Police in America

Chapter Thirteen
Police Corruption

McGraw-Hill

© 2013 McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights Reserved.
A Definition of Police Corruption


Police Corruption: A form of misconduct or deviant
behavior by police officers that i...
The Costs of Police Corruption







A corrupt act by a police officer is a criminal act.
Corruption usually protec...
Types of Corruption


Gratuities
 Free meals, dry cleaning,
or discounts
 Receive or not receive?
 Why would business
...
Corruption and Brutality


Brutality - new form of
corruption that
emerged in the 1980s
and 1990s
 New York City
 Los A...
Levels of corruption


Type I: Rotten
apples and rotten
pockets
 Rotten apples - Only a
few corrupt officers
 Rotten po...
Theories of Police Corruption


Individual-officer
explanations
 Rotten apples



The criminal law



 Corruption per...
Theories of Police Corruption Cont.


Police organization
 Quality of management and supervision
 Exists because the de...
Becoming Corrupt


The Moral Careers of Individual Officers according to
Sherman:
 Police officers are often all honest ...
Controlling Corruption
 Internal Mechanisms




Attitude of Chief of Police
Rules and Regulations
Internal Affairs inv...
Controlling Corruption
 External Mechanisms






Special investigations
Criminal prosecution
Mobilizing public opini...
The Limits of Anticorruption Efforts






Anechiarico and Jacobs argue anticorruption
efforts have been ineffective an...
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  1. 1. Police in America Chapter Thirteen Police Corruption McGraw-Hill © 2013 McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 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 noncriminal 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. 13-2
  3. 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. 13-3
  4. 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” 13-4
  5. 5. Corruption and Brutality  Brutality - new form of corruption that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s  New York City  Los Angeles 13-5
  6. 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 13-6
  7. 7. Theories of Police Corruption  Individual-officer explanations  Rotten apples  The criminal law   Corruption pervades other parts of government  Culture conflict  Conflict over the goals of the system 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  Regulation of activities that people regard as legitimate or matters of private choice  Regulatory ordinances  Local Political Culture  Nature of police work  Opportunity  Low visibility  Officer attitude 13-7
  8. 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 13-8
  9. 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: 13-9
  10. 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 13-10
  11. 11. Controlling Corruption  External Mechanisms     Special investigations Criminal prosecution Mobilizing public opinion Altering the external environment  Media 13-11
  12. 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 13-12

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