic expectations of life, whether they see the universe as being essentially trustworthy or as being essentially dangerous, the emotional capacities they bring to the situation, their physical and spiritual health, and lots of other variables. Consider the different ways that you have seen officers deal with these common realities of the job of local enforcement: a. Uneducated Public. The enforcement field is complex and developing, and few citizens know the codes and criminal statutes. Citizens don’t understand that following processes takes time. Officers are constantly having to explain the law and deal with basic violations, then re-explain again, and then re-re-explain; b. Unknowledgeable Policy Makers. Because of a lack of focus on this subject, local governmental leaders simply don’t know their civil and criminal enforcement

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options in dealing with polluters of Texas air, water, and land resources and in those who threaten our public health. This ignorance results in frequent misunderstandings and arguments about what local governments (and officers) can and cannot do. Cities and counties cannot set good enforcement policies unless the officials know the options. Every election seems to bring yet another bunch of ignorant people who think they know all the answers; For example, suppose that some company dumped twenty scrap tires in a small creek in town. This might simultaneously be (1) a municipal code violation, carrying a potential civil penalty of up to $500 or perhaps up to $4,000; (2) a public health nuisance violation of Texas Health and Safety Code Sec. 341.013(c) or some other public health code violation, carrying a potential fine ranging from $10 to $200; (3) state jail felony level illegal dumping, with a sentence of 6 months to two years and/or a fine of up to $10,000 for the driver and/or a fine of up to $20,000 for the company if the company itself dumped these tires intentionally or knowingly; (4) a felony water pollution violation under Texas Water Code Sec. 7.145(a), with a penalty to an individual of confinement to five years and/or a fine ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 and/or a fine to the corporate offender of a fine as high as $250,000 per day of violation; and/or (5) the basis for a civil suit against the company by the city under Texas Water Code Sec. 7.351 for violating the Texas Municipal Solid Waste Rule (30 T.A.C. Sec 330) or other environmental rule, carrying a civil penalty of up to $25,000 per day for an ongoing offense. Explaining these choices to a newly elected official may be very difficult, especially if the new official had recently received a nice campaign donation from the offending company. c. Police May Refuse to Act. Trying to respond to criminal violations with municipal code and health code enforcement alone generally doesn’t work too well. The fact that few city police departments in Texas enforce (or even know) our state’s environmental criminal laws puts additional pressures on code enforcement programs, especially where criminal violations have become routine. In many cases, local police departments have refused to enforce criminal illegal dumping laws, generally because the officers and their chief are thinking these state criminal laws are actually local municipal codes of some sort (which they are not); d. Too Much Work. Success breeds future volume increases; the better job done and the more publicity given to a program, the greater the increase in public expectations, the more reports of violations are filed; things slowly grind to a halt; e. No Incentive to Innovate. No one in local government is paid extra for doing an

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innovative job, and doing new things is often professionally risky to the individual officer, so why push yourself? Years ago I saw a comment on the Onion comedy website discussing the Affordable Care Act - ObamaCare. Commenting on the negative publicity the President was receiving then, the fake comment read, “And just think - he could have avoided all of this by not caring about the health of the American people.” Unfortunately, there is a little too much truth in that observation. Many people working in local government discovered long ago that one good way to avoid criticism of how they are implementing an innovative new program is to make sure to never be innovative. Sometimes there is more personal risk in trying to solve a pressing problem than there is in continuing to ignore it; f. Good Record Keeping Takes Time. Poor record keeping has become a habit in many local enforcement programs, killing any accurate history of enforcement successes and failures. This also makes it difficult to attain grants and justify public funds being spent on the program. Without accurate records, it's difficult to know if you're making progress; g. Poor Direct Supervision. Not all environmental enforcement officers are supervised by individuals who know these codes and laws very well themselves. For example, a few counties have located their criminal environmental enforcement officer within the county health department. These two cultures seldom mix well, and these supervisory structures tend to fail. In these cases, the officer and his supervisor are simply on different pages. Sometimes the supervisor is busy with other things or is himself uninterested in environmental enforcement. Such poor supervision can result in limited program support and loss of officer morale. It can also lead to peace officers assuming the role of prosecutor, judge, and jury in cases where their actual job is to accurately investigate reported crimes and provide the results of their investigations to the magistrate for processing by the prosecutor and court system; h. Prosecutor Disinterest. Effective prosecution of criminal environmental cases is a team effort, but local prosecutors sometimes are “too busy” to deal with environmental crime. Occasionally, an immature prosecutor will see himself as "superior" to peace officers because the prosecutor probably has more formal schooling. This can result in the immature prosecutor refusing to learn from peace officers who are presenting cases based on violations the prosecutor didn't learn in law school or on the job. Prosecutors holding elected office, however, often quickly recognize that protecting air, water, land resources and our public

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health is a great political position. A few polluting companies will not like it, but voters overwhelmingly hate illegal dumpers. A prosecutor not wanting to handle environmental criminal cases may ask, “Which rape, murder, or child abuse case do you want me to turn my back on to handle your illegal dumping case?” They generally don’t want to hear, “That's a false choice. How about you give up your long coffee breaks and lunches, shooting the bull with your colleagues, and surfing the web? Work more effectively, like the rest of us are having to do. The public cares about these cases, and therefore you should too." i. Where's the Health Department? Every city and county is eligible to establish a local health department under Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 121. Of the approximately 1,500 eligible local governments, fewer than 100 have so far established a full-service local health department. Additionally, those counties that have not created a formal health department can appoint a county employee to work under the direction of the county health authority to enforce state health codes through citations [see THSC Sec. 121.013(c)]. (A "health authority" is the local physician that most counties have appointed to handle public health issues). Only a few have done this. Either of these structures give the county the authority to use the state-mandated provisions at THSC Sec. 341.012 to work with violators to abate public health nuisances. This is in addition to the TCEQ "Designated Representative" program. Few local health authorities are following the state-mandated process in THSC Sec. 341.012 to force the abatement of public health nuisances; j. Abatement is Not Always Immediate. If an officer fails to act, everybody continues to see the mess. When the officer does act, the mess may linger. Actual abatement of the pollution can be a complex problem, especially in criminal cases. Even when everything works perfectly, not everybody is necessarily happy. Lots of people are impacted by most environmental enforcement, and they all have opinions. Some oppose local protection of water, land, air, and community health if it comes at the cost of making a fast profit. Others may think the reason a mess lingers is officer inaction, not realizing that enforcement processes that are constrained by state laws are often very slow. k. Bosses Protecting the Violator. Sometimes the violator is a relative, a source of funding, a business partner, or is otherwise connected to a local official. Or perhaps a particular violation is linked to job creation, and the officials have decided to look the other way on violations. Protecting the criminal acts of certain individuals and companies in Texas is especially common in smaller

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communities. You are a police officer who is five long years from retirement. A local wellknown criminal defense attorney, the brother-in-law of the city manager, has announced to all that he is going to demolish a rental house he owns and bury the debris in a hole he has dug on the property. You know that your state criminal law identifies this as “disposing solid waste in an unapproved site” and sets a penalty for the violation as a term in the state jail ranging from six months to two years and/or a fine to $10,000. State law allows the disposal of limited amounts of solid waste on one’s own property, but not in the contemplated volume and not of waste originating from a commercial source, such as rental property. You also know that it is also a local municipal code violation — as well as a criminal law violation — to dispose of this sort of waste on one’s own property. You go by the site and, sure enough, a hole has been dug and the workers are in the process of demolishing the house and throwing all manner of things in the hole. You tell your Chief, and he says not to worry about it since the property owner is the brother-in-law of the city manager — and you know that this makes absolutely no difference. You think about the various people that might have an interest in this situation. You know that it won’t be long until everybody else on the block is out digging holes in their backyards too. Does the fact that your boss told you “don’t worry about it” relieve you of any responsibility? What if this had been some other sort of crime you were witnessing? l. Hard To Find the Violators. Where the violators are not the property possessors, it can be easier to find the victims than the violators. But if an officer is not doing everything she can to find the violator, should she simply put pressure on property owners to clean dump sites they did not create? You have to catch the violator too, and this requires code and police functions to cooperate with each other; m. Mental Illness Abounds. There’s a great deal of mental illness in the United States, including within many neighborhoods where enforcement officers work. Mental illness, including addictions, is so common in America that literally every family has been affected by it, directly indirectly. Occasionally, the stresses of dealing with specific highly emotional situations can overwhelm the officer's own mental health. The code violations themselves may be reflecting an inability to cope with reality. Although highly impacted by having to deal with mentally ill customers, few code enforcement programs in the state have trained their officers in the related safety issues. There are no state-mandated training

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requirements in Texas for code officers in dealing with emotionally disturbed and mentally ill people. This is not a trivial matter: “An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health [citing Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelvemonth DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 Jun; 62(6):617-27]. Environmental enforcement officers — code and police — seem to encounter more than their fair share of these nearly 81 million people. [See http:// www.dshs.state.tx.us/mhcommunity/default.shtm for a list of Community Mental Health Centers in Texas, one of which may be the source of training for you and your staff.]; n. Private Property Myth. Lots of people, including far too many elected officials, seem to think that a person can do anything he wants to do on his private property, although that’s never been true in western civilization. This is also one reason there are so many different policies between cities on the correct process to go through to gain access to private property; It’s never been permissible, for instance, to commit acts defined as criminal by the state legislature on your property, and then use the location of the crime as a defense. This applies to dumping and public health nuisances too, most of which violations happen on private property. It’s a romantic notion that we can withdraw to our private property and then proceed to violate state criminal laws, health codes, and municipal codes, but it just isn’t true. Enforcement officers should not have to be continually explaining this to their supervisors and new elected officials, but it is a deeply held myth; o. Distrust of Government. Over my lifetime, Americans have been taught to distrust government at all levels. Research shows that local governments are seen as being more trustworthy than state governments, and state governments do better than the federal level in citizen support. However, people just don’t trust government very much generally, and that’s whom the officer on the front porch is representing. Distrust in government has increased over the last several years for a number of reasons. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reports that the percentage of people answering the question “How much of the time do you trust the government in Washington?” with a response of “Just about always / most of the time” is around 19% (down from 78% under President

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Johnson in 1965). The Gallop Poll indicates that the percentage of people holding a favorable view of Congress is around 10%. State and local governments do significantly better than does any part of the the federal government. Gallup shows that around 70% of respondents indicate a trust of local government since the early 1970s, and around 60% indicating a trust in state government. By comparison, Gallop reports that 77% of Americans answer favorably when asked how much they trust the military. The closer civilian government gets to the people, the higher the level of trust the people show. Officers respond to all of these common situations in different ways. Some "go with the flow" and adapt to changing conditions; others stick around but become crabby after dealing with the same issues for years; and some run away to join the circus or attend school or change careers. As group, officers approaching things a from a criminal enforcement point of view may deal with these issues differently from officers coming from a code enforcement/ RS/health department perspective. This "problems of two cultures" may be the basic reason why criminal environmental enforcement officers reporting to local health departments can constitute a very difficult management structure. The health department perspective is primarily to abate the problem and help the violator find ways to avoid future polluting; the criminal environmental officer mostly wants to arrest the felon. This difference in primary focus often proves unworkable in the long run, especially in situations where the officers are all expert and full of themselves. What may be passed off as "personality conflicts" are often really organizational structural issues.

