Police in America. Chapter Thirteen Police Corruption. A Definition of Police Corruption. Police Corruption : A form of misconduct or deviant behavior by police officers that involves the misuse of authority in a manner designed to produce personal gain for themselves or for others.
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Police in America Chapter Thirteen Police Corruption
A Definition of Police Corruption • Police Corruption: A form of misconduct or deviant behavior by police officers that involves the misuse of authority in a manner designed to produce personal gain for themselves or for others. • Occupational Deviance: Criminal and improper non-criminal behavior committed during the course of normal work activities or under the guise of a police officer’s authority. • Abuse of Authority: An action by a police officer “that tends to injure, insult, trespass upon human dignity…and/or violate an inherent legal right” of a citizen.
The Costs of Police Corruption • A corrupt act by a police officer is a criminal act. • Corruption usually protects other criminal acts. • Corruption undermines the effectiveness of the criminal justice system. • Corruption undermines the professionalism of a police department. • Corruption is a secret tax adding up to millions of dollars a year. • Corruption undermines public confidence in the police.
Gratuities Free meals, dry cleaning, or discounts Receive or not receive? Why would business persons give gratuities? Grass eaters” vs. “meat eaters” Bribes For not enforcing the law Selling information Protecting illegal activities Theft and burglary Taking money from people arrested for drunkenness Stealing property, money, or drugs Corruption and Brutality Officers bust drug dealers, steal their drugs or money and then sold drugs to other dealers or officers “Rite of initiation” Types of Corruption
Corruption and Brutality Brutality - new form of corruption that emerged in the 1980s & 1990s • New York City • Los Angeles
Type I: Rotten apples and rotten pockets Rotten apples - Only a few corrupt officers Rotten pocket - a few corrupt officers cooperating with one another Type II: Pervasive unorganized corruption Majority of personnel are corrupt but have little relationship to each other. Type III: Pervasive organized corruption Penetrates higher levels Levels of corruption
Individual-officer explanations Rotten apples The criminal law Regulation of activities that people regard as legitimate or matters of private choice Regulatory ordinances Culture conflict Conflict over the goals of the system Local Political Culture Corruption pervades other parts of government Neighborhood Explanations Organizations foster corruption High levels of poverty, racial diversity, population turnover, and low levels of informal social control may lead to police misconduct Nature of police work Opportunity Low visibility Officer attitude Theories of Police Corruption
Theories of Police Corruption Cont. Police organization • Quality of management and supervision • Exists because the department tolerates it Police subculture • Initiates officers into corrupt activities • Covers up corrupt activities
Becoming Corrupt • The Moral Careers of Individual Officers according to Sherman: • Police officers are often all honest at the outset of their careers • Moral career begins with minor gratuities • Peer pressure involved • Small bribes like free meals • Second and third phases involve regulatory offenses • Officer more likely to engage in these activities if he/she knows other officers are doing it • Fourth, fifth and sixth phases involve more serious offenses • Accepting large amounts of money • Protection of certain activities such as prostitution and drug trafficking • Corrupting Organizations • Initial stage involves individuals or isolated groups • Second and third stages involve all officers becoming corrupt • Final stages involve “pervasive organized corruption:
Controlling Corruption Internal Mechanisms • Attitude of Chief of Police • Rules and Regulations • Internal Affairs investigations • Parting the “blue curtain” • Proactive Integrity tests • Effective Supervision • Rewarding good officers • Personnel Recruitment
Controlling Corruption External Mechanisms • Special investigations • Criminal prosecution • Mobilizing public opinion • Altering the external environment Media
The Limits of Anticorruption Efforts • Anechiarico and Jacobs argue anticorruption efforts have been ineffective and have made government itself ineffective • Corruption persists in the NYC police department despite special investigations every 20 years • However, NYC is unique and other police departments in other cities have been successful in reducing corruption