Police Misconduct and Corruption

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Week 1 Assignment

In order for a Police agency to prevent and deter Police misconduct, there must be a definition to what actions and behaviors that the term will encompass. The term ‘police corruption’ has been used to describe many activities: bribery; violence and brutality; fabrication and destruction of evidence; racism; favoritism or nepotism. Many different scholars differ in their own examples of the definition. Before attempting to the question of whether a precise definition is possible, it is worth examining the range of activities that might be included within a broad discussion of corruption. In (Bayley and Perito, 2011), it is defined as police corruption is a contested phrase with narrow and broad meanings. Narrowly defined, corruption refers to police personnel who use their position and authority for personal rather than public benefit. More broadly, corruption refers to any violation of rules even when there is no personal gain, as in perjury, physical abuse of prisoners, sexual misconduct, robbery, and racial profiling. Another definition that has been used to describe Police corruption is Police deviance. Police deviance occurs when law enforcement Officers behave in a manner that is inconsistent with the officer’s legal authority, organizational authority, and standards of ethical conduct. Some known facts surrounding causes of corruption may be; corrupt practices are found in some form in many police agencies in all societies; there is evidence of corrupt practices in all stages of police history; corruption is not simply a problem of the lower ranks – corruption has been found at all levels of police organizations, that there are certain forms of policing, or areas of the police organization, which are more at risk of corruption; and it is not simply financial in nature at times; there are activities that extend beyond bribery and extortion. I have been a Police Officer for over twenty years. I have spent the majority of my career working for the Rochester Police Department in New York. I have seen cases of corruption or more common Police misconduct occur and have felt the effect it can have on an entire department. Many of the incidents that I have encountered have focused on a single Officer committing the acts usually not a group of Officers together. The misconduct that seems to be prevalent comes in a variety of actions / behaviors. The following is a list of some of the common actions that I have seen and seem to be occurring in other departments. Police misconduct / corruption behaviors includes but is not limited to: * Discrimination* misconduct* intimidation

* Sexual harassment* corruption* excessive force
* Use of restricted weapons* illegal surveillance*drug related corruption One of the most frequent problems commonly confused with corruption is the solicitation or acceptance of gratuities by police officers. A gratuity is something of minor value—a cup of coffee, for example, or other gift or small reward—offered as a “token of appreciation” in return for non-enforcement of a criminal law. Accepting gratuities “is a common practice in many police departments, but this practice is considered to be unethical. This brings up the issue as to the differences within departments while some aggressively pursue corruption whiles others allow it to go on. Police forces that have experienced significant problems of corruption have responded by amending a whole range of existing employment and training practices, and by implementing new procedures. Two of the main areas that departments have looked into modifying are recruitment and training and ethics. In 1997 a Commission on Police Integrity studying corruption in Chicago recommended higher standards in relation to recruitment and screening. Key recommendations were: the introduction of full screening of the background of all candidates; attempt to recruit candidates with experience of higher education and...
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