Police Cuuroption

.. enormous corruption scandal that hit Miami in the middle 1980’s. This was when about 10% of the Miami’s police were jailed, fired, or disciplined. They were in connection with a scheme in which officers robbed and some-times killed cocaine smugglers on the Miami River, then resold the drugs. Many of those involved had been hired when the department had beefed up quickly after the 1980 riots and the Mariel boatlift. We didn’t get the quality of officers we should have, says department spokesman Dave Magnusson (Carter, 1989: pp.

78-79). When it came time to clean house, says former Miami police chief Perry Anderson, civil service board members often chose to protect corrupt cops if there was no hard evidence to convict them in the courts. I tried to fire 25 people with tarnished badges, but it was next to impossible, he recalls (Carter, 1989: pp. 78-79). The real test of a department is not so much whether its officers are tempted by money, but whether there is an institutional culture that discourages them from succumbing. In Los Angeles, the sheriff’s department brought us the case, says FBI special agent Charlie Parsons.

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They worked with us hand in glove throughout the investigation (Washington Post, Jan 18, 1993: p. 11). In the years after it was established, following the Knapp Commission disclosures, the New York City police department’s internal affairs division was considered one of the nation’s most effective in stalking corruption. This may not be the case anymore; police sergeant Joseph Trimboli, a department investigator, told the Mollen Commission that when he tried to root out Dowd and other corrupt cops, higher- ranked officers in the department blocked him. At one point, Trimboli claimed he was called to a meeting of police officials, and was told he was under suspicion as a drug trafficker.

However, They did not want this investigation to exist, he said (New York Times, April 3, 1993: p. 5). It was at this time that New York City police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, announced a series of changes, including a larger staff, and better- coordinated field investigations, intending to improve internal affairs. His critics say those changes didn’t go far enough, much of that happened after Kelly’s reforms had been announced. Getting the information about the corrupted police officers was no easier when officers were encouraged to report wrongdoing to authorities within their own department.

In many cities that have them, internal affairs divisions are resented within the ranks for getting cops to turn in other cops — informers are even recruited from police-academy cadets. One of the things that has come out in the hearings is a culture within the department which seems to permit corruption to exist, says Walter Mack, a one time federal prosecutor who is now New York’s deputy commissioner of internal affairs. When you are talking about cultural change, you’re talking about many years. It’s not something that occurs overnight (New York Post, June 14, 1993: p. 28). Dowd, who was sentenced to prison on guilty plea, put it another way. Cops don’t want to turn in other cops.

Cops don’t want to have a rat. Even when honest cops are willing to blow the whistle, there may not be anyone willing to listen(New York Times, Mar. 29, 1993: p. 14). Is there a solution to the police corruption problem? Probably not, because since its beginnings, many aspects of policing have changed, but one thing that has not, is the existence of corruption.

Police agencies, in an attempt to eliminate corruption have tried everything from increasing salaries, requiring more training and education, and developing policies which are intended to focus directly of factors leading to corruption. Despite police departments’ attempts to control corruption, it still occurs. Regardless of the fact, police corruption cannot simply be over looked. Controlling corruption is the only way that we can really limit corruption, because corruption is the by-product of the individual police officer, and police environmental factors. Therefore, control must come from not only the police department, but it also must require the assistance and support of the community members. Controlling corruption from the departmental level requires a strong leadership organization, because corruption can take place anywhere from the patrol officer to the chief.

The top administrator must make it clear from the start that he and the other members of the department are against any form of corrupt activity, and that it will not be tolerated in any way, shape, or form. If a police administrator does not act strongly with disciplinary action against any corrupt activity, the message conveyed to other officers within the department would not be that of intimated nature. In addition it may even increase corruption, because officers feel no actions will be taken against them. Another way that police agencies can control its corruption problem starts originally in the academy. Ethical decisions and behavior should be taught.

If they fail to, it would make officers unaware of the consequences of corruption and do nothing but encourage it. Finally, many police departments especially large ones should have an Internal Affairs unit, which operates to investigate improper conduct of police departments. These units’ some-times are run within the department. They can also be a total outside agency, to insure that there is no corruption from within the Internal Affairs unit, as was alleged in the 1992 New York Police Department corruption scandal. Such a unit may be all that is needed to prevent many officers from being tempted into falling for corrupt behavior patterns. Although the police department should be the main source of controlling its own corruption problem, it also requires some support and assistance from the local community. It is important that the public be educated to the negative affects of corruption on their police agency.

The community may even go as far as establishing review boards, and investigative bodies to help keep a careful eye on the agency. If we do not act to try and control it, the costs can be enormous, because it affects not only the individual, but also his department, the law enforcement community as a whole and society as well. Police corruption can be controlled; it just takes a little extra effort. In the end, that effort will be well worth it to both the agency and the community (Walker, 1992: p. 89). The powers given by the state to the police to use force have always caused concern. Although improvements have been made to control corruption, numerous opportunities exist for deviant and corrupt practices.

The opportunity to acquire power in excess of that which is legally permitted or to abuse power is always available. The police subculture is a contributing factor to these practices, because officers who often act in a corrupt manner are often over looked, and condoned by other members of the subculture. As mentioned from the very beginning of this paper the problem of police deviance and corruption will never be completely solved, just as the police will never be able to solve all the crime problems in our society. The only thing they or anyone can do is decreasing it. One step in the right direction, however, is the monitoring and control of the police and the appropriate use of police style to enforce laws and to provide service to the public. The connection of police corruption and organized crime is clear and simple.

Without police corruption it would be much harder for the organized crime to work their businesses. In a hypothetical city or town, where there is no corruption what so ever, an organized crime group could not work in the same pace that they are used to. On the other hand, a city with much police corruption would work in favor of the organized crime business. Usually, the problem standing in front of the organized crime businesses are the law enforcement agencies, but corruption prevents their main concern and eliminates the majority of the problems. Bibliography Beals, Gregory (Oct 21, 1993).

Why Good Cops Go Bad. Newsweek, p. 18. Carter, David L. (1986). Deviance & Police.

Ohio: Anderson Publishing Co. Castaneda, Ruben (Jan 18, 1993). Bearing the Badge of Mistrust. The Washington Post, p. 11.

Dantzker, Mark L. (1995). Understanding Today’s Police. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, inc. James, George (March 19, 1993). Confessions of Corruption.

The New York Times, p. 8. James, George (Nov 17, 1993). Officials Say Police Corruption is Hard To Stop. The New York Times, p. 3. Sherman, Lawrence W. (1978).

Scandal and Reform. Los Angeles: University of California Press. Simpson, Scott T. (June 14, 1993). Mollen Commission Findings. New York Post, p.

28 Walker, J.T. (1992). Briefs of 100 leading cases in the law enforcement. Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Company. Weber, Bruce (April 3, 1993). Confessions of Corruption. The New York Times, p.

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