Legally, Morally, and Ethically Wrong
Criminal Justice 2221
September 8, 2009
Police corruption is legally, morally, and ethically wrong. The art of corruption has existed from the beginning of policing to the present day. Investigations have uncovered several acts of dishonesty and crime ranging from petty theft to murder. To help combat corruption the government creates commissions such as the Knapp and Wickersham Commission to investigate allegations of corruption. If acts of corruption are found and substantiated the commission takes criminal action against the law enforcement officer. As ...view middle of the document...
The officer may continue the negative pattern by committing crimes until he or she graduates to more serious acts of corruption. Such crimes may include acts of violence, ranging from armed robbery and strong-arm extortion of criminal suspects to contract murder for hire, but the more common forms involve bribery and theft of contraband for private sale (Newton, 2007).
There are two general forms of corruption: external and internal. External corruption occurs when an outside agency or person pays an officer to overlook or perform illegal acts themselves. The Mafia is probably the best known organized crime faction. Investigations have shown the Mafia paid officers, politicians, judges, and numerous other agencies to elude conviction. Internal corruption happens when an officers acts on his or her own accord to commit crimes or illegal acts themselves. A classic example of corruption involves the bribery of an officer in order to secure the exemption from punishment. There is a broad range of corruption ranging from petty brides to organized crime paying millions of dollars to protect their gambling, prostitution, and drug networks. William Ernest and Richard Ford are prime examples of internal corruption. These officers were willing to go out and seek illegal activities and served as hired assassins in Los Angeles (Newton, 2007).
What is the Corruption Continuum?
The Corruption Continuum is used to illustrate the transition from good cop to bad cop. Once an officer makes the decision to accept gratuities and or gifts it puts them on the “slippery slope” of corruption. If an officer chooses to compromise his or her integrity, it is near impossible for the officer to regain their honor. Many scholars and practitioners become argumentative when the topic of whether or not to accept gratuities is acceptable. Corruption begins with the lowering of one’s ethical standards. This form of dishonesty usually starts with a harmless act such as accepting a free cup of coffee. This act is inconsequential however; it presents the opportunity for a snowball type effect which may lead to the accepting of gratuities on a larger scale. Officers that have committed corrupt acts perceive themselves as above the law or the feeling that they cannot be convicted or punished for their crimes.
Is There a Code of Silence?
Law enforcement officers face many adverse situations as well as difficult scenarios. When these types of activities continually happen, officers naturally build a bond and deeply trust to one another. This will happen naturally when the same people spend considerable amounts of time together and share the same duties and responsibilities such as law enforcement. This phenomenon happens within every policing organization. Law enforcement officers allow corruption to thrive due to their own code of silence, also known as the “Blue Wall”. Good officers who allow this code to continue often jeopardize their careers in order to not break the...