Police Misconduct and Corruption

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INTRODUCTION For as long as policing has existed in America, there has been misconduct and corruption associated with any given policing agency. Police officer malfeasance can range from minor cases of misconduct to the downright criminal acts that are considered to be corruption. It is important to state here that not all police officers are guilty of misconduct and/or corruption, but like everything in our media-based society, the ?bad? cops are of much more interest and therefore are what this paper will focus on.

Merriam-Webster online (2005) defines misconduct as ?1: mismanagement especially of governmental or military responsibilities; 2: intentional wrongdoing; specifically: deliberate violation of a law or standard especially by a
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Maybe it is because police feel the need to protect themselves when being threatened by a person that they view is capable of causing them major bodily harm. Maybe it is because police band together even if they are in the wrong against people that they view as outsiders that are trying to tell them how to do their job.

There are numerous reasons why police misconduct and police corruption aren?t easily defined, but probably the most important one is that not everyone has the same moral standards and a lot of people would define that which is ethical differently. Many justify their behavior by telling themselves that as long as no one else is getting hurt by their actions and as long as no one else finds out about their behavior then what they are doing is okay. Many others still justify their behavior by telling themselves that everyone else only looks out for himself or herself and that they are going to do the same even if it means having to break a few laws and hurt people along the way.

WHY MISCONDUCT AND CORRUPTION OCCUR There are several theories as to why police misconduct and corruption occur. One theory centers on the police working personality. According to Schmalleger (2005) police officers share certain characteristics that are part of the police working personality. Insecurity, secrecy, hostility, cynicism, and being individualistic are a few of the characteristics
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