Code vs. Police As Local Environmental Enforcement Officers Let's consider these two professions a little more. There is an enormous difference between the objectives of code enforcement officers, health officers and registered sanitarians on the one hand and law enforcement officers on the other as far as local environmental enforcement is concerned. Both groups are trying to protect our land, air, and water resources and protect the health of the citizens, but they do so with different approaches and tools. For code, RS, and health officers, protecting these resources and our health through achieving voluntary compliance with local codes and state health laws is the primary focus; for peace officers, it’s about stopping violators of state criminal laws that protect our health and resources. Both of these approaches have their own ethical issues; every decision made by each officer carries the question "Is this the right thing to do?"

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Achieving Compliance Code officers, health officers and registered sanitarians focus on bringing a location into compliance, thereby protecting the health of the citizens, the value and safety of property, and protecting our natural resources. The aim of this process is usually abatement of the problem and education of the violator in hopes of reducing the likelihood of repeated pollution. Most cases are resolved with no court intervention. In fact, if a case deteriorates to the point where a municipal judge must get involved, code enforcement officers often feel like the process has been something of a failure. The aim was to bring the property owner or possessor to the point of voluntary compliance, and this didn’t happen, so the court had to become involved as a final step. Strangely, through the state-wide court reporting system we have records of how many code cases are filed and resolved by municipal judges. However, we have no idea of the total number of code enforcement cases statewide resolved through voluntary compliance in Texas. Stopping a Criminal Law enforcement officers stop criminals from illegally dumping, polluting the air and water, and creating health nuisances. Officers do this by bringing apparent violators before judges and juries (by way of prosecutors) who can determine their guilt or innocence and, if found guilty, impose a fine, a time of confinement, or some other penalty. The aim of this process is to punish a violator so that he will not repeat his bad behavior. Abatement of the problem will often be a secondary outcome of the court action or of the agreed order negotiated between the local criminal prosecutor and the violator. In many criminal cases, however, the pollution may remain present for a very long time, unless the violator is brought to justice or a local health department gets involved. The concept that “police don’t clean-up crime scenes” extends to pollution cases. In these and all criminal cases, officers are strongly discouraged from stepping beyond their defined roles and acting as the prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner. They’re not the local health department either. Officers primarily report crimes to the magistrate, as directed by the Code of Criminal Procedure, and let the criminal justice system do its thing. Because they are often unaware of the existence and content of state criminal laws that protect the environment, code, RS, and health officers may think that there is little they can do beyond bringing citizens unwilling to voluntarily comply before a municipal court judge or Justice of the Peace. But this is incorrect. By bringing local police and deputies into the process when appropriate and also using their civil suit powers, cities and counties can achieve higher levels of compliance. After a prolonged period of

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ignoring repeated requests for compliance from code, RS, and health officers, a violator may radically change his mood when the guys with the handcuffs show up for a talk. However, if the police have adopted a "hands off" policy towards environmental crime, the city's response to pollution will necessarily be weaker. One day a pickup truck carrying a door sign reading “Joe’s Tire Service” and the name of a neighboring town stopped at a vacant lot in your city. The driver quickly got out of the truck and dumped about ten tires, weighing around 22 pounds each (220 pounds in total), on the lot and then sped away. The elderly property owner, watched this happen from a window of his home and got the description of the truck and the driver, and the license number of the vehicle. The next day, the same driver did the same thing at another location, and sped away. And he repeated this on the third day. As in the first case, the other two property owners witnessed the dumping and wrote down what they saw. In all three cases the property owners called the city to report what they had seen. This information was routed to the code enforcement department. A code enforcement officer responded and informed the three property owners that they would have to remove the tires themselves since it was a code violation to allow rubbish to be piled on their property, regardless of its source. All three property owners became irate when they got the news that they would have to clean their properties. “What about the guy who dumped these tires on me?” they each asked. “What are you going to do about him?” The code officer considered that the property owners might be right. Surely the guy who dumped the tires should be made to clean the messes he made. But the code officer was uncertain as to how to proceed. The municipal code he had been trained to apply to this situation focused on the responsibility of the property owner to keep his property clean, not on catching somebody from another town doing some dumping. While it was both unfortunate and unfair that the owners would have to pay to clean their properties, that was how the code read. The municipal code didn’t seem to be useful in getting Joe’s Tires to stop dumping, but the three piles of tires had to go, no matter how they came to be. That afternoon the code officer called the city police department and asked if there was anything they could do to help. Their reply was, “Well, we don’t do code enforcement, and certainly not in another city. There’s nothing we can do. Bye.” The code officer thought, "Too right. Y'all don't enforce codes. But surely there's more to this than that!" Unknown to the code officer and police, the guys back at Joe’s Tires were loading another bunch of scrap tires on the truck in preparation for another run. Nobody but Joe realized that each of the three events of dumping was a criminal offense under Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 365, each punishable by a fine to $10,000

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and confinement in a state jail for a period of six months to two years. He had researched the law very closely and had thought, "Well, if we get caught, I'll blame the drivers." Joe hated doing things this way, kinda, but about a week ago he realized that his scrap tire inventory had reached the point where he was going to have to registration with the state as a Scrap Tire Storage Facility. "I'll never be able to afford even to file that application, with all those studies you have to get done beforehand. I'd better just get rid of a bunch of tires and get back down below the limit," he had reasoned. Joe thought that he had found a very low-cost way to reduce the number of scrap tires he had on hand, and so far his plan was working. Between existing municipal codes, health laws, criminal laws, and civil suit powers (see Texas Water Code Sec. 7.351) already in effect, cities and counties certainly have all the tools needed to protect resources and public health. That is, provided that the city or county is willing to learn and use all of its options. In far too many cases, however, cities and counties simply don’t know the enforcement choices available to them. Consequently citizens are forced to put up with problems they actually don’t have to endure. The State Legislature has provided all the civil and criminal laws that local cities and counties need to handle these problems. They have done their part. But what about local government? "Are we using all the tools the State Legislature has provided to take care of our land, air, and water and to protect public health?" is absolutely an ethical question for local government policymakers.

Ethics is a Branch of Philosophy Ethics is a branch of “philosophy,” a word that in Greek means “love of knowledge.” If you love knowledge, you’re a philosopher. So congratulations, since that’s all of us most of the time. Philosophy is itself traditionally broken down into three branches. They have big names, but address extremely practical questions. (1) Ontology asks the question, “What in the universe is Ultimately Real?” It deals with questions such as whether God — or Higher Intelligence or Creator, if you prefer — exists, and what does it mean to say that the world and we have been “created”? Is there an Unseen Presence behind everything we experience? If so, what is it like? Ontology wants to know, “What is the Lasting Reality we face?”, which (I think) is the same as asking “What is our own Origin and Destiny?”

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(2) Epistemology asks the question, “How do I know what statements are true and which are not?” It is interested in exploring how we know something is “true” or “false” and what those words mean. What's our criteria for truth? What's our criteria if there is no way of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or feeling the Reality about which we are speaking? For instance, if we assert that God created the Universe, how do we in fact know that is true? Is it sufficient that the Holy Name appears in a Holy Book telling this story? Why or why not? Are there other ways of knowing? Are the statements we are using to demonstrate the truth of an assertion internally consistent? What does the word “truth” mean in those situations? In general, how do we “know” what we claim to “know,” and is "knowing" something through someone else's experience as valid as “knowing” it through our own? (3) Ethics asks the question, “Given what is Ultimately Real, and given the degree of certainty my search for truth has produced — that is, given my Ontology and my Epistemology — how should I act in the face of Ultimate Reality?” "Given what I know, what should I do?” As you can see, philosophy has a technical vocabulary unique to that discipline as any other field of study. Nevertheless, these are all actually very practical questions that can be re-expressed for street use as: (1) “What’s so?” or “What’s really going on here?” (2) “How do I know my understanding of this is accurate?” (3) “Since I now know what’s really going on, what should I do about it?” Expressed in non-technical language, we clearly ask these three questions constantly about everything with which we get involved. Since asking these questions is what the entire field of philosophy does every day — using its own special technical language, of course — we are clearly all philosophers. We can ever escape from philosophy. As long as there are humans, they will be asking the three questions that can’t be avoided. For my own use, I've even shortened them a little further to a form I use constantly to approach all interactions. “What’s so?” “How do I know?” “So what?”

The primary question of Ethics is "What is the claim for action that this situation places on me?” (Another way to ask, “So what?” Wrestling with these three questions is pretty well what we humans spend most of our waking hours doing. These are important. Get these wrong, your entire life project is

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put at risk. Good philosophers talk about these questions, seek to learn from others, and are certainly willing to change their minds — provided that the “answers” meet their epistemological standards. Bad philosophers seldom reflect on these matters or discuss them, so they tend to hold the views they learned when they were kids — and they may not have understood their parents, friends, youth minister, or some puppet on Sesame Street correctly at the time. We get our starting ideas about life from many strange, often-incorrect sources. As we mature, we have to keep chewing on these ideas if we want to become more effective humans (and most of us do). So a class in ethics invites us to become better philosophers by being more reflective on the principles behind our actions. A notion for you to think about — and this won’t be on the test — is how a person’s Ontology, Epistemology, and Ethics are usually fairly consistent with each other. If this is an area that interests you, drop me an email and we’ll discuss it further.

