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Academy Cadet Honor Code


Click on any of the Cadet Honor Codes below to see more about that subject.

Purpose of the Kentucky State Police Academy Click here for more information

The purpose of the Kentucky State Police Academy is to provide the Commonwealth with law enforcement officers, namely troopers, of character.

The Purpose of the Cadet Honor Code Click here for more information

The purpose of the Cadet Honor Code is to foster a commitment to moral-ethical excellence essential to enforcers of laws of the Commonwealth and the nation.

Goals of the Cadet Honor Code Click here for more information

That cadets learn and practice the essential responsibilities of establishing a healthy ethical climate within the Department of State Police.

That cadets develop an understanding of the importance of integrity as an essential aspect of law enforcement officers.

That cadets develop a strong desire to maintain an honorable lifestyle manifested in the spirit of the Code.

That the moral-ethical convictions of cadets are strengthened, thereby preparing them for greater challenges to their integrity throughout a lifetime of service to the Commonwealth and the nation.

The Cadet Honor Code represents the minimum ethical standard by which all cadets are expected to abide.

The Code is not an unduly difficult standard to live by. It demands strict compliance, but it does not demand ethical perfection. If you apply clear judgment guided by a commitment to integrity, your actions will far exceed the requirements of the Honor Code.

It requires a commitment to self-betterment and a recognition of the special role that moral-ethical excellence plays in leadership. It is assumed that cadets who enter the Academy have been instilled with a basic set of values. The Cadet Honor Code is the minimum standard of ethical behavior, though it is expected that all cadets will strive to live within the spirit of the Code. Though breaches of the Honor Code are recognized as dishonorable, there are other undesirable actions that do not technically violate the Honor Code. These actions fall short of proper ethical behavior and are not within the spirit of the code even though they may conform, in an absolute sense, to the requirements of the four tenants contained within the Code itself. The Honor Code is a minimum standard expected of all cadets while the spirit of the Code exceeds this minimum by fostering higher standards of ethical behavior. There are many irresponsible and deceptive actions considered to be inconsistent with those of an honorable person. Such acts, though unethical, may not be violations of the Honor Code. Nonetheless, those acts are to be identified and deplored as unacceptable breaches of ethical behavior.

Therefore, obedience to the Honor Code, coupled with the extension of honor education beyond the Code, strengthens each cadet's commitment to the broader ideals aligned with the spirit of the Code. By this means, the Honor Code acts to achieve its most important end; ensuring that our State Troopers are honorable men and women.

The Spirit of the Honor Code Click here for more information

The Cadet Honor Code can be seen as merely externally observed rules. Or, it can be seen as a succinct embodiment of a spirit of integrity, which begins deep within a person and can be observed in the actions of the honorable man or woman. It is an objective of the State Police Academy experience that each cadet becomes the latter kind of person.

A Positive Definition of the Spirit of the Code Click here for more information

The spirit of the Honor Code operates in values of truth, justice, inviolability of others' persons and property, and the commitment to such values as a universal norm rather than merely a private code. These values are freely chosen by the individual who lives by the spirit of the Code.

Outwardly visible compliance with the Honor Code is a minimum standard for cadet behavior; but, it is contrary to the spirit of the Code to attempt to memorize a long list of detailed rules. Persons who accept the spirit of the Honor Code think of the Code as a set of broad and fundamental principles, not as a laundry list of prohibition.

As a cadet develops, he or she should progress beyond meeting the minimum, external standard to an internal acceptance of the spirit of the Honor Code. In deciding to perform any action, cadets living the spirit of the Code do not ask only if it is on a list of prohibited acts; they ask if it is the right thing, even the best thing, to do. For them, applying the principles of the Code to the complexities of every day life involves conscientious investigation of the facts and clear moral reasoning.

A community as well as personal standard, the spirit of the Code guides the community in identifying and assessing misconduct. Those who hold the spirit of the Code dear do not look for loopholes to justify questionable acts.

