Law enforcement corruption query?

I'm interested in input and viewpoint on law enforcement corruption; what are the extremes, what do you think the scale and prevelance, stories, known statistical facts from various credible sources, etc.

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Corruption among law enforcement officers is more prevelant than the replies are making it seem if you count not only criminal acts and of outright moral turpetude, but also graft, inequity, and various other subtle forms.

    The most common form of what I would consider corruption is "fudging" facts on reports, in court room testimony, on citations, etc. The second most common form, I would say, is the system which often promotes a "code of silence", if you will. Many otherwise good officers will not report something a little bit grey or questionable, the situation persists, can grow, and encourages and "you cover my back-I'll cover yours" "good ol' boy" mentality.

    There is considerable but very subtle inequity in the initial hiring process. How many law enforcement officers are cops because daddy or someone else in their family is a local business owner, mayor, city counsil-member, in certain civic or fraternal clubs, etc? I know several.

    While "corruption" as in "on the take" or dealing drugs, etc is probably minimal (perhaps less than 3-5%) all this other subtle stuff I mention is rampant. I personally know a cop that got fired from one department for theft (of a fellow officers belongings in the locker room). His excuse was that it was a joke. He immediately applied and got hired on at another nearby local police department, his family high-up mucky mucks in the same church the police chief was a member of.

    Another gal I know could not make it through one of the obstacles at the academy and never passed a night pistol qual. The obstacle at the academy was removed and her night pistol quals (I personally witnessed) were always fudged. She had a weirs pious attitude. Everyone hated her so much, the chief sent her for over two years to be attached to another joint task force to get her out of everyones hair because of all the complaints she generated. She never made a significant bust while on that assignment like her peers. Upon her return, she put in for sergeant and got turned down because there were three others with better backgrounds. She threatened to sue and was promoted. It turns out her dad is a former cop and ran his own little business and was in a certain fraternal club I won't mention the name of. I could tell you stories like this all day long.

    One guy I went to the academy with is in prison for a sex crime I won't detail. One cop I worked with was later fired and went to jail for exposing himself to a minor. Another cop I worked with is (according to a tested reliable CI) running drugs in the area (meth) with his cousin. Another local cop was a known gang member when he applied. I could tell you stories like this all day. Anyone out there claiming to have been a cop for any length of time anywhere in the USA and saying they never saw any type of corruption is flat out lying!

    Being former military, I have friends that are now cops coast to coast (Sacramento, Ca., Arlington, Va., Manhatten, Ks., Orlando, Fl.,) and I've gone on ride-alongs with them all and I've met cops from all over. I'm here to tell you now, in my training and experience (by the way, I graduated from my academy class with honors) close to half of the cops I've met should not be cops for one reason or another. Don't get me started on the judges!

    I'm ashamed to have ever been a cop. I'm glad I can call myself an ex-cop and give citizens good advice on the matter. Be skeptical and suspicious. Keep at least a small audio recorder on you at all times. And be afraid. Be very afraid.

    Source(s): The Real War on Crime by Steven R. Donziger Crime and the American Dream by Steven F. Messner and Richard Rosenfeld Crime and Everyday Life by Marcus Felson * There's no way you can go through a college level Deviant Behavior or Criminology course and not learn more than enough to sicken you (indisputable sick, sad, sorry, sadistic, social fact) about police corruption.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Police corruption is almost always related to the rate of pay in a given area. For instance, in CA, police blatant police corruption (I am referring to graft and other serious felonies, not merely lying under oath or disregarding the vehicle code), corruption is very low because the average officer is making $75K+ which is the prevailing wage for the area. In contrast, New Orleans, Detroit, Baltimore, Miami-Dade has high amounts of corruption because the pay is low. The lower the pay, the harder it is to attract competent and non-corrupt people.

    There is also the fact that cops are human. If 2% of a given population is corrupt, criminal, or racist, it is safe to surmise that the population of police officers will be the same (perhaps higher)


    I enjoyed reading Eliphas C’s insightful post. I too am an ex-cop. I don’t think all cops are bad, but I have seen a great many fudge the facts (mostly by ignorance). Let’s face it; most cops have only a rudimentary knowledge of the law. When I was a rookie, I carried around the Peace Officers legal update binder. I can’t tell you how many times even Lieutenants called on me to answer a question of law.

    In my local county, the Under Sheriff used to be a Captain with a local PD. This officer was also head of security for another public agency. He fudged his timecards (a felony) and committed another felony which might have occurred, or might have been hearsay (I never post hearsay unless I am sure of the facts). Anyway, this Captain copped to a misdemeanor to avoid a trial. He was fired by the Chief. Move forward 8 years, this ex-cop managed to convince a judge, a family friend, to expunge his misdemeanor conviction. He then was hired as a Deputy by the local Sheriff (who was the very former Chief who fired him). He moved up the ranks of the Sheriff’s Office faster than what the civil service rules usually allow. He is now the Undersheriff. I think this guy is pretty smart, but let’s face it, once a felon, always a felon. A felon with a badge is even worse.

    What makes this even more corrupt and unfair is this very Sheriff fired 19 Deputies his first 6 months in office. None of these officers were allowed to re-hire. He also had a rule that if you lied, you were fired, period. I guess that rule didn’t apply to his friends. Is this corrupt? Hard to tell. It is unethical to say the least.

  • 1 decade ago

    Law enforcement is like any other profession, its made up of imperfect people doing a very hard and distasteful job. To deny that abuse and corruption exists is ludicrous. However, in most cases, the abusive or corrupt eventually get caught and generally are dealt with more harshly than the average criminal. This is because they are entrusted with the "public trust" and are held to higher standard of behavior than the average citizen. There is no valid excuse for abuse and corruption in law enforcement and it should not be tolerated under any circumstances.

  • 1 decade ago

    Given the number of law enforcement agents and the monies involved, especially in the drug trade, some level of corruption is to be expected. Its human nature. Unfortunately, you always hear a great deal about the 2% of bad cops and very little about the remaining 98% (note: %'s for example only) but the truth is that good cops don't sell newspapers.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Most law enforcement will deny any abuse. If you watch cops you will be able to document abuse at the minimum two times. (the show is only half an hour). This is probably proportionate to the reality of the problem. Remember abuse is not only physical. Most cops take their job personally. For example, on cops you will often hear the cops say immature comments like " you need to grow up." They are to arrest; not make judgments. Cops pile on top of a suspect which makes it difficult to gain control and often the suspect is not resisting but it appears they are because tooooooooooooooo many cops are pushing, pulling, and yelling. On cops it seems as if everyone is out of control.....

  • 1 decade ago

    A small town near where I am had a crooked police force that the FBI recently broke up. The town is called Troup Texas. The police were involved in the drug trade of the city and ect... I'm sure you can find the stories under google news search.

  • 1 decade ago

    One extreme is what is happening where I am now. Planting evidence and stun gunning a guys nuts. I am a cop and I do not believe in taking what is not mine or planting evidence. No matter how big a dirt bag the person might be. I believe in the system and though I don't always agree in the outcome, overall it works.

  • 1 decade ago

    I can honestly say in the four years I was in law-enforcement, I didn't see any corruption. I know it exsists, but I never saw any. I did see mis-handling and laziness, but not corruption.

  • 5 years ago

    You have to remember that at the end of the day the police are people and could be almost capable of anything to survive but unfortunately self preservation will not work

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Check on web sites for US Attorney General or US Attorney.

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