Choices of Ethical Approaches Over the hundreds of thousands of years that humans have been deciding what the "right" thing to do was in various situations, several recurring answers have emerged. These principles have worked for so many people that they just might be useful for us too. We may find ourselves falling back on one or more of these, or using one as a starting point for our own reflections. 1. Religious Approach. Many decide to structure their decisions along the lines defined by the basic ethical requirements of a major religion, such as Christianity or Judaism. For example, to have a standard against which to measure our decisions and actions, we may follow some specific teaching, such as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-14): 1. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall not have other gods beside me. 2. You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or serve them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inFlicting punishment for their ancestors’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but showing love

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TIDRC006 Ethics down to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. 3. You shall not invoke the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished anyone who invokes his name in vain. 4. Remember the Sabbath day — keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested That is why the LORD has blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 5. Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you. 6. You shall not kill. 7. You shall not commit adultery. 8. You shall not steal. 9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. The Ten Commandments are pretty handy. They provide a basic set of rules that deal with our relationship to our Creator (first four Commandments), our totally unique relationship to our parents (Fifth Commandment), and about 99% of the other recurring problems in our other relationships (Sixth through Tenth). These handle most of the practical issues one will encounter. They also can be interpreted broadly to deal with other issues. For example don’t “steal” or “murder” someone’s reputation by speaking ill of them behind their back. Every religion has these ethical codes, and many times they fundamentally agree with each other. Their purpose is to define "right" action for the followers of the religion, by giving a fast way of figuring out the right thing to do is in a particular situation. By keeping these rules of basic action in front of us, we’ll be less likely to “explore after our heart and after our eyes after which we stray” (Numbers

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15:39). Instead, we'll be keeping our hearts and eyes on the core values. But Judaism and Christianity aren’t the only religions with moral codes. Some schools of Buddhism, for instance, hold these five ethical norms to be central: 1. Don’t murder; 2. Don’t steal; 3. Use sexuality correctly; 4. Use language right; and, 5. Don’t use intoxicants. Notice that the more general the expression, the more difficult a rule is to follow. For example, the Seventh Commandment of Judaism seems easy when compared to the Third Commandment of Buddhism. Not committing adultery seems easy enough to figure out, but "use sexuality correctly" may take some thinking. 2. Don’t Just Use Others. This is a second ethical principle that may serve one well.The German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is considered by many to be the Father of modern Western ethics and has provided two principles that are key. The first is about how we treat others. Since each human is unique and important, we shouldn’t simply treat other persons like objects to be manipulated to get what we want. He put it in eighteenth century language: “Act with reference to every rational being (whether yourself or another) so that it is an end in itself.” We’d express this today as “Act in such a way that you treat others as the unique individuals they are, and not just as something to use.” Notice that this requirement includes treating ourselves as uniquely valuable creations too — and refraining from unreasonable self-use. An example of treating yourself as a means rather than as an end might be wearing yourself out, day after day, by working too hard. Everybody has to face the question, “Am I working in order to live, or living in order to work?” Using yourself unjustly is as much an ethical issue as using someone else; you’re not simply an object to be manipulated either. Our families also pay the price when we treat ourselves as an object: (1) they have to watch us violate our own dignity; and, (2) we often treat them just as badly. We seldom treat others better than we treat ourselves. The last section of this paper discusses ways that you can be kinder to yourself, considering your unique value in Creation.

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3. Act As You Think All Humans Should in the Same Situation. This is another one of Kant’s “Categorical Imperatives” — his eighteenth century language for “what’s always true, everywhere, and for everybody." This is an ethical principle that we often use without giving it much thought. Kant expressed this as “Act in life in such a way that you can at the same time will the maxim of your action to be Universal Law.” This is a odd way of saying that we should act on principles that we would like to have all people follow if they were in the same circumstances we are. We should always act in such a way that we’d like everyone to act if they were in our shoes. Makes sense. Your task is to be very thoughtful about your own actions; act in such a way that what you’re doing COULD be the universally true law for that situation. 4. Law of Reciprocity. A specific way to focus on this last point is to see it as the "Law of Reciprocity" or “What I do, I will eventually receive” or "What I put into life, I'll eventually get back" or simply as "Karma." Knowing that we'll get back what we put into life, hopefully we'll put good acts forward, rather than bad ones. Physical and emotional bullies may well simply be people who have been sheltered temporarily from experiencing the reality of reciprocity. The idea of reciprocity is has been expressed in just about all cultures as some variation of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Sometimes this notion is expressed in the religion of a culture — for instance, it appears in both Christianity and Judaism — and sometimes it is not rooted in religion at all; even atheists can agree with this one. It just seems to be how the world is hung together. A stupid variation on this we often hear is “Do unto others BEFORE they do unto you,” or as “Might makes Right,” or as “The one with the Gold makes the Rules.” These are all cynical expressions of the principle that one should exert his power, without limits, to get what he wants in life, and to heck with everybody else. This is the dream of just about every teenage boy. “Might makes Right” is also the ethical principle behind many adventure movies, where the hero uses violence to achieve what is “right” in the audience’s eyes. The only problem with this approach is that, finally, we are the loser: There is ALWAYS a person with more power who is more ready than we are to use violence to get what he wants, at our expense. A man who abuses his wive by using physical and emotional violence to control her is a good example of a person acting on the ethical principle “Might makes Right.” Fortunately when the police show up in the situation — hopefully to exercise the appropriate level of violence society has

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authorized to preserve overall safety — the abuser realizes that his ethic hasn’t worked. Advanced lessons in this may be administered by other inmates if he is confined. I also notice that instructors in court-ordered Batterers' Intervention Programs seem to do best if they are the biggest guy in the room. That way the abuser can have his idea that “Might makes Right” brought into question immediately. Following this principle will eventually get you crushed, but often not until you have damaged a lot of other folks. Many of us have decided that the Law of Reciprocity, expressed as the Golden Rule, works best for us. We simply ought to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. The Law of Reciprocity just seems to be what actually happens between people too. Over time, people seem to settle-in and treat each other in a similar manner. By acting compassionately and with mercy, we shouldn’t be surprised to see it reflected back to us, over time. So by following this principle, we're reminded to always be more compassionate. 5. Mercy is Superior to Justice. This principle holds that our basic code of ethics should be to always be compassionate. Often what’s needed in our dealings with others is for us to show mercy — compassion — rather than be the dispenser of justice. “Justice” is the process of making sure people get what they “deserve.” Lord knows, NONE of us really wants to get what we actually deserve, right? We all stand in need of mercy, not justice. There was an old criminal defense attorney who once said he never had a client that wanted justice. He said, “What they all want is off!” That’s me. Or from another perspective, in the Clint Eastwood film “The Unforgiven,” there’s a scene in which the young shooter, The Schofield Kid, has just killed a cowboy who had earlier knifed a woman. The youngster is very upset from having done what was actually his first killing, and is seeking affirmation from Eastwood’s character, the notorious murderer, Will Munny. The Kid says, of the dead man,“I guess he had it coming." Munny replies, "We all got it coming, kid.” Too right. We all need to give and be willing to receive more mercy and compassion as we go through life’s difficult journey. Being guided by the ethical code, “Be the source of mercy and compassion in every situation” can be exactly what is required. Showing mercy may look differently for code officers and peace officers. They usually face different situations. Code enforcement officers, health department officers, and registered sanitarians, for example, are often presented with situations in which the

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property possessor is mentally ill, disabled, elderly, without financial or family resources, or otherwise absolutely unable to bring the place up to the standards the code requires. This can present a real quandary in many situations, yet the codes and health laws must be enforced for the good of all. But the officer may see that not much is to be gained by hammering people in these situations; the wiser and more effective approach may be to apply compassion and understanding and work to get additional resources into the situation. This always takes time, but may actually result in the problem being solved rather than kicked down the road. Compassion always takes more time than simply showing one's heart of stone. But it's usually better for everybody concerned, including the officer. Peace officers faced with criminals, however, experience a far different situation. They have the primary job in the community of starting the process that will result in an alleged criminal being prosecuted, possibly found guilty, and appropriately punished, or acquitted. This a very difficult thing to do. Police must trust that prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, and juries will all do their jobs, and this doesn't always happen. Peace officers should never, out of frustration with the system, act as prosecutor, judge, and jury in their cases. Their job is to analyze the situation where the criminal law has been broken, identify the apparently guilty party, and turn them and the evidence of wrong-doing over to the rest of the system. Where criminal laws have been violated, we generally don’t want peace officers to be understanding, forgiving, and compassionate toward the violator; save that for the victim. We want them to act professionally and accurately in identifying the apparent violator and then letting the system decide on the appropriate level of punishment or forgiveness. And yet, peace officers are faced endlessly with situations that require wisdom and compassion, such as dealing with mentally ill persons, juveniles, the elderly, people under extreme distress, and borderline cases where an arrest simply doesn’t make sense. Their quandary in these situations is in deciding if what the law is directing them to do is the right thing when applied to the specific situation they are facing. No person can escape the requirement of deciding what the right thing to do is in a particular situation. It's our fate as humans. Where a criminal law itself is immoral, being expected to enforce it presents a very difficult situation for a peace officer. Before saying that this could never happen to a Texas peace officer, you might consider that the racial segregation laws in Texas, that existed well into my adult life, were

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state criminal laws. But what happens when a code/RS/health officer or a sworn peace officer simply doesn't agree with the laws and codes that he or she has sworn or hired to enforce, and then intentionally fails to act? Are we to pretend that this is not an ethical issue? For instance, under THSC Sec. 341.012 health departments are mandated by the State Legislature to work with local prosecutors to follow a four-step process to abate identified health nuisances in Texas. Health departments and prosecutors simply don't follow these mandated steps. One reason that there are so many remaining health nuisances in Texas is that local health departments simply do not follow the directions of the State Legislature. If you have an interest in this, read THSC Sec. 341.012(b)-(d) and send me an email on this very interesting policy issue. However, our duty to act may be compromised in other ways too. We may simply make an error when our heart gets in the way: You are a criminal enforcement officer and have stopped the driver of an oil and gas waste tanker truck who you have seen dumping salt water produced as a byproduct of oil and gas extraction. The driver’s actions seem to be intentional: the tanker was backed up to a creek and the driver was standing by the rear of the truck, watching the salt water flow from the open valve into the creek. In your state this meets the elements of felony water pollution as well as several other minor charges. The driver, when caught, completely falls apart emotionally. He tells you how this is his first week on the job, how he knows his actions are wrong, but that his boss has specifically ordered him to do this. He tells you a story of having a sickly wife and hungry children and of his great need to avoid jail. He begs you for mercy: “Please, please just let me go and I’ll NEVER do this again!” You know the potential penalty for this violation is a fine for an individual ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 and/or confinement for as long as five years under TWC Sec. 7.145. Personally, you think this is too big a potential penalty for water pollution, and you are moved by the driver’s story. You think to yourself, “This poor guy was just following orders and is trying to keep his job. Why hammer him?” You decide to ignore the water pollution charge and use another, more minor violation: “disposal of oil and gas waste at an unauthorized location,” the penalty for which is a fine of $100 to $1,000 and/ or confinement of up to ten days in the county jail

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underTWC Sec. 29.044. You decide to issue the violator a ticket for this offense and send him on his way with a court date. He leaves with promises to never offend again on his lips, and you feel like you have done a good job. Two weeks later you catch the same driver committing the same offense in another location. Did you really do your job of protecting the water resources and health of your citizens by failing to appropriately charge the individual in the first situation? Did you act justly in the first situation, or did you decide to take the roles of prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner on your back? Would this qualify as “arrogant” behavior on your part (i.e., defined as “assuming the power to make decisions that have been reserved to someone else”)? 6. Good People Naturally Do Good Acts. This final common pattern of ethical response is often associated with the Greek Aristotle (384 B.C. – 322 B.C.), especially as expressed in his book Nicomachean Ethics. This is the “grandfather” text in the field of non-religious ethics, and is the place to start for further reading in the field. Its notion is that if a person has been raised to be a good person, he or she will naturally have those character attributes — the “virtues” — necessary to make good decisions in any situation. Chief among those virtues are courage and temperance. He will also naturally show the secondary virtues that flow from these, such as generosity, balanced ambition, gentleness, friendship, honesty, and charm. In this view, there’s no need to remember principles to be applied to various situations; virtuous men and women just automatically do what’s right in every situation. Living a life of virtue is the only way to achieve real happiness, according to Aristotle. In this view, self-discipline is very important: “The self-indulgent man craves for all pleasant things … and is led by his appetite to choose these at the cost of everything else.” So don’t be self-indulgent. Seek the good in your actions, and remember that “Wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.” The Gospel of Luke at Chapter 6, Verse 45 makes the same point: “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” As western civilization has developed, reflection on the subject of Ethics has often followed one or more of these ways of thinking. In each case, there is a related Ontology and Epistemology that keeps our thinking internally coherent — usually

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unknown to us, operating down there in our middle somewhere. Being guided by one or more of these principles can be a good place to begin a review of your own behavior. Most people eventually wonder, "Humm. Why did I do that?" This is actually the question, "What ethical principle was I following in that action, and why did I follow that one?