The Broader Trust Underlying the Spirit Click here for more information

The spirit of the Code rests on a high level of trust among cadets, officers, and the public. The Honor Code fosters a sense of trust among cadets and officers, and more generally, fosters trust of the public in the integrity of graduates of the Kentucky State Police Academy.

One of the benefits to members of a community having a code is living in an atmosphere of trust. But, the Honor Code alone is not sufficient to create the deeper level of trust that is needed by a successful law enforcement officer. Law enforcement officers may avoid lying, cheating or stealing, and still not be trusted. Citizens will be reluctant to obey an officer they believe to be selfish or uncaring, whose moral character lacks respect for other persons. The trustworthiness of such officers in matters of life and death remains in doubt. Citizen compliance rests on trust; and, trust rests on honor-- that is, on a deeply rooted personal spirit of honor.

One of the prime reasons for having an Honor Code is to graduate officers who will prove themselves worthy of the trust of the Commonwealth and the nation. For this reason, it is important that we realize that there are two aspects to honor. First of all, there is the satisfaction that you have done that which, in your own mind,is the right, honorable thing to do.

Secondly, there is the need to be viewed as a person of integrity by those who know and work with you if you wish to command their trust and loyalty. To be an effective cadet, and later an effective officer, you must diligently practice integrity and avoid situations, which might call your honor into question.

Honor Code Violations

Click on any of the Honor Code Violations below to see more about that subject.

Lying Click here for more information


Written communication includes any written matter, which you present as being truthful, whether you wrote the material or not. Your signature on written work means what is written is truthful, a product of your own words and ideas and the work are your own effort. In sum, your signature or initials is your word. In addition, a signature on government forms and administrative paperwork means the directed action is complete and the contents are accurate.

You will annotate all exceptions and give credit where it is due. Examples include identification cards, homework papers, reports, and logs. The phrase "clearly communicated by a gesture" refers to nonverbal, non-written forms of communication such as a nod of the head. Specific symbols may also be considered written communication if they communicate a specific message.

The application of social tact is not considered to be an Honor Code violation if a statement is made to save someone else's feelings in a social situation. Telling your host or hostess that you enjoyed a meal, which you actually felt to be of poor quality, is an example of social tact. Otherwise, the Honor Code applies to all social situations. Officers, and hence cadets, must be able to be taken at their word. In fact, we all have a responsibility to ensure that others know and understand what we believe to be the truth in any situation. Cleverly wording oral or written statements, leaving out pertinent information in a deceptive manner, or evading the truth in any way is dishonorable and will fall within the jurisdiction of the Honor Code as lying.

Your responsibility for the truth goes beyond just what is said or written. It includes what is understood and perceived. If you realize an individual misunderstood your word, you have an obligation to correct that misunderstanding as soon as possible and to the best of your ability. If you intentionally allow an understanding or misperception by act or inaction to stand, you have allowed a lie to be created which will cause your honor to be questioned.

Stealing Click here for more information


You should be aware that the Honor Code provisions on stealing apply not only to the theft of property, but to the theft of services as well.

This goes beyond what is considered to be stealing in the legal sense. It is very rare in life that we get something for nothing, and if you find that you have, you should ask yourself whether you are about to get yourself into a dishonorable situation. You should never take advantage of a situation by wrongfully benefiting from another's misfortune. Men and women of honor will report broken vending machines, will return found property, and will borrow responsibly and thoughtfully-- treating others' property as they would want their own treated. If you take another person's property without permission and do not leave a note you are taking the risk of being brought up on honor for stealing. If you inadvertently receive a service or property for nothing, you should make proper restitution by either paying for or returning the property. You should also be aware that intentional destruction of property can be a theft of property, hence, intentionally destroying a sign-in log or intentionally losing paperwork may be construed as stealing.

Cheating Click here for more information


Notice that merely attempting to cheat is sufficient for an Honor Code violation. Also, the accomplice is just as guilty as the cheater. The essence of cheating is the act of deceiving an instructor into thinking that some piece of work is your own, when in fact it is not.

