Every day, communities across the United States unleash trauma, stress, and other difficult situations for police officers. Their job is tremendously important to many aspects of our communities. Sometimes though, police officers lose sight of their ethics towards the communities and its citizens. What factors help a responsible, morally loyal individual to turn or appear to turn to deviance when their job is to help fight corruption and deviance?
A term called noble cause corruption refers to situations where a police officer bends the rules to obtain the “right” result or putting a criminal in jail by bending rules or law enforcement procedures. It is also referred to as the Dirty Harry syndrome (Dempsey & Forst, 2011). It involves police officers misusing their law enforcement authority, but typically, is not making decisions for personal gains.
I think that sometimes police officers may have an “us versus them” attitude towards the community because maybe that particular community has a high crime rate so officers are involved with a lot of criminals, maybe more than they are with the law-abiding citizens of their communities. Of course, criminals don’t particularly enjoy being around the police so I am sure the criminals give officers a very hard time. I could see to where that would wear on a police officer’s attitude towards the general public after awhile of being on the force.
Police corruption comes in all forms ranging from drug-related corruption, police deception, sleeping on duty, sex-related corruption, to domestic violence within their families. I feel as when an officer commits an act of corruption, they feel because they are the police and there is a code of silence between police officers, that the corrupt officers may feel like they can commit acts of corruption without getting caught or reprimanded.
Drug related corruption will lure the police to look the other away and in return make a lot of money for helping drug users and dealers. Sleeping on duty, whether it is intentional or unintentional, is a major issue. Due to a police officer’s erratic work versus sleep schedule, an officer may try to find a discrete place to hide and attempt to sleep. The reason this is a problem and is considered corruption is because it is a clearly inattention to duty and is hazardous for the officer and his/her co-workers (Dempsey & Forst, 2011).
Police deception is another type of police corruption. Police deception is an act of perjury while testifying in court, making falsified police reports, or attempting to circumvent rules regarding searches and seizures of evidence. Sex-related corruption may involve the officer using his/her authority to intimidate someone to have sexual relations with the officer or the officer may commit an act of invasion of privacy on the community citizens.
I think that police brutality is also an issue amongst the corruption of police officers. I think that police officers may fall into corruption after they feel that the community they work in does not appreciate their presence. When an opportunity of corruption presents itself, the police officer is more willing to sway towards the corruption for the opportunity to make money or gain something from committing acts of corruption. They must feel as if their legal power makes them invincible and that they will not get caught.
Maybe some of the corrupt officers have been there for many neighborhood/community events and its citizens and have helped many people out in their community but feel as if they are unappreciated and move on to use their law enforcement position to regain the feeling of being important or superior through helping criminals, intimidating people into doing unwanted sexual acts, or through other types of corruption. Police corruption has and always will be a relevant part of policing. Whether it be finding ways to combat police corruption or finding solutions to prevent it, corrupt police officers will always exist.