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The Unwritten Code

By | October 2008
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The Unwritten Code
The Police “Code of Silence” is an unspoken rule among many police agencies in the country. It is a code of “honor” in the police brotherhood where giving information about another police officers wrongdoings is considered an act of betrayal. Other terms for the code include: “The Thin Blue Line,” and “The Wall of Silence.” Police academies across the nation are close-knit communities of law enforcement. From the first day on the job to the last, every officer is supposed to count on one another for support. Time after time, we see stories on the news of officers committing criminal acts and being put on trial for it. Rarely, do we see officers put behind bars. This is due to none other than “The Code.” If a police officer testifies, or in a sense “rats out” another police officer, that police officer will be shunned from the brotherhood and will be an outcast of the police force. If there really is an unwritten rule among police officers that allows them to commit crimes with virtually no penalties, the question is how can we stop this? The “Code of Silence” is not the only way police commit misconduct and show forms of integrity in our society. Spectacular scandals further prove the underlying issue of the quality and accountability of our public servants. The Diallo shooting in New York, the torture of a Haitian immigrant with a plunger in New York, The video taped Rodney King beating in Los Angeles, and the widespread corruption in the New Orleans police force are just a few prime examples of ongoing Police corruption in our society. Currently, the Institute of Ethics has made the most extensive research to date on the Police Code of Silence. Between February, 1999 and June, 2000, 3,714 officers and academy recruits from forty-two different states were asked to participate in a study held by the Institute. One part of the study was to determine the views of academy recruits on the code, while the other half was to interview cops who had...
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