Individual effort is the standard. If no exception to this standard is explicitly stated, individual effort is the fallback position and is assumed by all. On the other hand, collaboration is encouraged on specified assignments to allow broader learning. Full collaboration is defined as joint effort and work which is equally or more equally shared by all members in all aspects of the burden.

However, collaboration never includes direct copying and it always requires full documentation and due credit be given to all other contributors and services.

Toleration Click here for more information


If you suspect another cadet of committing an Honor Code violation, you should immediately confront the individual. Hopefully, if the matter is not an honor issue, it will be cleared up at this time. However, if you still feel that an Honor Code violation has occurred, you should tell the individual to report the matter to his or her staff counselor. You must then follow up on the matter. If you have confronted a cadet but are then unsure what to do, ask your own staff counselor. All cadets are responsible for enforcing the Honor Code. Non-toleration is the backbone of the Honor Code, and failure to uphold this responsibility will quickly bankrupt the Code.

Some people have trouble with the toleration clause because they do not understand the moral issue with toleration. Non-toleration is not in the same category as lying, stealing, and cheating because it requires you to act on something rather than merely to refrain from doing something. We realize that this is difficult because in our society toleration seems prevalent and somewhat encouraged. At the Kentucky State Police Academy, and in particular in the law enforcement community, this way of thinking has no place. For example, if you allow cheating or tolerate cheating, you have in effect cheated others yourself because the others will now be taken advantage of. Also, think of the other professions. If a doctor tolerates an unethical colleague, then other lives may be affected by the act of toleration. A teacher who is incompetent may affect hundreds of lives in a short time. To tolerate such a teacher would seem unthinkable. If the law enforcement community falls apart because of incompetence or lack of integrity, however, the fate of the Commonwealth and the nation may be at risk.

Many consider non-toleration to be our duty to the Honor Code. This is true; however, it goes beyond just duty to the Honor Code. We have a moral obligation to our nation to ensure that law enforcement officers are professional in every sense of the word-- that they are competent, dedicated to service, and possess the highest moral conviction. We must regulate ourselves because no other organization has the expertise to do so.

If this were not such a crucial public profession, non-toleration might not be so vitally important-- but we must become the standard setters, because failure of integrity or competence can cost many human lives or even the future of our nation. The Honor Code is our minimum approach to ethical standards and we are its guardians.

Act and Intent Click here for more information

For a violation of the Honor Code to have occurred, there must be both an act and intent (purpose), which falls under the above definitions. The "act" is a deed, which falls under one of the above definitions of lying, stealing, cheating and toleration. "Intent" is the state of mind concerning the purpose for which the act was done. For example, making a statement (the act) is a lie when done for the purpose of deceiving another (the intent). It is logical to assume that people intend the consequences for probable outcome of their acts. In addressing "intent" it will be considered whether the accused or an ordinary, reasonable, and prudent cadet, who has accepted the responsibility and has embraced the spirit of the Code, either knew or should have known that the act in question was wrong. This is an important measure, because it reflects the level of responsibility expected of officers and cadets. Cadets are required to have a reasonable understanding of the Honor Code and to act responsibly to ensure that others have a favorable impression of their sense of honor.

Conclusion Click here for more information

Honor is the hallmark of the professional officer's conduct. The professional does not lie, cheat, or steal; moreover, such an officer adheres to a code of ethics that can be respected by others. Thus, the professional officer never stoops to petty chicaneries or questionable acts of any sort, even though they may not be specifically proscribed by regulations. The honest, forthright officer is expected to rise and live above the frailties of others whom are less exacting. He or she will rely on the standard they know as right, not what is accepted by others. Each must realize what their personal standards of honor are and not fall victim to lowering that standard because some dishonorable acts are perceived to be acceptable.

It can be observed that the majority of officers attain these standards as a matter of course. Those who do not live by the standards earn the scorn of their associates and ultimately will be alienated from them and separated from the profession.

Footnote: The above established Kentucky State Police Cadet Honor Code is derived by compiling and modifying selected parts of the Honor Codes from the United States Military Academy, United States Naval Academy, and United States Air Force Academy. Their assistance is greatly appreciated.

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