A very effective way to develop a winning answer is to break it down into pieces. This not only makes it easier to remember, but also ensures that the content has appropriate depth. Such sweeping answers help to distinguish between the average and the awesome. The following is a model answer about ethics and it is broken down into five simple pieces.


(Grabs the panel’s attention; a unique start to an answer)

“Ethics encompasses right and good behavior and as the foundation of our integrity, principles, and values, I personally view ethics as being a key component of police professionalism.


(The main body of the answer; defines & describes the information needed)

Ethics are comprised of a combination of both personal and professional standards. These standards consist of morals, values, honesty, integrity, courage, principles, character, and honor. It’s these standards or lack of them that allow officers, through their decisions and behavior, to be highly successful or to fail. A common byproduct of strong ethical standards is great leadership. As a supervisor, my ethical standards will be closely observed and modeled. My goal as a supervisor is to insure that through my standards, my actions are synonymous-integrated-with those of my organization and as a leader, will engender these same qualities and successes to those under my command.


(Draws full focus of the panel to what you are about to say next)

As lieutenants, I’m sure you would agree that…


(Expands your answer; brings in collateral issues; represents seeing the bigger picture)

Supervisors who maintain and model strong ethics will serve to decrease mediocrity while increasing performance. Part of the value of my supervision will be in my ability to transform the concept of ethics into reality and in coaching my officers to make great decisions. By doing this, my actions will help to shield my officers from internal or external complaints, improve their professional image to public perception, and protect my organization from exposure to potential liability.


(Prevents an abrupt stop; provides a smooth transition to the end of your answer)

Finally, having learned many lessons from the last fifteen years, perhaps one of the most difficult periods for law enforcement in recent history, ethics has never been as critical as it is today and will always be at the center of my leadership.”

This answer has 261 words and would take about 60-90 seconds to present. Compare this answer to your competitions, most of who usually begin and end their answer with only the core portion of the answer shown above. The difference, especially when delivered verbally, is like night and day. Test well!!

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