A Bad but Very Popular Idea This brings us to consideration of a particularly bad idea that is nevertheless very popular in our culture, masquerading as an "ethical" principle. This is an idea that, if you find yourself holding it, you need to shake it off like a dog does rainwater. Now, I’ve held some really stupid ideas in my life, a fact that becomes more clear the older I get. I’ve even tried to live my life according to some of these stupid ideas (thinking at the time that they were very wise), only to wonder why I and those around me were in such pain. As it turns out, building a life around a wrong idea (1) can easily be done, since we have freedom of will; and, (2) really messes up lives, our own and others’. Here’s an example of what I take to be a really stupid and destructive — but very popular — idea. You need to be on the lookout for it. Back in 1959, when I was in high school in Dallas, I somehow came across a novel called Atlas Shrugged, by the Russian-American writer Ayn Rand (born Alisa Rosenbaum in 1905 in St. Petersburg, Russia; grew up under early communism; immigrated to the United States alone in 1926 at the age of 21; lifelong atheist; became a successful American novelist and philosopher of capitalism; died in New York City in 1982). Atlas Shrugged was first published in 1957, and it had been out for a couple of years when I first read it. The edition I read was 1,084 pages long, and, truthfully, could have easily been several hundred pages longer. It's a good story, and I’ve always thought that it was a little hurried at the end. It has never been out of print at anytime over the fifty years since it was first published. At least one not-so-good movie has been made based on it. A few years ago the Library of Congress released a survey of books that Americans reported as being most influential in their lives. Atlas Shrugged was in second place, beaten only by the King James Version of the Holy Bible (although I suspect that more folks have actually read Atlas Shrugged all the way through than the King James Version of the Holy Bible). It’s interesting that these would be in the first and second positions, because they express absolutely opposing ideas. Atlas Shrugged has had an enormous (generally unseen) influence on America, and

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many people deeply informed by its ideas have risen to high political positions. For example, the economist and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, was a close personal friend of Ms. Rand’s and in his younger years edited her newsletter; and, U.S. Congressman and former Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan has widely acknowledged the contribution that the ideas of Ayn Rand made to his life. This has been and is now a very influential book. For a rebellious Dallas teenager in the late-1950s, Atlas Shrugged was revolutionary. It was anti-church, the heroes were atheists and possessed highly superior intellects, and the glory of using one’s mind productively was its theme. All of this appealed enormously to me at age sixteen; it supported my very strong teenage hunch that I was surrounded by idiots. The book told the romantic story of how productive individuals were suppressed by an evil political and immoral collectivist economic system, with the only way to free oneself from the system being to withhold one’s efforts … which will cause the system to collapse. So, as the story goes, the only authentic heroes and heroines of our day — mostly industrialists, a few artists, a professor or two, and a sea pirate — moved to a commune in Colorado. That's about where the book ends, but the intention is for these folks to rebuild society according to proper rules after it completely collapses. Go on strike; be free! What a wonderful idea for a teenager! I’ve read Atlas Shrugged easily a dozen times over the years. I’ve recommended it to others and pressed it into the hands of young philosophy students — it's a great way to get students to read a long philosophy-based novel. I’ve also given many copies to teens needing a strong dose of self-affirmation; its heroine, Dagny Taggart, is, in my opinion, the strongest female character in American literature. It is probably the best book I know of to demonstrate the “cash value” of ideas and how different ideas playout in the lives of individuals. It is extremely romantic, and is, in fact, a darn good adventure story about railroads. Loads of heroes and villains. It is also a book that has suddenly become extremely popular among the political right-wing in the United States, although Ms. Rand’s personal life-long atheism is an objective fact that is ignored or downplayed by those quoting her economic and political ideas now. It is well worth taking the time to read, and I’ve added it to the Short List of Suggested Readings at the end of this paper. However, I would strongly suggest, after fifty years of personal reflection, that it is also profoundly wrong in its understanding of how humans interact and hang together on this planet. Humans simply are not as she depicts, nor should they strive to be. We are simply not independent of each other.

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The organizing ethical principle in the book is this phrase originating with the hero in the novel, John Galt. When the heroes and heroines get down to expressing their most cherished ethical value, this is what they say: "I swear by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." That is exactly what many teenagers wish were true: that they were totally independent of others (until they want something, of course), free of any responsibilities except to pursue their own interests (and you should happily loan them your car). The problem with this moral code is that it simply does not reflect the structural reality that exists between humans. It’s not the way things are. In fact, they are exactly the opposite: We live in an interlocking reality of total inter-relatedness. There is simply no way that we can avoid living our lives for the sake of others, to a large degree. Nor is it possible for others to avoid living on our behalf. We deeply impact each other by our actions, which is exactly the issue that any study of ethics attempts to address. In order to trade value-for-value with you, I must produce goods or services that you want to better live your life. If I don't produce goods and services that meet your most personal and private needs, eventually I starve. In this sense, I must live for your sake, and you for mine. If you want a plate of eggs, the fact that I made a bunch of muffins (because I like to do that or inherited a muffin tin) doesn't help either of us. I should have been seeing what you wanted before I cranked up the cook stove. We constantly interact with each other through the mechanism of the markets. Capitalism actually reflects extremely high degrees of interaction, not independence from each other. The Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk and popular writer, Thich Nhat Hanh, creates the word “Inter-being” to express the concept that there actually are no “independent” substances, situations, or people. None of us is inclosed in boundaries that keep life out. We so interact with each other that we “are” only in relation to our surroundings and others (a very good, short book by him on this concept is on the reading list too). In fact, this absolute interaction with our surroundings is the reason we need to make sure our water, air, and land are clean: any pollution eventually shows up in humans in the form of health problems. The same idea applies to surrounding ourselves with toxic people: they rub off on us too. Things and people are totally inter-related, constantly impacting and modifying each

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other, and pretending otherwise is just idiotic (and very bad science too). Another way of understanding the error of thinking that we display when we try to define ourselves as essentially separate from each other is the following example from contemporary politics. Not too long ago, an extremely successful businessman ran an extremely unsuccessful race for President on a third-party ticket. In an interview during that race, he made the following statement in describing himself: “I am a self-made man.” I immediately thought, “Oh you bet! You’re totally self-made, except for the minor contributions from: •

your parents;

the physician and nurses that delivered you;

the people who manufactured the equipment and instruments they used in the process;

the air and water you run through your body every day;

the unseen workers who keep that air and water clean;

your brothers and sisters;

the other kids on the block where you grew up and their parents;

the 100 trillion mostly-benign bacteria that inhabit your body (three times more than the number of cells you have), doing a great job to keep you alive;

your teachers from kindergarten through college;

the United States government (for your service academy education and those great government contracts you sopped up like gravy to make your fortune);

the business that decided to hire you to give you a start as a computer salesman;

the entire computing industry that created the machines you sold;

your employees;

your customers;

your wife and your own children;

the bartender who took the keys off of the drunk in the tavern up the road, which resulted in his not plowing into your car thirty years ago;

business colleagues who provided good advice along the way;

the ministers at the churches you attended;

your barber;

the cooks who prepared your food;

your car mechanics;

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the people who built the houses and buildings that provided you with a place to sleep, recreate, and work;

the people who built the airplanes you ride;

the aircraft controllers;

the guys who laid the highways across America;

the gracious hand of God Almighty;

etc., etc., etc.”

You get the idea. Take away any of those elements and the person emerges as someone else entirely. Take away the bacteria, and he's not there at all. This guy was not only inter-related to all of those people and things, but he had to a large degree been formed by them. Of course, he most assuredly has an independent soul with freedom of choice; and, yes, he certainly extended a lot of personal energy and thought along the way. But without the contribution of others, neither he — nor we — would be anything much beyond naked, cold, and hungry for the short time we lived after being born. If the doctor hadn't been there to whack us on the bottom to make us cry, our lungs would not have expanded that first time; we would have simply drowned on the spot. Life requires enormous levels of cooperation to be lived. We “inter-be” with each other. Any other understanding of how people relate is childish and the product of extremely poor eyesight. To prove the interrelatedness of all life, all you have to do is look. Moreover, the key Jewish and Christian insight is that all we are and claim to possess are gifts from God, actually totally undeserved gifts at that and nothing “earned.” In fact, to assert that one is a “self-made man,” responsible for the successes one enjoys is, from the Jewish or Christian point-of-view, outrageous blasphemy. Regardless of how hard we work, none of us is “self-made”; none of us is really independent of each other; all of us constantly have to deal with the fact that we do in fact live our lives for the sake of each other; all of us are faced with the responsibility for the fact that we regularly ask others, through the way our free markets act and basic human interactions, to live on our behalf. And we commit to live on behalf of them. This is the basic social contract we have with each other — that what we do as individuals is critically important to each other — and it is the reality of this interrelatedness that Atlas Shrugged simply fails to get right. Now here’s the interesting thing in all this: there are currently two conflicting

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ontologies in our country concerning just exactly what a human being actually is. Each generates its own ethical principle. We are either: (1) independent, self-made individuals, existing in fundamental isolation from each other, none of us having any responsibility for the other; or, are we, (2) inter-dependent beings, only appearing to be independent, but in fact creatures who “inter-be” with each other and our surroundings, each of us holding responsibility for the well-being of the other and all we touch. Each of these views claims to be true. Each supports a different ethic — treating others as if they were of no real concern to oneself (unless you want something they can provide), on the one hand, or treating others as if they were an integral part of oneself on the other. These conflicting views of what “individuals” are and the associated ethic cannot coexist for long. One must drive out the other. Each of us must decide which of these views to support with our life, because, consciously or unconsciously, we are bound to support one of them. And they can’t both be right. This is an ethical issue to consider, especially as these two views come into more open conflict with each other in 2017 America.

Your Actions Matter The six ethical principles in the Choices of Ethical Approaches section above have something in common: they each recognize that we’re in relationship with other people and that how we treat others in those relationships is always important. How you act makes a huge difference to everything else in creation, even if that's not always obvious. To a large degree, ethical behavior is a matter of self-control or self-mastery, and not just knuckling-under to some outside force or passing internal impulse. The more you come to be able to control your actions, the more they have value. As mentioned in the Introduction, we actually owe a high level of duty to environmental violators. We owe them the duty of taking them seriously as persons, treating them as important actors in their own right and not just cogs in the wheel. For instance, if a person intentionally or knowingly decides to pollute our water resources, that's a very important decision, affecting us all. We owe that person the duty of taking his criminal actions seriously, making sure that he gets all the resulting punishment that the law defines him as being entitled to

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receive. The intentional violator absolutely deserves to be treated as if his criminal actions matter, as they indeed do. He is worth us making efforts to stop him. For good or for bad, whatever we do reverberates down through time, or as one twentieth century philosopher and writer put it: “Everything you do reverberates throughout a thousand destinies.” There’s not a more important job than protecting our resources (upon which our lives depend) and protecting the health of the citizens. The actions you take and the principles you use to guide them make an enormous difference to the entire community, every day and for years to come.

