Training Day - Police Corruption & Misconduct

Topics: Police, Police brutality, Law enforcement agency Pages: 6 (1160 words) Published: June 16, 2014


“Training Day”
Police Corruption and Misconduct
L**** C****
Ogeechee Technical College
Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice Practicum (CRJU2090)
Neal Owens
June 8, 2014

“Training Day” – Police Corruption and Misconduct
Special units in police forces are essential to the function of any organization, however some of these special units might evolve into feeling superior to the rest of the agency. The mentality of doing it their own way sets in and more likely than not this behavior is not cohesive with the policies and procedures in place by the agency. Unfortunately, this attitude develops from not being checked, and leads to the unit feeling as though they are untouchable. When not having checks and balances is coupled with a leader who exhibits signs of misconduct, the potential for more massive amounts of corruption and misconduct are more likely as portrayed in the movie “Training Day” starring Denzel Washington as a corrupt NARC unit commander. The most common types of police misconduct include excessive force, sexual assault, intentional false arrest, falsifying evidence, extortion, and other related offenses (Color 2000). Police misconduct has become more prevalent since 1970 when drugs became a major driver of corruption replacing gambling, prostitution and alcohol (Bayley 2011). Public activists groups and internal affairs units are put in place in law enforcement agencies which primarily govern police misconduct investigations by officers under the “Depravation of Right under Color of Law,” Title 18, US Code, Section 242, (Color 2000). There are important factors to focus on to help understand and prevent officer misconduct, including officer’s integrity, positive leadership, and continuing ethical boundaries long after the hiring process. However, this scrutiny should not prevent police officers from effectively doing their jobs and seeking a peace officer career. Theories on the role of society in law enforcement, the negative influence of an officer’s department, and a person’s own natural tendency to engage in unethical behavior have been offered as explanations of police corruption (Martin 2011). Therefore, producing an honest and ethical officer is essential to prevent misconduct and corruption in any department. It is also imperative for each individual who is placed into a position where they are granted extreme discretionary powers to encompass personal and professional integrity. A list of characteristics important for officers to possess integrity include; prudence, trust, effacement of self-interests, courage, intellectual honesty, justice and responsibility (Martin 2011). When a person internalizes these characteristics and upholds the law with integrity, the probability of corruption is far less likely to occur. Even when a person portrays strong characteristics of integrity and desires to uphold the law in an ethical fashion, they may feel the pressure to succumb to fellow officers in order to fit into an exclusive subculture. A subculture is a group of individuals who generally share attitudes, perceptions, assumptions, values, beliefs, ways of living, and traditions. Because police work entails so many experiences unique to the field, the subculture can become stronger than the officer’s own family ties. Conflicts can, and more than likely, will arise when personnel face a choice between what may be ethically right and their devotion to the other members of their subgroup. Such a strong loyalty toward fellow officers causes members to trade their integrity for that allegiance. One conclusion would be that the length of time an officer is exposed to this socialization process, the greater its impact. When this loyalty to the subculture becomes too strong, the unity that follows can adversely affect the ethical values of the officers (Martin 2011). This type of work environment causes officers to feel like they are doing what is wanted by their...


References: Bayley, D., & Perito, R. (2011). What past scandals teach about current challenges. United States Institute of Peace, 294. Retrieved June 1, 2014, from http://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/SR%20294.pdf
Color of law investigations. (2000). Retrieved May 27, 2014, from http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Color%2Bof%2BLaw%2BInvestigations-a065241456
Martin, R. (2011, February 22). Police corruption. Retrieved May 27, 2014, from http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/may_2011/law_enforcement_professionalism
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