Police Corruption misc



Analysis Of Police Corruption

Analysis of Police Corruption Police corruption is a complex phenomenon, which does not readily submit to simple analysis. It is a problem that has and will continue to affect us all, whether we are civilians or law enforcement officers. Since its beginnings, may aspects of policing have changed; however, one aspect that has remained relatively unchanged is the existence of corruption. An examination of a local newspaper or any police-related publication on any given day will have an article about a police officer that got busted committing some kind of corrupt act. Police corruption has increased dramatically with the illegal cocaine trade, with officers acting alone or in-groups to steal money from dealers or distribute cocaine themselves. Large groups of corrupt police have been caught in New York, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles. Methodology: Corruption within police departments falls into 2 basic categories, which are external corruption and internal corruption. For a corrupt act to occure, three distinct elements of police corruption must be present simultaneously: 1) missuse of authority, 2) missuse of official capacity, and 3) missuse of personal attainment. (Dantzker, 1995: p 157) It can be said that power inevitably tends to corrupt, and it is yet to be recongnized that, while there is no reason to suppose that policemen as individuals are any less fallible than other members of society, people are often shocked and outraged when policemen are exposed violating the law. The reason is simple. There diviance elicits a special feeling of betrayal. "Most studies support the view that corruption is endemic, if not universal, in police departments. The danger of corruption for police, and this is that it may invert the formal goals of the organization and may lead to "the use of organizational power to encourage and create crime rather than to deter it" (Sherman 1978: p 31) General police deviance can include brutality, discrimination, sexual harassment, intimidation, and illicit use of weapons. However it is not particularly obvious where brutality, discrimination, and misconduct end and corruption begin. Essentially, police corruption falls into two major categories-- external corruption which concerns police contacts with the public, and internal corruption, which involves the relationships among policemen within the works of the police department. The external corruption generally concists of one ore more of the following activities: 1) Payoffs to police by essentially non-criminal elements who fail to comply with stringent statutes or city ordinances; (for example, inviduals who repeatedly violate traffic laws). 2) Payoffs to police by individuals who continually violate the law as a method of making money (for example, prostitutes, narcotics addicts and pusshers, & professional burglars). 3) "Clean Graft" where money is paid to police for services, or where courtesy discounts are given as a matter of course to the police. "Police officers have been involved in activities such as extortion of money and/or narcotics from narcotics viloators in order to aviod arrest; they have accepted bribes; they have sold narcotics. They have known of narcotics vilolations and have failed to take proper enforcement action. They have entered into personal associations with narcotics criminals and in some cases have used narcotics. They have given false testimony in court in order to obtain dismissal of the charges against a defendant." (Sherman 1978: p 129) A scandal is perceived both as a socially constructed phenomenon and as an agent of change that can lead to realignments in the structure of power within oraganizations. New york, for instance, has had more than a half dozen major scandals concerning its police department within a century. It was the Knapp Commission in 1972 that first brought attention to the NYPD when they released the results of over 2 years of investigations of alleged corruption. The findings were that bribery, especially amoung narcotics officers, was extremely high. As a result many officers were prosecuted and many more lost their jobs. A massive re-structuring took place aftewards with strict rules and regulations to make sure that the problem would never happen again. Be that as it may, the problem did arrise once gain... Some of the most recent events to shake New York City and bring attention to the national problem of police corruption was brought up begining in 1992 when five officers were arrested