You Work in a Fishbowl … Full of Angry and Crazy Fish Each of the individuals and groups below has its own view concerning illegal dumping, water pollution, air pollution, and activities threatening the health of the community. They also are all watching you work and are putting pressure on you and your management to have things happen as they want, which is not always the same as the “common good.” In addition, chances are that these groups of Americans simply don’t trust each other or you or your boss or the officials they elected. According to a recent AP-GfK national survey: These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question. Forty years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say “you can’t be too careful” in dealing with people. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, about 26% of Americans currently have a diagnosable mental illness, and local enforcement officers interact with many of these individuals every day. The actions of individuals in the following groups (and there may be others) have an impact on you doing a good (or bad) job: You and Your Own Self-Image and Expectations Your Family and Friends Members of Local Government, including: Code supervisors and their bosses Other municipal code enforcement officers Local police officers Police supervisors

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Specialized criminal environmental enforcement officers Local health authority or department Municipal attorneys Municipal court judges Local felony and misdemeanor prosecutors Other government civil attorneys In cities, the mayor, city council, and other elected officials In counties, the county judge, commissioners, and other elected officials Members of the Regulated Community, including: Property owners committing code and criminal violations on their own property Property owners being dumped on by others The violators themselves (individuals, associations, and corporations) Violator’s family members Neighbors to the location with the violation Criminal and civil defense attorneys Employees (law abiding and otherwise) of a violator Law-abiding businesses competing with a violator Chamber of Commerce Members of the Regulating Community, including: State legislature State administrative environmental enforcement agencies State criminal environmental enforcement agencies Various professional associations of enforcement officers Training classes designed for enforcement officers Members of the Public, including: Environmental groups Anti-environmental groups General public School teachers and students Civic groups Church groups Media Future Generations Those who will be relying on unpolluted resources and healthy surroundings Moreover, since not all of these folks interested in your work can be happy at the same time, problems arise. Complaints will be made. We’ve all see individuals who tried in vain to please everybody, usually by agreeing with each person with whom they

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speak. This inevitably results in displeasing everybody. Actions in the enforcement field are taken with lots of disturbed eyes watching. However, the field of ethics holds that there are only one pair of eyes that are actually under your control — your own. You can never escape seeing your own acts, nor can you escape judging them as good or bad. In Hamlet, Shakespeare has one character advise the other: This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. You may not make the other person happy with your actions, but you can and should be true to your own ethical principles.

The Ethical Responsibility To Convey Accurate Information Ethics includes the process of you figuring out your responsibilities for yourself, but it’s good to be guided in that by the wisdom of the past, by the “norms” of your culture, by your job description, and (most importantly) by your own heart. But officers don't get to just make things up, depending on the public to continue to be ignorant. The fact that not every citizen voluntarily reads and complies with local ordinances is why we need code enforcement and registered sanitarian professionals: Somebody has to act on behalf of the community to remind citizens of their duty to follow the codes, which is actually the same thing as reminding citizens of the fact that they live in community with others and that their own actions can harm community health. Local municipal codes can be considered as being the “Golden Rules of Public Health.” Usually they are followed; sometimes code officers and sanitarians have to remind folks of their content; and in about 350,000 cases a year in Texas, a municipal court judge has to give a lecture or impose a fine to get the violator’s attention. Generally, however, we get “voluntary” compliance long before that point. State criminal laws are the next level of protection of public health and of our land, air, and water resources. When a person dumps on his or her own property … or that of a neighbor … code enforcement officers and registered sanitarians often handle the problem. But this doesn’t always work; sometimes the community has to impose it’s will by force, which is the purpose of criminal law and police. Consider this situation: The criminal environmental enforcement officer was having a bad day. In fact, he

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was having a bad decade. His wife was chronically ill, he was regularly getting into administrative trouble himself for using the county enforcement vehicle for personal business, he was nearing retirement from a frustrating job, and he had slowly worked himself into the position where the facts in his cases were so confusingly presented that the local prosecutor no longer wanted to take his filings. “There’s something about him that does not generate confidence,” said the prosecutor. Although fully qualified to handle all levels of crimes, the officer’s work product for the most recent twelve months had consisted in filing a handful of cases with the local Justice of the Peace Courts, the lowest court in his state’s hierarchy. Penalties in that level of court were a maximum fine of $500 with no possible confinement. The Justice Court judges were beginning to complain about the officer filing what actually were felony level illegal dumping cases in their JP courts as minor misdemeanors. Administratively, the officer reported to all four county commissioners and the county judge in his $40,000 a year job, which meant that he had operated for years without any kind of actual supervision. He pretty well did what he wanted, when he wanted. This was a problem waiting to happen for the county, and it did. Driving down a rural road one day, the officer saw the contents of several bags of trash scattered along about 30 feet of road easement in front of a small home. He stopped his truck, and knocked at the door. “M’am,” he said to the 70 year old lady in a bathrobe who answered the door. “Somebody has dumped some trash in your ditch, and it’s your responsibility to clean it up! In fact, I represent the EPA as well as the county,” he easily lied. “It’s a $250,000 fine and five years in jail for leaving that trash out there," he lied some more. "If you don’t get out there and clean it up, you’re going to jail!” In fact, none of these statements were factual. But he had run this bluff so long without being challenged, that it had become second nature to him. In a few minutes, the elderly citizen was out in the ditch, still wearing her bathrobe and now rubber boots, picking up the trash that someone had dumped in the ditch in front of her house. The officer leaned against his truck and watched the senior citizen work. Later that day, her son, a prominent local rancher, called the county judge demanding to know why his mother had been put through this painful experience and insisting on a meeting with senior elected officials. "I help put you guys in office, and this is what I get back? You turn a bully loose on my mother?” I’d like to suggest that in dealing with everybody — from the most law-abiding citizen to the biggest polluter to everybody inside and outside government — local civil and criminal enforcement officers have a primary ethical duty: To represent the codes and criminal laws truthfully and accurately.

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Not only is this far easier than making things up, but also meets the requirements of the Law or Reciprocity. After all, if YOU were facing a possible legal process involving a violation, the first thing you’d want yourself is for the officer involved to be absolutely straight with you about the requirements of the code or law involved. Giving the violator and accurate definition of his or her required action is the beginning point of changing behavior. This is the same requirement and massive obligation of the teaching profession: The last thing any instructor would want to do is to make the student dumber through conveying inaccurate information. Good instructors think about this a lot. I’d suggest that, as a communicator to citizens of these codes and laws, local code and peace officers should be absolutely accurate as to the contents and possible punishments those provisions carry. One of the better statements, in my opinion, that I’ve seen of this responsibility to convey accurate information is from a 300 year old book of ethics called Mesillas Yesharim, which is translated as The Way of the Upright, written by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzato: “A person is obligated to put the one seeking his advice on the track of the pure and clear truth.” One problem we may have in “putting others on the track of the pure and clear truth” is that we may not know it ourselves. This happens more than you’d think. The TIDRC Senior Instructor who teaches Advanced Substandard Structure Investigation and Advanced Ordinance Investigation taught the first section of the substandard structure class several years ago. The class was made up about thirty code enforcement officers. Innocently, Our instructor asked the question “How many of you have read all the codes for your city … not just the ones that you specialize in, but all of them? You know, so you’ll recognize code violations outside of your area of expertise?” Two people held up their hands that day. This fascinated the instructor, so he started asking that question at every class, with the same result: Two percent (2%) of code enforcement officers and registered sanitarians in over forty classes provided in every part of Texas over the last two years say they have read all the codes applying to their cities. Some of these have been totally new officers, and some have had thirty years experience. Why is it that when virtually all code enforcement officers in Texas walk onto a property in their city, they are there for such a specialized reason and with such specialized knowledge that they may not know enough about their own city codes to report an apparent violation to a colleague? Is it because we simply do not like to read anymore, and reading

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municipal codes can be a tedious, boring process? Maybe that’s it, but could you pass a test on the content of your city’s municipal code? If you can’t, how are you going to “put others on the track of the pure and clear truth”? It’s hard to argue that actually knowing all the codes isn’t a major part of the municipal enforcement officer’s job. This problem can become even greater when criminal laws become involved. Very few Texas peace officers receive any exposure whatsoever in their basic training on the content and potential punishments of state criminal health and anti-pollution laws. No training is provided, in spite of the fact that these laws can easily provide additional probable cause to a peace officer seeking a reason to enter a property. Prosecutors aren’t routinely exposed to this material in law school either. There, if they take a class in “environmental law,” it will cover federal administrative law rather than Texas criminal environmental law, and these are as different as apples and oranges. So when police and prosecutors begin to use these laws for the first time, it will not be a “normal” thing for them, like applying the Penal Code or Traffic Code. The cure for this? Read, read, read — in this case not local codes but state criminal laws. A few weeks ago I heard a deputy say something that I use to hear a lot about fifteen years earlier, but not lately. It took me back to the old days. The question had arisen as to why the local sheriff’s deputies weren’t enforcing the major misdemeanor and felony statutes under Texas law for illegal dumping. “That’s in the Health and Safety Code, and we don’t enforce that code,” said the deputy. “Y’all don’t enforce the Texas drug laws? They’re in the Health and Safety Code; up around Chapter 481, 483,” said I. “Well, of course we enforce the drug laws, but we don’t enforce the part of the Health and Safety Code you’re talking about,” he responded. “So you just ignore the other felonies? I think what’s true is that you enforce those parts of the Health and Safety Code that you have bothered to learn about." I questioned him, "Has the sheriff made a policy decision to ignore certain felonies?" Hardly. Does your police department know the state criminal laws pertaining to environmental enforcement? If not, they’re missing out on a number of felonies they could be enforcing and using. The ethical point to be made is that, with reference to the codes and criminal laws that protect public health and our air, land, and water resources, we often simply have not put in the effort required to be the source of accurate information to the public. This is a shortcoming we should just go on and admit, if it applies to us and our community. You never can tell when you’ll be “obligated to put the one seeking … advice on the track of the pure and clear truth,” whether to be able to use the proper charge, provide accurate information to a citizen, or accurately answer that eternal question from an

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elected official, “Is there anything we can do?” about a specific mess. In fact, I’d argue that being the honest provider of accurate information is possibly your primary responsibility. After all, if accurate information doesn’t come from you, from where will it come?

