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Walker, Chapter 13


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  • 1. Police in America Chapter Thirteen Police Corruption
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. Types of Corruption
    • 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”
  • 5. Corruption and Brutality
    • Brutality - new form of corruption that emerged in the 1980s & 1990s
      • New York City
      • Los Angeles
  • 6. Levels of corruption
    • 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
  • 7. Theories of Police 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
  • 8. 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
  • 9. 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:
  • 10. 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
  • 11. Controlling Corruption
    • External Mechanisms
      • Special investigations
      • Criminal prosecution
      • Mobilizing public opinion
      • Altering the external environment
    • Media
  • 12. 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