Moral Injury from Our Bad Acts Lots of us – probably even a majority – suffer from the after effects of some sort of “moral injury.” This is a concept discussed by David Wood in his excellent book, What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars. We have become familiar with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder -- PTSD -- as a fairly common mental wartime injury. The National Institute of Mental Health defines PTSD this way: “PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event,” such as having a vehicle one is riding in explode or being shot or otherwise injured. “Moral injury” is something different from PTSD, which is generally associated with a traumatic event that happened to the body. Wood writes of moral injury in these words: In its most simple and profound sense, moral injury is a jagged disconnect from our understanding of who we are and what we and others ought to do and ought not to do. Experiences that are common in war—inflicting purposeful violence, witnessing the sudden violent maiming of a loved buddy, the suffering of civilians—challenge and often shatter our understanding of the world as a good place where good things should happen to us, the foundational beliefs we learn as infants. The broader loss of trust, loss of faith, loss of innocence, can have enduring psychological, spiritual, social, and behavioral impact. As an example, Wood quotes Paul D. Fritts, Major and Chaplain, U.S. Army, as saying: “The Army needs its Soldiers to kill without thinking too much about the moral implications before or after pulling the trigger.” However, all the moral training that our culture and religions give the soldier long before he or she joins the service is just the opposite: killing others is morally wrong. But it’s not just killing enemy soldiers. Individuals in combat often are called on to do things that are contrary to their deeply held moral codes and experience their fellowsoldiers doing the same. Such as burning down some farmer’s hut (always with a good military reason, of course) or destroying stores of food. These violations of one’s moral order – although authorized by the military at the time – constitute an injury to these core moral principles held by the individual — we’re not supposed to kill strangers, burn farmer’s homes, and destroy food. Nor are we

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supposed to waterboard people. Thus one can be a very successful soldier by doing things that constitute an outrage to one’s own deeply internalized sense of morality. Wood describes how the guilt and hurt from these moral injuries stay with a person long after military service has been completed, often with devastating consequences to future relationships and sense of self worth. However, soldiers are not the only people in our culture who routinely suffer injuries to their sense of right and wrong. When U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents destroy stores of water and food left in our southern deserts by volunteers for migrants attempting to cross the desert, they know that they are, by their actions, condemning strangers — including women and children — to death. But orders and orders, and the deeds are done. However, we shouldn’t be surprised when we hear that these same CBP officers carry with them moral injuries from their actions or learn that their divorce rates are high [http://s.coop/26an1]. Just because your bosses tell you to destroy migrants’ food and water, don’t think that you will escape the personal moral repercussions from doing so. No human is that tough! Both your mother and preacher told you never to do anything that would condemn strangers to death through thirst or starvation. We never grow beyond our core moral principles of our childhood. We follow them or bear the long run pain of violating them. Moreover, children who have been abused by a family member, a priest, or other trusted adult; children of alcoholic parents; battered spouses; crime victims; and others may easily experience moral injuries of their own from the trauma they are forced to experience and their loss of trust. Nor should we overlook the powerful loss of trust flowing from our political structures today. Not being able to spend Thanksgiving in peace with family members because of vicious political arguments is a ridiculous and all-too-common reality in America. When families fight, the combatants — and the observers and children — are all deeply injured. Families are supposed to love each other. Moral injury has to do with loss of trust, faith, and innocence. Wood writes, “The broader loss of trust, loss of faith, loss of innocence, can have enduring psychological, spiritual, social, and behavioral impact” no matter the context in which such injury arises. Warriors and children can suffer from the wounds of moral injury. Often people who have experienced trauma that crushes the love they expect from family members may find their own lives regularly falling apart for years to come. Nor is recovery from moral injury simply a matter of “getting over it.” [See Wounds that Time Won’t Heal: The Neurobiology of Child Abuse, by Martin Teicher.] Early abuse, even abuse that is strictly psychological in nature, can produce physical brain

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abnormalities. He writes, “We are also beginning to understand how these abnormalities may account directly for the personality traits and other symptoms that patients manifest.” [http://s.coop/26amf]. Given the enormous dedication our culture has to violence and self-serving behavior, we shouldn’t be surprised to find people carrying the marks of being victims just about everywhere we look. If you are dealing with humans on any level, Wood’s is a good book to read and ponder. The behavior that’s puzzling you may be something so deeply embedded in the person that is is not going to be changed easily or anytime soon.

Taking Care of Yourself A few years ago I was teaching a class in El Paso on illegal dumping enforcement to an audience of about 40 code enforcement officers, most of whom worked for that city. As we warmed to each other, the questions began to stray into a wider area of code enforcement issues than simply learning to recognize and respond to criminal dumping. A young lady raised her hand in the afternoon and asked the following question: “Will I go to Hell for doing my job?” At first, I thought that she might be joking, but I was wrong. She was as serious as she could possibly be. She went on to explain that she was a new officer and considered herself to be a very religious, compassionate person. She had been assigned to work in one of the poorer parts of the city, where there were virtually no “extra” resources to be used to repair houses and make similar investments. She was concerned that by following the city's enforcement process she had been given, the result would be, in some cases, that a violator had to miss work (and income) to make a court appearance and even, in some cases, be fined money that simply wasn’t available. She wasn’t concerned about those situations where the choice was between getting a lawnmower and gas or spending the same money on beer. She was concerned about those legitimate situations where there were no resources that could be allocated to making the required improvements without working a hardship on the family. For code, RS and health officers, this kind of situation happens literally every day in Texas, and too often the code officer is the first to find it. In an ideal world — and maybe even in an earlier America — a neighbor would himself have been aware of the situation. Now the same neighbor is probably the one who called the city. Back then, the neighborhood women would have been checking on the old couple regularly and bringing them food; their husbands would have spent an occasional Saturday morning

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cutting the grass or making small home improvements. One of the men would have already spoken to the couple’s son about being sure to show-up with the groceries every week, or let somebody know there was a problem so they could take a turn. The son himself probably would not have had any drug problems. At least, that’s how the folks that lived on the block where I grew-up in Oak Cliff in Dallas acted 60 years ago. We were inter-related. But not today. If today's code officer stopped by the complaining neighbor and asked, “These are very old, disabled people; could you help out every once in awhile by cutting their grass?” this question could easily result in a complaint being made against the officer herself. We live in a different world than even a few decades ago, and it is certainly less kind. Code officers and registered sanitarians have their noses rubbed in this fact every day, often made worse by mental disorders, both among customers and those who make the complaints. Applying Head Skills Unfortunately, code violations — scattered trash, untended yards, unmaintained property, hoarding and other unsanitary conditions — are sometimes themselves symptoms of deeper human problems and may be reflecting underlying hopelessness, poverty, and despair. We knock on the door with one agenda in mind: the person who answers the door may easily trigger a wider agenda in us. It’s automatic: We immediately recognize and respond human-to-human in these situations; when we encounter something or someone who is broken, our heart naturally flows out to help heal that situation. This can only be avoided by having a heart absolutely made of stone, which is not the sign of an emotionally healthy person. This automatic, quickerthan-thinking human response to the pain in others drains enormous energy from us. This may be unnoticed at the time, but apparent later. The first problem — effectively dealing with the lack of resources in a situation — is usually addressed in one of two ways: (1) we give up — we become officious, back off, and start sending letters, trying to block the situation out of our hearts; or, (2) we try to help — we attempt to locate additional resources to put into the situation. These are the basic "flight" or "fight" responses all humans have when faced with difficult situations. In classes we teach in all parts of the state, when I say, “Often we try to find a way to help,” most of the students nod their heads. In some places there may be an organized effort to systematically link churches and other volunteer groups with these situations. Developing a small program to link the churches in your community to the needs of the elderly, poor, and mentally distressed citizens helps everybody. A good way to begin such a program is to speak with your own pastor; an even better way may be to make a brief presentation at a Ministerial Alliance breakfast. Just about every community in

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Texas has one or more local organizations providing for regular meetings and exchanges of ideas between its ministers. These folks are often very interested in helping, and helping one’s needy neighbors is, after all, something endorsed by Jesus. So find these folks and give them a chance to help. In other communities, any response at all would come from the code officer herself. In some places adult protective services is quick to get involved to help; in others, not so much. An overlooked source of help is your health department, if you are one of the cities or counties fortunate enough to have an organized local health department. Texas Health and Safety Code Sec. 341.012 requires a "health authority" to get involved in the process of abating health nuisances. This could be the physician himself or a local health department organized under THSC chapter 121. There is a good process at THSC Sec. 341.012 established by the State Legislature that can help sort out abatement issues, although I've yet to find a health authority following it as specified. In an earlier America, neighborhoods use to organize spontaneously to deal with the problems on the block. About 80% of us live in urban areas now, and about 58% of all Americans live in places with a population of over 200,000. Things are not as bad as they could be: a survey in 2011 by Harris Interactive on behalf of WhitePages showed that, speaking of Americans, [M]ore of them can identify most of their neighbors' cars (47%) than most of their neighbors' first names (41%) and that more of them (27%) know most of their neighbors' pets more than most of their neighbors' kids (24%). Maybe if their kids knocked over our garbage cans as frequently as their dogs do, we’d know our neighbors better. This is a far cry from the block in Oak Cliff in Dallas where I grew up. Between the kids — who happily played baseball and touch football on the paved street in front of our houses, glaring at the cars who occasionally drove slowly through our game — we could tell you exactly who lived in the thirty-or-so houses on our block (and a lot of the folks on the next one up, too). When my parents bought a television set, the neighbors would come over to watch it occasionally, and especially if Pabst Blue Ribbon beer or Gillette was sponsoring a live boxing match of any importance some Friday night. It was communal living in an urban area — ideal, really — with us kids flowing like flocks of birds throughout the front and back yards, on the roofs of garages, in the shrubs and ditches, and frequently even ranging down to the creek at the bottom of the hill, several blocks away. In the evening when it was time for us to go inside, a parent would simply step outside and yell our name several times. No matter where we were, word would quickly get to us that "Your Dad is calling for you!"

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and off we'd run. And we knew all the dog’s names, and a lot of the cat’s. Maybe you grew up in such a place too. Then every family got their own television and air conditioner and mom started working, and that was the end of the American neighborhood. The American family radically changed too, and Texas families were not immune. There are lots of statistics you could look at on this, but just a few paint the current picture: • The Centers for Disease Control reported that in 2011, 40.7% of all births in America were to unmarried women (of all ages). In February 2012, the New York Times reported that “more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.” • Marriage formation rates have been steadily falling in America, so the fact that more than half of the children are born outside of marriage does not necessarily mean that the child will be raised in a single adult family. However, about 1/3 of American children are raised in homes without a man present. This is a growing trend. • About 1/3 of all school age children come home to an empty house for some part of the week; 1/2 of children between 12 and 14 in America are home alone for an average of seven hours a week. • There are lots of child support payments being made in Texas, and not all parents are current on those payments. The Houston Chronicle reported in mid-2012 that almost 1/2 of child support cases have late payments due; almost $11 billion was owed in delinquent child support in Texas at that time. This amount keeps growing each year. I’d imagine that teenager and parent addiction to Smartphones and other kinds of isolating electronics will help to continue driving individuals in families further apart from each other. I haven’t seen a friendly flock of neighborhood kids climbing on garage roofs in decades. Now a group of youngsters is very likely to be an organized pack to be avoided. This is all to say that much of Texas simply is no longer a place where the adults have either the time or inclination to form warm relationships with their neighbors. Just too much is going on inside our own homes to have much time for that. And the notion that we’re all independent of each other has gotten a good toe-hold. Now we feel justified in turning our backs. So when a neighboring family falls on tough times and slips to a place where they need some help, it’s probably not going to be coming spontaneously from next door or

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down the street. The code enforcement officer responding to a complaint from a neighbor may be the first person to discover these truly difficult situations. Rather than stand by hopelessly, why not take steps to begin organizing a limited and focused community response to these kinds of problems? A good example of such a response is Benbrook, Texas’ Compassion Program that tries to link those legitimately unable to respond to code violations with community organizations. You can read about them at http://www.benbrook-tx.gov/index.aspx? NID=418 . Unfortunately, we may not always have the Head Skills to find the needed resources, and in some places such resources may not be available anyway, regardless of our organizing skills. Hard thinking and networking is always required. All of these situations have a second impact too: they take an unseen toll on the enforcement officer, and force him or her to use their reservoir of Heart Strength. And those reservoirs have to be replenished regularly or they’ll run dry. So a key question — and this is absolutely an ethical question — is "How can the enforcement officer take care of himself or herself and not burnout emotionally and spiritually in the process?" Building Heart Strength Becoming stronger ethically is largely a matter of increasing self-mastery, the process of developing greater levels of self-awareness and self-control. So, what is a good way to do that? How does one go about mastering those impulses in ourself that keep us weaker and more vulnerable than we have to be? A good beginning point in this discussion is the fact that about 70% of code enforcement and RS officers in Texas are male, and we men don't always take workrelated stress seriously. Women, as a gender, probably do a much better job at recognizing the presence of stress, and in not thinking they are sissies to cry when faced with human tragedy. Having better skills at dealing with stress may be one reason why women live five years longer than men do in America. Asserting more control over the details of your life is easy in theory, and yet difficult in practice. Each person is a body and a soul, together. Each affects the other, and both of can show the effect of stress and neglect. In our culture, we tend to think of our bodies "having" a soul, but it is more likely he other way around. After all, your soul is eternal; right now it happens to "have" a body. There will be a time when this is no longer true.

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You can have fun teaching this to kids. Ask them, "If you were in an accident and lost your left arm, would you still be "you"? "Of course!" they will reply. Then you escalate. "What if you lost a leg? Would you still be 'you'?" "Of course!" And then you continue with the questioning until you get to the final one: "What if you lost your whole body? Would you still be 'you'?" That will create a quandary, and then you can teach the point: Our souls have bodies, not the other way around. Both bodies and souls are very resilient. With proper care, your body will last for the rest of your life, and your soul for a lot longer than that. Unfortunately, though, our own simple inertia can result in our continuing in a bad direction with both; on the other hand, giving better care to our body and soul always results in our feeling better and being more productive. Fortunately, caring for body and soul isn't too difficult. Our Creator hasn’t made basic maintenance a big mystery. Nothing magic is required, just a little self-mastery. And, as body and soul become more aligned with what they are created to be, it becomes even easier. Success supports success. There are five key things to be considered that can work together to support body and soul strength. 1. Get Adequate Sleep This is number one thing we all need to do; however, it’s often the number one thing we are exactly NOT doing, for a number of reasons. Now let me admit immediately that I am the world’s worse example of keeping a regular sleeping schedule, but I also generally do not have to be anywhere at 8 a.m. every morning. Moreover, I generally don’t have to deal with highly emotional and frustrating situations as a normal part of my day, like many enforcement officers do. Most of us have felt those rare times when we were operating on back-to-back days of adequate sleep. Remember how good that feels? Wouldn’t the quality of our life be better if this was our “normal” feeling? While there’s no standard amount of sleep that an adult requires, the National Sleep Foundation (sleepfoundation.org) recommends seven to nine hours a night, on a regular schedule, including weekends. That would mean that you set a time, say 10 p.m., at which time you stop everything and go to bed. If your normal time to awake is 6 a.m., you’ll be getting about 8 hours of sleep daily. This is often the first and best place to start treating ourself better, since our other anti-self-preservation bad habits are reflected in sleep depravation. So this becomes a kind of gauge you can use to see how other forms of self-support are coming

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together. In order to follow the “10 to 6” sleep pattern (which is what is referred to as “normal”) many other bad habits and activities would have to go by the wayside: no more running the streets, closing the bars, middle of the night shopping, middle of the night interacting on FaceBook and such, watching late-night television, and reading until 2:30 a.m. (my primary sin against sleep). For most of us, rearranging our lives to set aside a defined sleep period, and then not varying from that schedule for any reason other than a legitimate emergency, would require massive amounts of self control. Yet as far as our overall health is concerned, nothing is more important. Being semi-retired is a real blessing in this regard. My dog’s remind me that “anytime is a great time to take a nap!” Most of us can’t manage that during the day, but maybe catching some extra sleep on weekends is a good idea. Of course, there are twenty great reasons why adhering to a regular sleep schedule won’t work in our “unique” case. Our bodies and minds have been designed to operate efficiently on seven to nine hours of sleep. If, day after day, we’re failing to get that, why would we be surprised that we are showing the signs of insufficient rest, which include increased accidents; not being mentally sharp; greater potential for serious additional health problems; low sex drive; depression; premature skin aging; forgetfulness; weight gain; shorter lifespan; and, impaired judgment (list courtesy of webmd.com). 2. Keep the Sabbath Even the Lord knocked off work and turned off His cellphone one day a week. In fact, He strongly suggested — in the fourth Commandment — that you do the same: Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the sabbath day — keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work animal, or the resident alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. Turn off your cellphones on the sabbath. OK. I added that last sentence, but it is certainly in the spirit of the verses quoted. We do need a way to at least partially dislodge these things from our life, and having some pre-established time when we simply don’t use them would bring some degree of peace with it. Like getting more sleep and some of the other suggestions that follow, setting aside a special, regular time of peace (especially from electronics)

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takes real discipline. But you’re worth the effort! Some of the religious commentaries on the purpose of the Sabbath are very interesting. One runs this way: For the first six days the Lord had been working extremely hard creating reality. When He had finished, the thought came to Him, “I wonder what I am when I am not creating things? I think I’ll see.” This commentary goes on to observe that we are made in the Lord’s image, especially in that we are also constantly creating things. And that’s exactly right. We spend just about all of our life doing things and thinking about doing things. The Sabbath invites us and challenges us to stop creating things, thinking about creating things, planning to create things, scheduling a time to create things, and remembering the things we've created earlier. The Sabbath invites us to just stop this process for a day and see who it is that we actually are, behind all go this constant creating. After all, the logic goes, that’s the “real us.” Celebrating the Sabbath (and we are prohibited from being sad on that day) is one good way of supporting our spiritual life. Asking the questions, “What is the Most Real?”, “How do we know?”, and “What should be our actions, based on what we know?” millions of people, at all times and in all cultures, have concluded that through prayer, meditation, and contemplation we can draw closer to our Creator. Or we can indicate to our Creator that we desire to be drawn closer to that which can provide us real and lasting satisfaction as a human. The seventeenth century French writer Blaisé Pascal put it this way, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” Around the year 400 A.D., Augustine of Hippo expressed the same idea, “Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee.” In Judaism, the Shema, recited twice daily, includes “You shall love Hashem, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your resources,” Hashem being the name the Hebrews use to speak of God that emphasizes His eternal mercy. All religions hold that, when asked, God draws us to Himself. One way or another, all religions make the same essential point: Man is fundamentally incomplete if he is not in conscious relationship with his Creator. If your heart is agreeing with this assertion, it would no doubt do you good to work your way deeper into this spiritual aspect of your life. If your heart does not resonate

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with these views, open yourself to the probability that it will at some future time. After all, being in some state of conscious relationship with one’s Creator is the overwhelming “normal” position humans grow to take as we age. Setting aside one day a week as Holy is a common human activity in many cultures. Why not become more intentional in doing this, since most humans do it and it has benefits? I recently ran across the following in a book called The Sabbath by Abraham Heschel that focuses on this practice: Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul. The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else. Six days a week we seek to dominate the world, on the seventh day we try to dominate the self. If we can take a day a week to stop our frantic pace to experience the Self behind our workaholic personalities, this can't possibly be a bad thing. And we don’t have to wait until a catastrophe happens in our life to pray, by the way. Prayers of gratitude are always welcome in the Head Office, and prayer itself can only deepen our spiritual life. Lately I’ve been drawn to the notion of how important it is to pray for those around us, including those we work with and our “customers.” My logic is pretty simple on this: I’m often insensitive and a little grumpy to the people I encounter. Lord knows they need all the help they can get to get through running into me! So I pray for them.

3. Eat Better OK. I know that I’m starting to sound like your mother now, but it’s absolutely amazing just how badly most of us eat. In fact, in a recent study (July 2013) the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington estimated that more Americans die each year from bad diet than from any other reason, including smoking (678,282 vs. 465,651 annual deaths). Although smoking kills a lot of us, having a bad diet kills around 33% more each year. No real surprise there, though, right? We simply eat too much and we eat too many wrong things. As we know, we are consequently carrying far too much weight for our own good. The Centers for Disease Control reported in 2016 that 70.1 percent of U.S. adults were obese or overweight. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus16.pdf#053 Texas is in about the same shape: 67.8% of us are in one of the two categories. https://www.cdc.gov/ nccdphp/dnpao/state-local-programs/profiles/texas.html.

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The Centers for Disease Control define an adult as being “overweight” if his or her Body Mass Index is between 25 and 29.9 and as being “obese” if the BMI is 30 or higher. Your BMI can easily be calculated (based on your height and weight) at http://s.coop/1tl95 or with a free phone app. What causes overweight and obesity? You already know the answer to that: eating more than our body needs; taking in way, way too much added sugar in soda drinks, processed foods, and sweets; inactivity; drinking too much alcohol; lack of adequate sleep — and generally taking on more fuel than we’re burning, and burning it inefficiently because we’re out of shape. Remarkable results can come through giving attention to your eating habits and light exercise. After all, as fun as eating is, we have freedom of choice in that area of life too. I have a good friend, in middle age, who is the fire marshall in his county. He recently wrote me the following: I started my healthy living campaign on Oct. 28, 2012. I have now lost 82 lbs. My weight when I started was 280 lbs, and now I weigh 198. I was wearing tight 46 inch pants, and now have a comfortable 36 inch waist. Thank you for taking notice; it has not been easy. I started with a small exercise program the last of March and have gradually increased the intensity. Naturally, he reports being happier too, although I suppose he’s having to buy new clothes. His wife is happy that he’s going to be with her longer, I’m sure. None of this was done in one day; discipline is required. My friend also mentioned that as he began to lose weight, a rumor began to circulate in his county that he was dying! Apparently it happens so rarely that someone would intentionally exercise the discipline required to move from "obese" to "normal weight," that lots of folks thought that he was very sick. If we eat as “normal” Texans do, we either already are or will soon become overweight or obese. That is the reality of our future (or present) unless we actively work against it. Maintaining too much weight from poor eating habits simply adds stress to our physical and mental life. Why do that to yourself? 4. Regularly Seek Solitude There’s a difference between being lonely and being in a state of solitude. Youngsters frequently don’t understand this distinction, but as we age it becomes clearer. Regular times of solitude are very good for us, although they may be difficult to obtain. The communications revolution has put the world and everybody in it in the palm of our hand. What a miracle this is! On the other hand, friends, salesmen, and

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bosses keep calling, texting, tweeting, Instagraming, and emailing us, wanting our attention. And we’re addicted to answering; we might miss something! For the world is really so very interesting, and giving it proper attention is very time consuming, right? There's lots of online sites to be visited. We may find ourselves reading a hundred comments made to some obscure news story, or in hot debate with a person in Alaska or France or someplace who turns out to have a mental problem that (unknown to us) forces him to flame us, upsetting us for hours. Add this additional time demand — and potential emotional impact — to our already busy work and family life, and we wind-up needing 25 hours a day just to get everything done. Of course, this in turn often leads to inadequate sleep (back to that again). We may find ourselves becoming short with those we love, for no other reason than we’re simply being torn in too many directions or we are very, very tired. Solitude is normal, not constant noise. Getting back to normal is very easy. We need some alone time, and not “Alone with just the two of us: me and my cell phone.” Rather, actually alone, all switches in the off position. If you can stand the anxiety of separation, leave the phone in another room. As a line from a song in the 1971 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ, Superstar goes, “Let the world turn without you tonight” … or at least for a few hours. A good way to structure a little solitude into your life is through setting a some time apart from the rest of your day for meditation. Here's a good way to start a basic meditation process: • Begin with twenty minutes, twice a day; • As much as possible, use times of the day when you are fresh and alert; • Use a timer you can’t hear ticking down to mark the twenty minutes; • Wear loose clothing so you don’t feel physically constrained; • Begin and end the each sitting session with a short prayer of thanksgiving; • Sit on the front part of a straight-back chair or on the floor as is comfortable for you. If you sit on the floor, fold your legs under you, sit on your heels, or even on a low bench. Sit in such a way as to make a stable base for your torso and head. Keep your back as straight as you can, and don't slump. This will help your breathing; • Restfully fold your hands in your lap; • Close your eyes about half-way and set your relaxed gaze on the floor a few feet in front of you; • Breath naturally and watch the wind flow in and out of your nose;

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• When a thought arises, just let it pass on along. No need to grab it, think about it, try to remember it for later, stop to write it down, or worry about it. If it's important, it will resurface later. If you find you must give your mind a bone to chew on, just count your breaths, from one to ten and then start again. If you lose count, just go back to one. When you find yourself thinking about something else, just start again at one. Don't rehash arguments, the events of the day, and other mind chatter. When those things come up, just acknowledge them and let them float on by, like a cloud. Temporarily turning off the "thought-processing" part of your mind becomes easier with practice; • Sit where is it as quiet as possible: no t.v., music, conversations in the next room. You deserve some silence and respect; • Be at peace until the timer rings, and try not to anticipate the timer. It will ring when the time is up; • When you're all done, just relax and sit there a minute. Rest (like food is suppose to rest a minute after being in the microwave). You’ll find this easy to do, and habit forming. You may agree with literally millions of people world-wide who find a brief period of meditation to be a wonderful practice that can bring peace to the day. You may want to sit for longer than twenty minutes twice a day. That's perfectly fine as long as you don't get obsessive about it or begin to worry if you're doing it "right." This isn't a competition. You're just sitting there being quiet; what is there to mess up? After all, this isn't more "work" to be done and stressed over or criticized. The goal is to just sit there, so how can you mess it up? If you find yourself dozing off while sitting quietly, that's fine. Just wake up and go on sitting. If you frequently fall to sleep while sitting, perhaps Someone is suggesting that you need to be getting more sleep (here we go with that again!). There’s a good example often used to describe the effects of meditation to those who think that they might be interested in sitting regularly, letting Nothing happen. Imagine a bottle of muddy water that is allowed to sit and rest. As the mud and debris sinks to the bottom, the absolutely clear water comes into view. Our lives are very much like that bottle of muddy water; however, we are constantly shaking it up, preventing our fundamental clarity from emerging. We never let the mud of our life settle. We're constantly adding new experiences, new worries, and new stresses; we keep on shaking that bottle, stirring around in our lives. No wonder our fundamental clarity is hard to see and difficult to experience! If we would simply sit regularly and be still, without distraction, giving our “monkey mind” enough time to calm down, we would find that the mud in our life will naturally settle to the bottom too, revealing the

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debris that keeps giving us trouble — the bad memories, the self-defeating patterns of behavior, our fears — and showing our fundamental, essential clarity. I think this is a good analogy for what can happen if we regularly experience solitude. The good effects of these experiences are cumulative. Regularly giving even a little time to solitude will settle a some mud, then a little more tomorrow; that may be all we need at the time, providing we’re talking care of ourselves in other ways too. Seek regular solitude. You’ll find that the quality of your relationship with your Creator improves when you do, and with that naturally comes better relationships with friends and family and also with yourself. Let the mud settle. 5. Get Up and Get Moving How much physical activity does a healthy adult need? Not too much, it turns out. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (health.gov) recommends at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. They include such things as brisk walking, dancing, or gardening (they must do this last one differently that I do). This, or 75 minutes a week of more strenuous activity, such as jogging or jumping rope, is about all the aerobic workout one needs. Additionally, adults should do some strength-building activity twice a week, and all of this should be spread out over the the entire period. If you want to lose weight, do more aerobics. If you’re older or have some disability, be as aerobically active as you can. The human body is a wonder, and it usually responds to loving attention. So do other loving things to it too. Have your teeth cleaned twice a year get regular physicals and eye exams; use as little alcohol and tobacco as you can stand; and, stay clean and well-groomed. You’re probably already doing all of this, and the efforts of your job may be all the aerobic exercise you need to stay physically healthy. But there’s probably something more you can do to treat yourself even better, so start doing that. Show yourself a little love — and buy yourself something nice for your birthday too, because the Creator only made one person exactly like you. The simple fact that you exist should be celebrated, right?

Conclusion Environmental enforcement officers have an extremely important job: assuring that we all take care of our water, air, and land resources and don't create conditions that

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threaten our own health and the health of our family and neighbors. Nothing is more important than that! No matter if you’re doing code, RS, health enforcement, or criminal enforcement, the number of people watching your actions can be somewhat overwhelming, especially when you consider that not everyone hopes you’ll be successful. Literally everybody has a stake in — and opinion about — how polluted we allow our surroundings to become. Your job is always about constant interaction with the regulated public, some of whom are extremely cooperative, others of whom cooperate with sour attitudes and great reluctance, others of whom face financial or age or disability issues that limit their ability to respond, and about 25% of whom very likely are struggling with some kind of addiction or other mental disorder. Overall, this can be a challenging bunch of folks to deal with. Moreover, enforcement officers are often the source of "bad" news that will requires the person to do something he really didn't want to do in order to be left alone. Your interacting with citizens comes at a time when there is relentless criticism of government at all levels and of government workers too, such as yourself. Rather than being one leg of a three-legged enforcement stool (code/RS/health AND criminal AND civil enforcement), code enforcement may find itself operating alone in dealing with various levels of crimes, municipal code violations, and health nuisance violations that are impacting the community. Knowing that police and health authorities are often not carrying their end of the load, as defined by the State Legislature, can be frustrating until this gets fixed in your city or county. But when everybody does their defined job, enforcement works great. The study of Ethics addresses the third section of the field of philosophy. In street language, these three areas are defined by three recurring life questions: 1. “What’s so?” or “What’s really going on here? 2. “How do I know?” 3. “So what? — Since I now know what’s really going on, what should I do about it?” We constantly are repeating all three of these questions as we go about our day. The third question is the one the subject of ethics focuses on: how should one respond to a situation, having ascertained the answers to the first two? It’s a question that is never fully answered. Heart Strength is something we bring to the situation with us, along with the Head Knowledge required to make good decisions. Both can be increased.

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In trying to figure out the answer to the question “What should I do?”, the answer is always, "The 'right' thing, of course!" Ethics is the process of trying to concretely figure out exactly what that is. Over the centuries in the western world, several consistent responses to that question have emerged and settled in; religious codes, "Law of Reciprocity," and "good people naturally do good things" are the three most common approaches. Officers routinely find themselves having to make difficult decisions to help solve a wide range of human problems related to violations. This constant rubbing up against difficult human conditions grinds at the officer's physical and spiritual well-being, whether the officer recognizes that damage or not. Consequently, officers need to take active steps to achieve and maintain their physical and spiritual health so that they may continue to deal effectively with the situations with which they are confronted — and to find more joy in their life! Becoming stronger ethically requires some effort. So I'd like to conclude with a thought on self-mastery from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's book on connecting with our Creator. Ethical behavior takes continuous effort on our part, well after we become clear of the principles we're upholding. True heroism and strength consists of self-mastery. You will always have impulses to which it is harmful to surrender. Some are harmful spiritually, some are harmful to your health and general well-being, and some will cause harm to other people. Every time you control an impulse and demonstrate self-mastery you are becoming a more powerful person. That's a good thought to end on.

Finishing Up That’s it for the reading. I’ve provided a short list below if you want to read more on this subject. Additionally, if you would like to discuss this subject, or any situation in which you find yourself being ethically challenged, please feel free to contact me at any time. Now please return to the Class Home Page and complete the brief open-book test. Once we receive notice that you’ve passed the test (we automatically get that from the testing system), I’ll send your Certificate of Completion for this class by return email. Thanks for taking this class, and we welcome any comments you might have for it’s improvement.

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Short List of Suggested Readings If you find yourself wanting to read more on this issue, here are a few books that you may find useful and enjoyable. They are all available through Amazon.com and, in some cases, may also be available for free on the Internet. The one’s with the * are especially valuable. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand; * Dialogue, St. Catherine of Siena Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant; Healing Breath: Zen Spirituality for a Wounded Earth, Ruben Habito; The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra, Thich Nhat Hanh; * Holy Bible, especially the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) and the Gospel of Luke; * Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis My Father My King: Connecting with the Creator, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin; * Mesillas Yesharim: Way of the Upright, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato; Moral Man and Immoral Society, Reinhold Niebuhr; * Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle; Pragmatism, William James; The Psalms: A New Translation (Singing Version), Joseph Gelineau; * The Sabbath, Abraham Heschel; The Soul of the Apostolate, Jean-Babtiste Chautard, O.C.S.O.; To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee * What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars, David Wood

(c) Copyright John Ockels, 2018

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Tidrc006 ethics 2018  

Reading material for online class TIDRC006 Ethics of Local Environmental Enforcement

Tidrc006 ethics 2018  

Reading material for online class TIDRC006 Ethics of Local Environmental Enforcement